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Thread: Car washing a Model S by hand

  1. #1
    Model S P3366 gmontem's Avatar
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    Car washing a Model S by hand

    I will be washing my Model S today....

    Do you wash with the door handles extended? Is it possible for the shampoo to get inside the door through small openings? What happens if the soapy door handles retract, and how do you prevent that from happening?

    How do you go about cleaning the door handles if you wash the car with the door handles closed? Damp microfiber cloth?

  2. #2
    Member William13's Avatar
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    The door handles will stay in unless you have firmware v4. Even with v4 they will be retracted most of the time. Push on them to have the extend after you have finished washing the rest of the car. The car is easier to wash than most with the smooth doors.

  3. #3
    V1538 Zextraterrestrial's Avatar
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    I had my fob in my pocket part of the time when I washed my car and the handles would pop in and out depending on where I was. I don't think there are problems with the handles. It is pretty cool that the inside of the handles are car paint color! never noticed that before
    I just used a soft hand towel for it. looks good after a washing!
    - 'Joules' 12/1/12 - 28550mi @ 368Whr/mi Zextraterrestials S (tory)

  4. #4
    MODEL S SIG#1,058 ddenboer's Avatar
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    I washed mine yesterday with the help of my little kids to reach the lower areas.
    We rinsed the car with the hose first, and then using a big giant microfiber mitt and some Simple-Green, we washed the entire car using about three gallons of hot water. We then rinsed again with the hose, and using 3 different yellow microfiber cloths (from Costco), we wiped it down completely. One of the cloths was then used by my daughter to clean all the spokes (many rinses).
    When I was done and the car looked great I did two things (one good, one sad):
    1 (good) - I applied Aquapel to the windshield, and it looks great
    2 (bad) - I noticed 5 spots on the trunk lid which are total paint blemishes under the clear coat. Looks horrible, but I never really paid attention there until cleaning.

  5. #5
    Model S Res #7734 SuperCoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddenboer View Post
    2 (bad) - I noticed 5 spots on the trunk lid which are total paint blemishes under the clear coat. Looks horrible, but I never really paid attention there until cleaning.
    Holy crap, that's terrible! What is our recourse when this happens? Will Tesla repaint the trunk? I sure hope so!

  6. #6
    Member contaygious's Avatar
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    I'm afraid to look now for blemishes.
    P427 Performance White/Tan

  7. #7
    P85 & 40kw
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    Sadly, factory paint is almost always going to be the most durable (as it's baked rather than time-cured). Instead of repainting, a new factory painted hatch would be the best option.
    VIN 2970 - P85, Blue, Black Roof, Grey 21's, CF interior, Spoiler, Black Leather, Tech, Air, Sound, Jump Seats.
    VIN 10610 - 40kw, Dolphin Grey, Black Roof, Silver 21's, Matte Obeche, Tan Leather, Tech, Air.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SCW-Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zextraterrestrial View Post
    ... It is pretty cool that the inside of the handles are car paint color! never noticed that before...
    They must have changed that, as all the showroom floor displays and (most?) current test drive cars have fully chromed handles, inside and out. Suspect this was a very recent running change, as I'll bet some early sig holders have fully chromed handles.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ddenboer View Post
    2 (bad) - I noticed 5 spots on the trunk lid which are total paint blemishes under the clear coat. Looks horrible, but I never really paid attention there until cleaning.
    Bummer.

    I found some paint blemishes too. But after some diligence with the finish and some cleaner wax, I ended up resolving "flaws" that I thought were to be more concerning. It ends up that for me in shipping Tesla uses a vehicle wrap and in some locations the wrap contains strips of tape to adhere and not blow around. My guess is that some of these "flaws" we're containments from the tape. Some sparing treatment of cleaner wax along with elbow grease took care of it.

    Additionally I chose to "clay bar" the entire car. As mentioned above, given the overall shape and receding door handles it went very quick<30 min. Once the clay bar was complete, I then gave it a simple spray wax treatment. In the end I was very happy with the result. The paint is very smooth to the touch, no sensation of any grime or unevenness when you slide your hand across the surface. All in it took a few hours, but was a great way to get the paint in great shape for the long term of ownership.

  10. #10
    Senior Member strider's Avatar
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    This weekend will be the inaugural washing. I'll do a full wash w/ Dawn to strip any wax or polish products, then clay bar, then Apply a couple coats of Zaino Z2. I found a small spot on the hood w/ some swirl marks in the clear (not unique to Tesla - I've found spots on all my cars). I'll use some Zaino Z-fusion to smooth it out.
    Twilight Blue Roadster 2.5 - #1098 / Grey Model S Performance - #1459

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