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Car wash options ?

What does everyone do ? hand wash ?or the regular ?

Also if there is anyone in the Danville CA are can suggest a particular car wash ?

DON'T go to a car wash even if it's a brushless or hand wash only one. They will ruin your paint by just drying the car with a dirty clothes once. I always wash mine myself with Optimum No Rise (ONR) wash and rinse. It's an easy 20 minutes work every week or two without even the need for using detergent or water rinse. My cars are always sparkling clean. It really works like magic. I would even do it for you if you don't mind to drive down to San Jose. ;-)

On the question of toilet paper, are you a:

1. Crumbler
2. Folder

"On the question of toilet paper, are you a:"

Ha... now that's funny.

+1 on the hand washing

I just switched over to ONR because or water challenges here in CA. While I was dubious of the whole concept, it works really well. Two pieces of advice:

1) Buy 6-8 or so med/large microfiber (MF) cloths and soak them all in you wash bucket, then only use each cloth once on the body (don't rinse/reuse the cloths). I then have another set of small MF cloths that I use for the wheels.

2) For the wash MFs. get ones with deep nap to hold onto the dirt--avoid the low nap or waffle weave MFs for washing--I still use WW MFs to dry.


And don't forget to use two bucket method. One to hold the clean solution and the other with grid guard to be used to clean the clothes, or the soft grout sponge which I use to apply solution to the car. You will hardly get any swirls or scratches this way.

This whole "only hand wash it" thing really is a bias of the California owners. We MS owners in the cold states - Connecticut, for example, find it impossible to avoid commercial car washes in the winter. There is no way to wash the car yourself in the winter, when it is covered with salt from the roads. The no-rinse wash is great in summer and when the car is not too soiled, but in winter, when my car is caked in salt and my garage is 30 degrees... no hand wash here.
So, I had the car Opticoated, and bring it to a car wash. The Opticoat protects the paint, and I really have no choice but a professional car wash.

@kback have you been happy with OptiCoat and running thru pro wash? Or are you still getting swirls/etc? And are you running thru a touchless conveyor or getting hand washes?

@kback You mean people outside California own cars too? ;-)

How about use coin operated high pressure water gun to clean the mud and salt and then hand wash with ONR in the comfort of the garage? You can always heat your garage with a portable heater if it's not heated.

+1 kback

I'm in Colorado, and there's no way I'm washing my car by hand in the winter. I had mine opticoated and have been using the commercial semi-touchless washes for 6+ months with no ill affects. My car is Blue, and would show swirls for sure.

Please use to search these forums and also go to TMC for way too much info/opinions on this subject. I have OptiCoat Pro and use a commercial car wash (done off-line by hand) 2x/week and my S looks great.

Since you are in the SF East Bay, check out:

Orinda Auto Detail (Joe has done OptiCoat Pro on over 200 Model S).
Autopia Car Wash (I use the one in Walnut Creek and they are very familiar with Model S)

Those of us living in the north are not as lucky since we cannot hand wash the car in winter.

From what I have read, I think Touchless car wash is our only option in Winter?

You know honestly I just take it to the do-it-yourself car wash around the corner. I have a Pearl White car and I use the high pressure hose only I keep it pretty car away from the car. I use it on rinse, then on soap, then on rinse again. Takes about 6 minutes. Then I pull forward and park it and hand dry it. The whole exercise costs me about $4 and takes 30 minutes and most of that is drying.

I do this about every couple weeks and our car looks amazing. Well, I should say it looks amazing to our family and friends but to some of you it might be full of swirls and spots and look dull.

I've washed our Model S probably 20 times since we've had it and our previous car I would take in to the automatic car wash once every six months.

Hand wash, dry off excess moisture with California blade (soft silicone blade to wipe off water) then dry with "CLEAN" microfiber towels. NEVER lay towels on drive way or any concrete/block wall etc... I have seem many finishes ruined by this little over site....(think sand)

I guess and air blower is a better drying method, but I can't stand the noise. I take my time, relax and enjoy detailing my cars...

I only use Carnuba wax (I Like Mothers or Meguires) with UV protection to protect the paint. I do not personally care for all of the other stuff you read and hear so much about. The wax has worked great for me for the last 40 years or so.

Once a year I use claybar to clean the paint and a very mild abrasive polish to remove any swirl marks....

I drove my silver Porsche Turbo through the dreaded machine car wash for the 35,000 miles that I owned it, and I had them wax it once a year. It always looked good.

Considering that I am one to park way out in the parking lot and walk, so that no one parks next to me. I feel that dings are way more egregious than some light swirling that most people can not see.

