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Detailing Your Tesla

Detailing Your Tesla

There’s nothing like a sparkling clean car. Even if your Tesla Model S, Model X or Model Y is only a few years old, a gleaming exterior and spotless interior can make it feel brand new again. Detailing a Tesla isn’t much different than any other car, but there are a few key differences that need addressed. Let’s take a look at how to detail a Tesla at home.

Remove Everything

First off, you need to start with an empty workspace. Remove everything from your Tesla that isn’t bolted down. Empty out the frunk, take out that gym bag and even the coins in the cup holder. Toss all the trash and don’t forget to check under the seats. Anything you don’t want to vacuum up needs removed. Take out the floor mats, as well as any cargo protectors. Keep in mind that extra weight from trash and junk also impacts your battery range, so it pays to keep things neat.

Vacuum EverywhereAuto-Vac 120 Volt AC Bagless Vacuum

Grab a wet/dry vacuum with a few attachments and start vacuuming. Use the brush attachment to agitate the carpet fibers and loosen any dirt. Then swap to the crevice attachment to get all those narrow areas where crumbs and leaves like to hide. Vacuum the floor mats while they are out of the car.

Clean the Carpet and Seats

Freshen up the carpet with a good scrub. Even if you have floor mats, gunk and dirt can still make their way around the edges of your carpet and seats. This is especially true in areas that deal with road salt and slush during the winter. Follow the directions on the carpet cleaner spray can. Moving on to cleaning the seats, you only need a microfiber towel, some warm water and a little bit of non-detergent soap. Dampen the microfiber towel with warm water and apply a small amount of the non-detergent soap. Now gently wipe the seat surfaces in a circle to remove any dirt.

Clean the Dash and Console

Your touchscreen is pretty much a computer monitor, so use a lint-free dry microfiber cloth to wipe it clean. Do not use any sort of glass cleaner or other chemical cleaner on your Tesla’s touchscreen. Wipe the dash and console with a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water. You can use a small amount of non-detergent soap on the microfiber cloth if necessary. Do not use any sort of polish on the dashboard as it may create a reflective surface and could cause light to interfere with the driver’s sight.

Wash the Outside

If you choose to take your Tesla to an automated car wash, you need to put it in “Car Wash Mode” if so equipped. To see if your Tesla has “Car Wash Mode,” use the touchscreen and go to “Controls” and then “Service” to see if it is listed. What does “Car Wash Mode” do exactly? This mode closes the windows, locks the charge port door and disables systems such as the windshield wipers and parking sensors chimes. You also need to put your Tesla in “Free Roll Mode” so that conveyors can push it through the automatic car wash. 

Hand washing your Tesla is much simpler, but more time-consuming. Give the exterior a good rinse down first. If you have a foam cannon, you can speed up the pre-wash process. Then fill one bucket with sudsy water and another bucket with clean water. Drop a grit guard in the bottom of both buckets, then grab a wash mitt and get to work. Make sure to rinse the mitt so that dirt and grit aren’t put back onto the paint. Clean the tires and wheels last because they are always the dirtiest. Ideally, use a dedicated tire brush for this job as it can get pretty nasty. Then give the whole Tesla a good rinse off and dry it with clean microfiber towels.

If you really want to get your paint clean, consider a clay bar treatment. As time passes, contaminants can become embedded in your paint. Using a special clay bar kit, you can lift those contaminants from the paint and return that glass-smooth feeling to your Tesla’s body panels.

At this point, it is a good idea to inspect the vehicle for any paint chips. If you find paint damage, you can easily apply touch-up paint because your Tesla is already clean. Just make sure to follow the directions included with the touch-up paint, which may require holding off on waxing until it is thoroughly cured.

Clean the Glass

You can clean glass with normal glass cleaner and paper towels. However, glass surfaces such as the rear window have defroster elements, so do not use any scrapers or harsh cleaners. For next-level rainwater control, try applying a windshield coating to help water droplets seemingly disappear like magic during the next rainstorm.

Apply Wax and Tire Shine

Protect your paint with a good coating of quality wax. You can use traditional paste wax or liquid wax. For wax application, a microfiber cloth will do the job just fine. When it comes time for buffing, a cordless polisher can get the job done fast and save your arms. Just make sure to work in the shade so the wax doesn’t bake itself onto the paint, making for a much harder job.

Finally, apply tire shine to your tire sidewalls once they are dry. Congratulations, you’re now a Tesla detailer! So, the next time you search for “Tesla detailing near me,” you know the answer is as close as your driveway.

When the time comes to give your Tesla a spa day, make sure to check out NAPAonline and your local NAPA Auto Parts store for all your Tesla detailing needs. You can also sign up for NAPA Rewards and start earning Points towards your next NAPA purchase. For every $1 you spend online or at a participating store, you earn 1 Point. Once you earn 100 Points, you automatically get $5 off your next NAPA purchase. Easy!

If you already know exactly what detailing products you need or are running short on time, you can Buy Online, Pickup In-Store. Prefer to have it delivered? NAPA has Free One-Day Shipping on 160,000+ products.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Brian Medford View All

With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of his many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible, BMW E46 sedan, and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.

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