Can electric cars go through the car wash?

May 15, 2024

While the vast majority of Americans still drive gas-powered vehicles, there’s no denying electric vehicles are quickly becoming a popular option for car buyers. In fact, over 750,000 new electric vehicles were registered in the U.S. in 2022, an increase of 65% compared to 2021*.

With more electric vehicles on the road than ever before, many people wonder whether these new cars require special care when getting cleaned. If you think about it, ever since you were a child, you’ve likely been taught the potential dangers of mixing water and electricity, so it’s certainly a valid concern.

The good news is, it’s completely safe to take your electric vehicle through an automated car wash.

In fact, washing your electric or hybrid vehicle is not much different than washing a gasoline or diesel car. Each vehicle must pass an extensive checklist of standards to ensure they’re safe on the road before they hit the market. Just as your car can drive through a heavy rainstorm with no leaks, these vehicles have been thoroughly tested to make sure they’re waterproof during car washes as well. The electric system is completely sealed inside the body of the car to prevent water from getting in.

That said, electric vehicles are built with unique features that may require your attention before a car wash.

Here are a few suggestions to prepare your electric vehicle for an automatic car wash:

Keep your car on and know how to put your vehicle in “Neutral” before you enter the conveyor tunnel. Each manufacturer may have a different set of instructions to put the car in “Neutral” that may not be as simple as a gas-powered car.

Ensure the charging port door is properly closed and secured to avoid exposing the charging port to water and cleaning products.
Turn off certain automatic functions that may activate during a wash, such as windshield wipers.

Like all vehicles, prepare for the wash by making sure mirrors are folded in, protruding elements like antennas are retracted, and the windows are completely closed.

Certain cars come with their own specific recommendations when it comes to getting a wash. For example, the Tesla Model 3 comes with a “Car Wash Mode” which automatically closes all windows, locks the charge port, and disables windshield wipers, according to their website. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual or with the manufacturer directly to see what they advise.

Still have questions about washing your electric vehicle? Our friendly and knowledgeable staff at Super Star Car Wash would be happy to assist you with all of your needs. Click here to find a Super Star Car Wash location near you.

*Source: CleanTechnica