How to Put Tesla in Car Wash Mode? (w/ Photos)

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to put tesla in car wash mode

Setting a Tesla in Car Wash Mode is a must before driving it into a car wash. It is for the vehicle to undergo the cleaning smoothly without any damage. On top of that, the mode makes everything you need to get prepared for the wash readily available on the screen.

How to put Tesla in Car Wash Mode is an easy-to-do procedure that makes preparing your vehicle for a car wash easier too. Read further for the next time you bring your car to the shop.

Step-By-Step to Put Tesla in Car Wash Mode


The steps are not so complicated, as the Tesla Model Y Car Wash Mode setup process is the same as in Tesla Model X, Model S, and Model 3. However, older X and S models don’t support this mode.

Step 1: Put Your Tesla Car in Park

Before setting your vehicle in Tesla car wash mode, you must set it in park (P) first. Your car must also not be actively charging.

Step 2: Select Car Wash Mode in the Controls Panel of the Touchscreen


  • Go to the Controls panel > select Service > find the Car Wash Mode and select it

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


After selecting Car Wash Mode, an alert window would appear. There, you should select Enter Car Wash Mode.

Once on, Car Wash Mode Tesla car will prepare itself for a car wash by automatically closing, locking, turning off, and disabling various features.

  • The windows, front trunk, and trunk will be closed to prevent water from soaking the interior.
  • The charge port door will be locked to prevent any damage to the charge port and door.
  • The windshield wipers will be disabled to prevent them from being activated and destroyed during the car wash.
  • The parking sensor chimes will be disabled to avoid unnecessary beeping.
  • The walk-away door lock and the Sentry Mode will be disabled.

Step 4: Manually Manage Some Features if necessary


The Car Wash Mode also provides the live statuses of every feature of the vehicle that’s relevant for getting a car wash on the touchscreen. It shows a list of the features, each with a status light and its status in words. So it serves as a checklist for car washing.

The status lights will turn green if the actions required have already been automatically done. The lights would turn red to alert you when you need to manage a feature manually. That’s because some features may not be automatic for some models.

For a pre-2020 Tesla Model 3 Car Wash Mode, for example, since the model’s trunk isn’t automatic, what would happen if the trunk isn’t closed yet is that its status light would turn red. Its status would say “Trunk: Open.” So when you see an issue alert, resolve it before the car wash.

You can control the climate system and other features manually. It may either be set to recirculating or turned off.

Step 5: Select Fold Mirrors


The Car Wash Mode also provides the Fold Mirrors button. It’s necessary to select the Fold Mirrors to prevent the mirrors from getting damaged by any force during car washing.

Additional Steps for an Automatic Car Wash With a Conveyor Belt

Step 1: Activate the Enable Free Roll Button

A Tesla automatic car wash requires setting the vehicle into neutral. This would allow the wheels to roll freely through the tunnel as the vehicle is not set in park, which could result in the wheels being dragged.

The Car Wash Mode allows you to easily put Tesla in neutral for car wash through the Enable Free Roll button readily available on the screen.

The button is initially grayed out and needs to be activated. Activating it is as easy as stepping on the brake pedal and setting your vehicle to Drive Mode.

Step 2: Tap the Enable Free Roll Button

When the Enable Free Roll button’s color turns blue, it has already been activated. By then, you can press it, and your car will be set to neutral.

Steps for Turning off Car Wash Mode


  • Press Exit Car Wash Mode. On the touchscreen, there’d be an option that says Exit Car Wash Mode. Press it then the mode will be turned off.
  • Or Set the Car Into Drive and Accelerate at a Speed Above 10 mph. When you drive above 10 mph, the mode would automatically be disabled.



How Do You Turn On Carwash Mode?

To turn on the Car Wash Mode, do the following steps:

  • Go to the Controls panel.
  • Press Service.
  • Press Car Wash Mode.
  • Press Enter Car Wash Mode.

Can You Go Through a Car Wash With a Tesla?

Back then, Tesla car owners encountered problems when they took their vehicle to an automatic car wash. But thanks to the Car Wash Mode update, you no longer have to question can a Tesla go through a car wash safely, as it resolved all the problems that can happen in the car washing process.

When a Tesla is set to Car Wash Mode, it would automatically close, lock, turn off, and disable various components to prepare for an automatic car wash to prevent damages and water from getting in it.

While some features couldn’t be automatically controlled, the mode would remind the car owner to take care of those features.

It also gives the convenience of providing buttons necessary for preparing an automatic car wash in one place, such as the buttons for Enable Free Roll, Fold Mirrors, and Exit Car Wash Mode.

What’s the Best Type of Automated Car Wash for Tesla?

According to Tesla, it’s best to take your vehicle to a touchless car wash and avoid the traditional automatic car wash, also known as the soft-touch car wash.

That’s because unlike the traditional type, which uses moving brushes or cloths, the touchless car wash doesn’t use any equipment that would come in direct contact with a vehicle. It only uses high-pressure sprays of water and detergent to eliminate surface contaminants. So, it’s a much safer option.

In a soft-touch car wash, you’d risk your side mirrors and antennas being damaged by the moving brushes or cloths.

They also tend to damage the paintwork due to friction and grind contaminants caught on them from the previous washes onto your vehicle. Moreover, the pollutants that the equipment may spread around can potentially damage sensors and cameras.

Such damages can be costly especially since they aren’t covered in the warranty.

How Do You Put Tesla in Neutral for Car Wash?

To set your Tesla in neutral for car washing, do the following steps:

  • Step on the brake pedal.
  • Set the car to Drive Mode.
  • Press the Enable Free Roll button when it turns blue.


How to put Tesla in Car Wash Mode can be done easily and quickly. Once you’ve selected the necessary buttons, your vehicle will automatically set relevant features in the appropriate setting for a car wash.

But also don’t forget to manage the features that aren’t automatic manually.

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