Can I Take My Electric Vehicle Through A Car Wash

As electric vehicles (EVs) become more popular, it’s important for EV owners to know how to properly care for their vehicles. One aspect of car maintenance that requires special attention is car washes. While washing a car may seem like a routine task (especially when you are accustomed to gas-powered vehicles only requiring a quick securing of the windshield wipers!!!), EVs have unique features and requirements that must be taken into consideration to prevent damage to the vehicle’s sensitive electrical components. In this response, we will outline seven things that EV owners should keep in mind when taking their cars to a car wash. So, go ahead and put your brain in neutral, take your hands off the keyboard, close the windows, and enjoy the ride.

  1. The first pointer may not be that evident: check your local car wash’s policy. EVs have unique features and requirements that may not be accommodated by all car washes. So, before taking your EV to your favorite, local car wash, check with that location, and ask a few questions to ensure they are equipped to handle your high-priced vehicle. Some car washes may have specific instructions for washing EVs, or may not allow them at all.
  2. Secondly, avoid car wash options that use high-pressure water systems, especially near or on charging ports. EVs have sensitive electrical components, including the charging port, which can be damaged by high-pressure water impact. Ultimately, to avoid damaging these components, it’s best to avoid spraying water directly onto the charging port. Instead, use a low-pressure setting or a gentle hand-washing technique.
  3. Thirdly, always disconnect the charging cable prior to EV bath time. This may go without saying, but sometimes we need to be reminded of basic logic. So, whether you are cleaning your EV yourself, or you are taking it to a car wash, be sure to disconnect the charging cable. This will prevent any damage to the cable or charging port. In addition, if the cable gets wet during the wash, it can pose a risk of electric shock, making it even more crucial that the cable is properly stored and maintained during a wash.
  4. Turn off your EV. This step may be less obvious to some simply due to gas-powered vehicles not requiring a complete shut off during a wash. But we’re not in Kansas anymore, are we? We have entered a new world of technology requiring us to think differently. So, remember, it is important to turn off your EV before taking it into the car wash, as this will prevent any accidental acceleration or movement of the vehicle, which can be dangerous for both the car and the people around it. Additionally, turning off the car can help protect the sensitive electrical components from potential water damage or electrical shorts that could occur if the car’s systems are active during the wash. Finally, make sure to engage the parking brake as well.
  5. Fifthly, check for leaks! EVs have large batteries, and any leaks or damage to the battery can be dangerous. Before taking your EV in for a cleaning, inspect for any leaks or damage to the battery. If you notice any potential issues, it may be a good idea to take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic before proceeding with the car wash, let alone any future road trips.
  6. For the penultimate point, we recommend utilizing a touchless car wash. Touchless car washes are equipped with high-pressure water and soap to clean the car without physically touching the surface of the vehicle. This can be a worthwhile option for EVs, as it reduces the risk of scratches or damage to the car’s electrical apparatus. However, be aware that some touchless car washes may use harsh chemicals that can damage the paint or finish of your vehicle. Be sure to verify that acid-based cleaners, chlorine bleach, and petroleum-based concoctions are not a feature of any car wash you frequent!
  7. Lastly, avoid wax or polish! While some car washes offer wax or polish as an extra service, these products can be damaging to the paint and finish of an EV. The high heat and pressure of the car wash can also cause these products to bond more strongly with the paint, making them harder to remove and potentially causing damage. It’s best to avoid these services and stick to a basic wash. If you do want to apply wax or polish, do it manually using a soft cloth or sponge, and be sure to use products specifically designed for use on EVs.

In conclusion, caring for an electric vehicle (EV) requires special attention to ensure that the sensitive electrical components of the vehicle are protected. To quickly recap, when it comes to car washes, there are seven key things that EV owners should keep in mind to avoid damage to their vehicles. These include avoiding automatic car washes with brushes, being mindful of the water pressure and temperature, disconnecting the charging cable, turning off the vehicle, using a soft brush or microfiber cloth, avoiding harsh chemicals, and drying the car thoroughly. By following these tips, EV owners can maintain the appearance and functionality of their vehicles and enjoy driving them for years to come. With proper care and attention, EVs can provide a clean and sustainable transportation solution for our communities.

OK, you can turn your EV back on now.

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