I just don't see the value in this coating, I wish I did, but I just don't. However, I still can't bring myself to drive my one week old pearl white Tesla through the car wash yet. Plan to use Liquid glass on it this Sunday. Liquid glass gets high market as far as wax goes.

Rhuemboy, I just let the tissue go and it floats to the bowl. TMI?

I think he means before duty

Rhuemboy, check out one of these:
The Tesla of toilet seats


This site cracks me up. Where can you go and get a good belly laugh for free. You guys are the best.

@Sterlingllc1 I have a two week old OptiCoat Pro coated pearl white too. I will only hand wash it the way I mentioned above. Let's compare cars in three years. Matter of fact we can even compare them now. I think $700 and 20 minutes every week or two doing it the right way are very good investments. It's not just how good the car looks it's how you enjoy looking at it. To me there is only way to achieve that.

I guess.....

I have owned 6 Lexus LS series, all white, all taken to a standard car wash, and waxed once a year. Yes I am a creature of habit, when I find something good, I stick with it.

BUT I always parked away from everyone else.

Upon trade in, the salesperson would tell her sales-manager, his cars are always perfect, not one ding, so we best pay him top dollar for his car or he will move along to another dealership.

I just wish that I saw and understood how this coating could improve on that?

I use a foam gun, 3 wash mits (1 for top of car, 1 for bottom and 1 for tires), 2 bucket wash system with grit guards and an electric leaf blower for drying. Basically everything Junkmans does in his youtube videos and it has worked grey so far.

FWIW, according to a Tesla Store rep, they take their demo cars to any car wash, touchless or not.

Agree with JPPTM - Joe at Orinda will not only wash your car he will teach you the proper method to DIY and set you up with his own ultimate wash kit for DIY - the rest you can read about all over in prior posts

The most inexpensive and effective way is 1- buy a spotless water system filter from Sam's club 2-buy a 1600 to 2000 psi pressure washer from Walmart 3-buy microfiber cloths, a color that is close to the color of your car and then as long as you wash you car and tires at least 6 times a month then, you will never ever have to use soap soap again unless your car gets muddy! Quick, easy and fun.

Your previous cars had hard, non water-based paint. The Tesla has California soft stuff that takes micro-swirls if you look at it cross-eyed. The Opticoat guys wish you could bring it to them straight from the paintshop, without the horrific factory detailing. On any paint, especially this stuff, polishing out the swirls means removing enough paint. Not good.

Opticoat on mine. Have taken it through "Tidal Wave" German touch-less high pressure car wash many times. No problem. It also washes car with high pressure underneath, which I was told by service center is a no-no... But I want the salt off, which is used so copiously here in CO. Has anyone had issues with underbody wash?

Don't worry so much about polishing the paint....Even if you use a random orbital, the amount you are taking off is going to be trivial if just minor swirls from washing. You can use a lighter 1 or 2 step process a few times a year if needed....It's when you move to heavier cutting polishes, pads and rotaries that you need to start being mindful of how often you do this. But even then, as long as you take care of your car (and never use automatic washes!), you won't need to do full corrections like that for years at a time.

I have no problem washing in the winter using ONR even when the car gets quite dirty. I use bulk Optimum Power Clean APC to clean my mitts and towels afterwards. If I wait for one of the warmer days where it gets into the 30s or 40s, I might even wash it normally, or I blast it with a foam cannon attached to pressure washer. This works well for the salt underneath, you can also take care of that with a self-service car wash hose. It would be greatly helped if you rinse with a water deionization system like CR Spotless and then you can just let the water dry by itself and reduce scratches even if you've bought a MS!

I have been using ECO Green Auto Clean in Redwood City, CA and I am happy with the results of this waterless wash, especially during this drought. It uses about 1 cup of water and some specially formulated cleaning liquid and MF clothes. I carry their products with me so I can touch up the pearl white car while travelling or at home if it just needs a little work ( lazy!).
They are located at 2801 El Camino Real, Redwood City, 650 216 6600. Their website is I think they are open until 7PM during the spring and summer, have a comfy waiting area with free coffees. Ask for Anton who started this business and does extensive work for Tesla and other companies in the Bay area.

Brain H,

That is what I hear here and from the Opti Coat posters. Why does Tesla say you don't need it?
I am inches away from buying it, sooooo.

BUT, for $700 to $1000 I would expect something like this!

If it's a Sunday drive car wash it by hand if it's an everyday car just car wash the thing it's just a car drive it love it take it to the scrap yard lol

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