2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Car Wash Fun

April 17, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

If you take a Tesla Model S to an automatic car wash, leave a little extra time for the staff to freak out.

Since you have to be sitting in the Tesla's seat for it to move forward, someone really has to ride in it. After a bit of conversation, where they tried to decide who would be the rider, I volunteered to be the one sitting in the car.

I enjoyed watching as the jets of water rainbowed down onto the windshield. It's a good idea to set the suspension setting to high, too, to avoid any damage to the tires or wheels.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 2,210 miles


  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Automatic car wash? Its overpriced, doesn't really even clean the car that well, and has a tendency to be hard on paint jobs. Oh well, not my car.

  • speeder31 speeder31 Posts:

    Not that I'm claiming to know all the ins and outs of adjustable suspension, but how is setting it to "high" going to protect the wheels and tires? Don't they normally stay in contact with the ground?

  • 330i_zhp 330i_zhp Posts:

    Nothing beats a good hand wash. Cheaper, does a better job, satisfaction from knowing you did the work, doesn't take THAT long... The only way my car sees a car wash is during the SD winters when temps are freezing and I need to get the heavy salt off. Anything above 32 degrees and I fill up the bucket with warm water to keep my paws from freezing.

  • baggs32 baggs32 Posts:

    You have to be sitting in the driver's seat for it to move forward? So there's no neutral gear then? I pity the person who forgets that little tidbit and tries to tow one of these without a trailer to put all 4 wheels on.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    @speeder31: that was my laugh for the morning, too. I don't think Philip is what you might call a car guy. You and I know the suspension adjustment raises and lowers the car RELATIVE TO the wheels and tires. Maybe Philip thinks the whole car levitates

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I don't really like hand washes either. There's always a risk that the guy putting a diaper or sponge on your car doesn't actually know what he's doing, and resulting damage from grit and other junk being rubbed all over your car results in swirl marks, or worst yet, actual scratches. I would prefer washing salt and crud off my car with an automatic car wash until I can do a proper job when I get home. It's got to be less of a problem in California right? I mean what do you have on your cars, dust? Fallout? In the midwest/Canada it's a lot of salt and sand!

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    baggs32 makes a good point. Make sure you obey all the street parking signs, or your car will be damaged by a tow truck driver.

  • jtamplin jtamplin Posts:

    You can actually put the car into neutral and leave the car using the center console -- see the manual.

  • mycx mycx Posts:

    Yup exactly jtamplin, Mr Reed, if you read the manual or go through the 28 minutes introduction video that Tesla provides before you take ownership you put the car in Neutral and turn if off from the screen. SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE SOMEONE TO RIDE IN IT!!!!!

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