How To Put Tesla In Car Wash Mode?

Have you ever thought about taking your Tesla to an automatic car wash to experience the car wash mode? However, do you know how to put Tesla in car wash mode and use it properly? If that is the case, you are in the right place, as there will be many things to cover on this topic.

We will learn about the Tesla car wash mode is and how you can use it. Then we will go through the pros and cons of using this mode. We’ll also find out how much this service costs or whether you should wash your Tesla at home. So if you want to learn more, stay tuned.

The Basics of Tesla Car Wash Mode

Before we dive into how to put Tesla in car wash mode, we will first find out the basics of this specified mode. Knowing this will help you understand and fully grasp how it works and its purpose on a Tesla car.

So, what is the Tesla car wash mode? Well, this is a special mode that has been installed on modern Tesla. This mode is specially designed if you want to wash the electric car and drive through an automatic car wash system.

It is vital to avoid damaging the car when going through any washing service. As in the washing time, the whole Tesla should be neutral, not running in electric mode. In addition, Tesla car wash mode will lock all doors, close open windows, and turn off some features such as automatic wipers, protection mode, and parking sensor bell.

Imagine that you, unfortunately, forgot to close one of the windows. The car will get wet if you don’t pay attention. Or maybe you forgot to turn on the automatic windshield wipers. In that case, the windshield wipers can be badly affected (tampered with) and destroyed.

So in the end, always be cautious while using any electric-related items, even big or small, because you will have no idea how and when you destroy them on a lovely Sunday morning.

tesla car wash mode
The Tesla will be protected with a car wash mode. (Photo: The Megawatts)

Which Tesla Models Support The Car Wash Mode Feature?

In the end, you’d better turn on the wash mode whenever using an automatic type of car wash. However, do you know that not every Tesla model has this mode? Did your Tesla model even support this car wash feature in the first place?

Equipped as a standard feature in the most recent Teslas like the Model 3 and Model Y, you can assure that any new Tesla you buy today will include this mode.

On older models like the Model X and Model S, this feature comes with newer lines, more precisely the April 2021 updates. However, this function did not have an update on the early models of the Model X and S because their old hardware may not be updated to support features like this.

Moreover, you should check out the menu and learn more about available updates. Because who knows, you may be eligible for that update on your Tesla vehicle. Just browse your dashboard screen menu and see if the Tesla car wash mode is available.

How To Put Tesla In Car Wash Mode

A lot of owners, even though they have a Tesla, have never tried the car wash mode and don’t know how to activate or use it in the first place. With that said, we will now explain in depth how to put Tesla in car wash mode properly.

Overall, grasping the top-to-toes using instructions in this mode is very simple. However, you can learn a proper method to fasten the process. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with the blinking screen for more than half an hour trying to figure out how you can do this.

The steps are not too complicated because the process to set up Tesla Model Y Car Wash Mode is the same as in Tesla Model X, Model S, and Model 3.

Step 1: Put your Tesla in parking mode

Before putting your car into Tesla car wash mode, you must first put the car in parking mode (P). Your vehicle is also not actively charging.

Step 2: Select Car Wash Mode in Touchscreen Control Panel

Go to Control panel > select Service > find and select Car Wash Mode

Step 3: Select Enter Car Wash Mode on the Warning Window

After selecting Car Wash Mode, a warning window will appear. There, you should select Enter Car Wash Mode.

Once enabled, Tesla Car Wash Mode prepares itself for a car wash by automatically closing, locking, disabling, and disabling various features.

  • The windows, front trunk, and rear trunk will be closed to prevent water from entering the interior.
  • The charging port door will be locked to prevent damage to the port and charging door.
  • Windshield wipers will be deactivated to prevent them from being activated and destroyed during the car wash.
  • The parking sensor bell will be muted to avoid unnecessary beeping.
  • Walk Door Lock and Sentry Mode will be disabled.

Step 4: Manually manage some features if needed

The Car Wash mode also provides the live status of all car wash-related features on the touch screen. It displays a list of features, each with a status light and its status in the text, serving as a checklist for car washes.

The status light will turn green if necessary actions have been performed. It will turn red to alert when you need to manage a feature manually, because for a couple of Tesla lines, some existing modes are not equipped automatically.

For example, for Tesla Model 3 Car Wash Mode before 2020, if the trunk is not closed, its status light will turn red. The status on the menu then will be Trunk – Open. You can also manually control the climate system and other features and set them to cyclic or off.

tesla car wash mode warning light
When you see a warning, address it before washing the car. (Photo: Not a Tesla App)

Step 5: Select fold mirrors

Tesla Car Wash mode also provides a Mirror Fold button. It is necessary to choose the type of mirror folding so that the mirror will not be affected by any force during the car wash.

