Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Attention: Be aware of the Tesla Model S electric vehicle

Issues at carwashes

September 12, 2013
Carwash owners and operators will likely begin seeing greater numbers of the Tesla Model S coming through their carwashes. Yet some owners of the relatively new all-electric vehicles might not be aware of a safety feature which might make their trip to a conveyor carwash a bit difficult.

Brock Siebert, manager of Butch’s Lube ‘N’ Wash in Red Bank, New Jersey, explained that he has three regular customers who drive the Model S and with each vehicle a problem emerged when the customer got out of the car.

“What we found is that when you put them in neutral and get out of the car and close the door it automatically goes into park,” Siebert explained.

That means someone has to stay in the vehicle during its trip through the tunnel, which left Seibert short-handed on the line. 

Tesla Motors representative Patrick Jones explained via email that this is a safety feature in the event that the vehicle operator forgets to put the car in park. Tesla had been aware of this issue as it not only affects taking the car to the carwash, but also makes it impossible to tow the car without someone in the driver seat. The company recently deployed 5.0 software for the vehicle’s computer system which includes a “tow mode” override feature.

“This mode could be used to allow a car to be towed through a conveyer-based car wash,” Jones wrote in an email.

Jones also indicated that Tesla does not recommend using automated carwashes to clean the Model S.

The owner’s manual for the Model S indicates that the owner should not wait to wash the car and, instead, should wash any “corrosive substances” off the vehicle immediately.