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Can an EV go through a carwash? (without damage)

Can an EV go through a carwash? (without damage)

Yes, it is perfectly safe to take your EV or electric car through a carwash. In fact, your EV could even be partly subdued underwater due to the “soak test” that many manufacturers are adapting to.

The soak water test for an EV is a test where the car will be subjected to near flooding level rain.

Will Washing Your Car Remove Wax

Every electronic component in an EV is covered and coated with higher than military-grade material. Tesla, for example, has actually higher standards for their electronic components than the military in many countries.

The same goes for plug-in hybrids

There should be no difference if plug-in hybrids could go in a carwash as well. So yes they can.

Plug-in hybrids are basically also categorized as an EV, just with more than one way of storing energy and deliver that energy to the electric motors.

All electronic parts in a plug-in hybrid have to live up to the same standards. Maybe even more so, because they have to live up to the same standards as gasoline cars as well.

How do I take my EV (Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Ioniq, Zoe, e-Tron) through a carwash?

In almost all EV’s there should a “gear lever” with the symbol N. In a Tesla gearing located on the screen instead.

Nonetheless, you should be able to put your car in N mode or “Neutral” mode. Do this.

After you’ve done this you want to disable your wipers, roll up the windows, fold your side mirrors in and put some nice music on.

That’s it, don’t forget to bring an ice-cold beer while you enjoy the soothing sound of a clean car and only lifting a finger to take a sip.

One good advise before using a carwash

I’ve used plenty of different car washes. Both with gasoline cars and electric cars. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Some carwashes I would never recommend using and others are great.

Please make sure to check online, maybe Trustpilot, to see other people’s experience with the carwash that you are considering. If there are no reviews I wouldn’t make the change.

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Inside of a car in an automated car wash.

The good things using an automated carwash

  1. The carwash is build to be thorough. It would take a very long time for yourself to reach the places that a carwash can get to easily. For example, the underside of your car. It’s very difficult to reach under the car and properly inside the rims and around smaller edges. The fibres and hoses in carwashes do this with ease.
  2. A carwash is much faster than you could ever clean a car properly. I think at most it takes about 5 minutes when I take my car through the regular program. Which includes waxing and extra cleaning for the rims and under the car. So no wouldn’t be able to compete with the speed. And today time is money or time cleaning your car is time not spend with your family.
  3. This one is debatable but I think it’s true in most cases, especially where I live (in Denmark). Carwashes are more gently to the paint on your car. The fibres that the brushes are made with are designed to be very gently and non-scratching material. Just make sure that the carwash you’ll be going through is not using nylon but cotton. Some types of nylon will scratch your car, depending on how good the paint job is. But cotton, on the other hand, will most likely never be able to make a single tiny scratch. Cotton is also what most washing gloves and brushes are made of.
  4. It actually requires less water to get the same result. Automated car washes are really interested in decreasing their cost per wash. That is why car washes have made their washers super-efficient. This doesn’t hurt and is a win-win for all parts. They save money and you do something better for the environment. Also, some car washes are actually handling the wastewater better and are filtering the bad chemicals from the soap out. Some car washes choose to use much more efficient and environmental-friendly soap and wax.
  5. The process is standardized, you should expect to get the same and hopefully clean result every time. That way you also always know if it usually misses a spot on the rim, it’ll pretty much miss that spot every time and you can clean it fast and easy yourself.
  6. If you live in an apartment, a car wash is gold for you and maybe your only choice if you don’t have access to a hose.

The bad things about using an automated carwash

  1. They almost never have a proper solution for drying your car after the wash. I think I’ve come across one good drying experience in Denmark, which was by WashWorld. Other than that, carwashes have never been fully able to dry my car. There would always be left soap or chalk from the water when I’ve driven a couple of miles.
  2. Water spots. Water spots can be a real pain to deal with. It happens most often when (same to the answer above) the car doesn’t get dried properly. But this can also happen when the water has too much chalk in it. If the level of chalk in the water is too much for the drying process to handle, it’ll start leaving water spots or chalk spots. These spots are most annoying when seen on your side mirrors, but here they are easy to get rid of. Just use a microfiber or cotton cloth. But every time you’ve been through a carwash, check the hood of your car. If there are water spots you should get rid of them rather sooner than later. If you leave the chalk spots for a long time and there is a hot glowing sun right on the hood, the spots can be extremely hard to get rid of entirely. So it’s best to keep an eye on that.
  3. Probably more expensive. Depending on what soaps, wax you buy and how much water you use and the water prices where you live. It is most likely more expensive than if you chose to clean it by yourself.
  4. It may not reach all the deep places. A lot of car washes have problems with cleaning the rims properly. This can be a nuisance. Also if you choose a bad car was which doesn’t use insect remove, the insects can be hard to get rid of in the front.

What is an automatic car wash?

So a car wash, carwash, or auto wash depending where you are from, is a facility that cleans the exterior of your car automatically. Most car washes are self-serve and fully automated, but sometimes it’s a mix with automated washing and attendants who does the waxing.

Types of automatic car washes

In general, you can take your electric car through all types of automated car washes. But there are actually several different types of car washes on the market. Here I’ll list and explain the different types.

Touchless or Soft Touch car washes

A touchless car wash uses only pressure washers and pressurized air with a mix of soaps. It’s fully automatic and tends to be the car wash that is most soft for the car and eliminates any risk of scratches in the paint.

It’s also the least efficient one when it comes to cleaning and drying. Because it doesn’t use any brushes it can’t get rid of the dirt that sticks hard to your card, and it cannot dry your car completely. I think it’s a good method if you just want to get rid of any dust quickly.

Rollover car washes

The rollover system I think is the most common car wash on the market, especially where I live in Denmark. The rollover car wash is also known as an in-bay car wash.

When you go into a rollover or in-bay car wash, you typically drive into a small hall where brushes and high-pressure sprays will go back and forth, up and under a few times until the car is clean.

It usually takes a short time and usually, you get to stay in the car while the cleaning is taking place. The whole process is fully autonomous, where you only have to select the program.

Tunnel car washes

The tunnel car wash works in principle the same as the rollover or in-bay car wash. The difference is that here your car is moved through a tunnel with a conveyor belt. When you move through the tunnel the different steps of washing take place. Water spray, soap, brushes, water spray, and drying.

Conclusion – Can you take your EV through a car wash?

So the conclusion is, you can take all vehicles including electric cars, hybrids, gasoline cars, etc. through all types of carwashes. But please consider the upsides and downsides, these go for all types of cars. But I think I’ll keep taking my electric car through the carwash.

Author: Morten Pradsgaard

Morten has been working with technology, IoT, and electronics for over a decade. His passion for technology is reflected in this blog to give you relevant and correct information.

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