How to Turn Off Tesla Car Wash Mode

There are two ways to turn off the car wash mode on your Tesla:

  • Press the “Exit Car Wash” button and your car will automatically exit the wash mode.
  • Drive as you always do, and wash mode will be off when the speed exceeds 10 mph.

Is The Tesla Car Wash Mode Helpful?

There is a dedicated mode to make all these changes in one batch at the touch of a button every time you wash your Tesla, which saves a lot of time. Having a checklist right on your screen is also a reminder of what you need to do (or not do) when it’s time to wash your car.

You might say it’s a small thing, but if you own a Tesla and wash your car regularly, this feature will save you time and effort. There is nothing new with this feature since you can make each of these changes yourself. But the difference is in the number of taps and the screens you need to access.

Using An Automatic Car Wash On Your Tesla

As you probably know, everything has its pros and cons. So does car washing. So, what are the pros and cons of using a car wash mode on an automatic car wash service?

Benefits of using an automatic car wash for Tesla

The biggest advantage of using an automatic car wash is convenience. This type of washing is easy to execute. Everything is done by the machine. This means you don’t have to do anything that makes you sweat and feel tired. When your car is thoroughly washed, it will dry completely itself. Drive in, and then drive out. Simple as that.

And frankly, this is one of the best ideas that has come to fruition because, since its inception, it has saved billions of hours of manual labor. And that’s quite a lot of time, to be honest. Another advantage of using an automatic car wash is the low cost. If you already know, car washes are affordable. It will not make any difference if you take your car to the car wash once or twice a month.

This is why we recommend washing your Tesla automatically. But not everything is sunshine and roses. There may be something not optimal with this service, so you have to be cautious and well-prepared all the time.

Drawbacks of using automatic car wash for Tesla

We’ve learned how to put Tesla in car wash mode and covered all the advantages of using automated services. But what are the downsides?

One of the biggest downsides of using an automated car wash is the problem of your car getting damaged. Another disadvantage is the paintwork damage done by the machine. The machine’s brush can create swirls in the car’s paint, and after a few washes, they may get worse.

Overall, the cons don’t outweigh the advantages. So you can bring your car to the auto wash but make sure you turn on the Tesla car wash mode. You’ll be good to go.

How Much Is An Tesla Car Wash?

We’ve learned about Tesla’s car wash and how it works, and we think it’s time to learn more about how much you can expect to pay at an automated car wash.

On average, an automatic Tesla wash costs about $10 to $20. Depends on where you take your car to. But that doesn’t mean it’s worth it. In some places, prices are higher because there is simply no automatic car wash in the area. Some owners can be charged even $50 in some cases.

washing a tesla
Search carefully for a Tesla washing center with good quality in town. (Photo: Ian Goodall)

Although we recommend researching reputable and reliable car washing places in your area, you will find one that can do the job for cheap with high quality.

Just remember that whenever you take your car to, always turn on the Tesla wash mode and ensure that everything is closed or shut down properly. Moreover, being careful with the feature will ensure your car sensors do not vibrate in danger while the car is in the automatic soap sink.

How To Wash Your Tesla Yourself

If you are confident to use a hand-held Tesla car wash at home, you can refer to the following steps to make the process go more smoothly.

  • Step 1: Pre-wash the Tesla car with water to remove dirt from the body.
  • Step 2: Use the 2-bucket method to clean Tesla from top to bottom. Fill one bucket with car wash soap solution and the other bucket to catch dirty water and rinse your car wash gloves. Dip your gloves in a soapy solution first. Clean your car, then dip them in a second bucket to rinse or wring them out. Divide your car into different parts and clean them one by one, so you won’t miss any spots.
  • Step 3: Once you are satisfied with the results, the following process is to dry your car. We recommend using a microfiber towel to dry your car. Microfiber towels can absorb large amounts of water, and they are not abrasive. Once the drying process is complete, check the car one more time to assure you have covered all the stains.

Waterless car wash method

A waterless car wash, as the name implies, uses no or very little water. All you need is a waterless car wash method and some microfiber towels for the perfect car wash. Here’s how you can wash your car with the waterless car wash method:

  • Divide your car into different parts.
  • Spray the waterless car wash solution on the body and let it sit.
  • After a while, wipe it off with a microfiber towel. While wiping, remember not to press too hard or go in circles. Wipe in one direction only.
  • Use different microfiber towels for parts of the car.

Touchless car wash service

If you do not have time to wash your car using the above methods, you can look to a touchless car wash service. Some Tesla’s instructions manual warns you against going to an automatic and only to a touchless car wash. In a touchless car wash, no device or tool comes into direct contact with your vehicle. Therefore, there is no possibility of causing scratches.


We just went through some announcements about how to put Tesla in car wash mode. Hope you can have a deeper insight into this issue and prepare yourself with background knowledge for all future projects to go smoothly.

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