Watch How Tesla Car Wash Mode Works

Watch How Tesla Car Wash Mode Works

Tesla's cars are some of the world's most sophisticated production cars, featuring tons of AI, easy-to-use vehicle modes, and a wide range of other impressive technology. One such mode in Tesla's electric vehicles is Car Wash Mode, which is useful for — you guessed it — washing your car.

Above: A Tesla Model X (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).

As expected, Tesla's Car Wash Mode should be engaged before taking your vehicle to the car wash. Many new Tesla owners aren't familiar with the Car Wash Mode, despite the automaker deploying the feature quite a while ago.

In fact, it's important coverage because not activating the Car Wash Mode in a car wash can damage a Tesla vehicle, and such damages aren't covered by warranty.

As one example, if Car Wash Mode is not activated and the Tesla vehicle enters a car wash, it can trigger the automatic wipers. In turn, the system confusing car wash water pressure with rain can damage the wipers.

When a vehicle enters car wash mode, the frunk (front trunk), rear trunk, and charge port are locked automatically for the vehicle's safety. Sentry Mode is also disabled to save battery and prevent unnecessary nagging.

Tesla vehicles take the following actions when Car Wash Mode is activated:

  • Keep speed below 10 mph
  • Charge port door: locked
  • Walk-Away Door Lock: off
  • Automatic wipers: off
  • Parking assist chimes: off
  • Automatic doors: off (only on Model X)
  • Sentry Mode: off
  • Climate: recirculating
  • Frunk: closed
  • Trunk: closed

As mentioned above, a number of Tesla owners is not aware of the Car Wash Mode feature, even after owning the vehicle for a while.

Tesla is uniquely positioned in the auto industry, especially given the company's ability to add/improve features via over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Car Wash Mode has and will be improved with time as the car's technology evolves and as new features are added.

The Cleaning section of the Tesla Owner's Manual has the following instructions to enable Car Wash Mode, along with other related information:

When taking Model S, 3, X, Y to a car wash, Car Wash Mode closes all windows, locks the charge port, and disables windshield wipers, Sentry Mode, walk-away door locking, and parking sensor chimes. To enable, touch Controls > Service > Car Wash Mode. Your vehicle must be stationary and not actively charging.

If using an automatic car wash, Enable Free Roll keeps your vehicle in Neutral and activates free roll for the duration of the wash, while preventing Model S from applying the Parking brake if you leave the driver’s seat. To enable, press on the brake pedal and touch Enable Free Roll; or shift into Neutral.

Car Wash Mode disables if the vehicle’s speed exceeds 9 mph (15 km/h) or by touching Exit on the touchscreen.


Failure to put Model S, 3, X, Y in Car Wash Mode may result in damage (for example, to the charge port or windshield wipers). Damage caused by car washes is not covered by the warranty.

Source: Tesla Owner’s Manual

Let’s watch how Tesla Car Wash Mode works in the real world, as depicted in the following video.

Above: Tesla Car Wash Mode in a Conveyer Car Wash - Know the Steps (Video: Flame Ming / YouTube).


Sources: Tesla / Flame Ming (via YouTube)

Note: An earlier version of this article was published at Tesla Oracle. Author: Iqtidar Ali.