Can I Put My Electric Car Through A Car Wash? This is How


can i take my electric car in a car wash

When it comes to keeping electric cars clean, some owners might wonder if the age-old adage that electricity and water don’t mix applies to electric cars. After all, no one wants to potentially  damage their electric car by taking it through a car wash.

You can put your electric car through a car wash without damaging your car. Electric cars are tested by manufacturers to ensure that they are safe to drive in any weather, including high rain. This testing certifies that electric cars are water-tight, meaning every electric part is safe from water.

Knowing how to keep your electric car clean is an important part of routine car maintenance. In this article, I’ll ease your cleaning concerns by explaining why your electric car is safe to go through a car wash. 

And as a bonus, I’ll show you a few more tips on how to keep your electric car sparkling clean.

Electric Cars Won’t Be Damaged in a Car Wash

Sure, electric cars run differently than traditional cars with combustion engines. But electric cars are safe to take through a car wash because of their weather-safe design. In fact, it’s the difference between traditional and electric cars that make electric cars less vulnerable to water risks than traditional cars.

Electric Cars Are Designed to Withstand Water

As you know, traditional cars have gas-fueled engines that use various pipes and vents to operate. Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy for water to flood the engine or transmission of a traditional car by entering the car through the pipes or vents at the bottom of the car. That’s why it’s not advised for traditional cars to drive through water – once water reaches the engine, it can cause a lot of damage very quickly.

Electric cars, on the other hand, don’t have combustible engines or the pipes and vents that come with them. In fact, the electric components that make an electric car run, like the battery pack and motor, must be safely sealed from water for the car to be sold. Because of this sealant, electric cars are generally safer to drive through water than traditional cars.

In addition to the sealing, any high-voltage parts in an electric car are designed to be safe inside the body of the car, away from any danger of damage from outside elements. And most importantly, extensive testing from the manufacturer has to be done to ensure that the electrical parts are working correctly to protect the driver. 

Additional Ways to Secure Your Car Before Going Through a Car Wash

Even though your electric car will be safe going through a car wash, there are a couple of traditional measures you can take to ensure there’s no harm done to yourself or the car.

  • Make sure that your car has sufficient battery before heading to the car wash
  • Leave your car on and in neutral when entering the car wash tunnel
  • Double-check that all automatic functions, especially windshield wipers, are turned off
  • Fold in the side mirrors on your car and remove antennae if possible
  • Ensure that windows are rolled up all the way and doors are closed completely to prevent damage to the interior of the car

As you can see, there’s really not much of a difference when it comes to putting an electric car and a traditional car through a car wash. If you’re used to keeping your traditional car clean by putting it through a car wash, rest assured that you can do the same with your electric car.

Benefits of Going Through an Automatic Car Wash for an Electric Car

Automatic car washes are a great choice if you’re looking to clean your car in a way that is:

  • Fast
  • Inexpensive
  • Reliable
  • Gentle

Automatic car washes are known for being a convenient and hassle-free way to keep the exterior of your car clean. It’s easy to stop by a car wash on the way home from work, and within minutes you can leave with a car that’s as good as new. Most towns have accessible car washes that aren’t expensive, making it a no-brainer for busy schedules.

On top of their efficiency, automated car washes are designed to evenly clean your car’s exterior through a series of specialized steps. When you drive through a car wash, you know what you’re getting. 

If you’re taking your car through a trustworthy car wash, you can trust that the machines will reliably and gently clean the exterior of your car while protecting your car’s paint every time.

Cons of Automatic Car Washes for Electric Cars

However, there are some drawbacks to automated car washes. If you’re going through a car wash that doesn’t have additional drying features, then you could leave the car wash with a partially wet car that results in random wet spots. This problem can be fixed by drying the car with a dry rag yourself, but that slightly undercuts the convenience of an otherwise fully automated car wash.

Another drawback of automatic car washes is that they aren’t as effective if you’re looking to deep clean your car. While the standardized motions in an automated car wash are great for an overall even clean, the machine won’t be able to tell which areas are dirtier than the rest. This means that exceptionally stuck-on dirt and grime might not receive the attention needed to be washed away in an automated car wash.

Hand-Wash Your Car for a Deep Clean

If you have extra time and energy on your hands, hand-washing is a fantastic way to deep clean your car. By hand-washing your car, you can clean areas that automated car washes might not clean sufficiently and truly make your car shine.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Specially formulated soap for cars
  • Water supply
  • Hose
  • Two buckets
  • Two sponges
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Towel or squeegee
  • Car wax

Tips for Hand-Washing Your Car:

  • Don’t wash your car while the car is hot from driving or being in the sun
  • Wash your car in a shaded area with plenty of space around you to prevent wet spots from drying as you wash
  • Rinse your car before you being washing to remove excess dirt
  • Use two buckets of water – one for soapy water and one for rinsing your sponge
  • Likewise, use two separate sponges to wash the body of your car and the tires
  • To prevent swirl marks on your car, move lengthwise along the car gently with your sponge and rinse your sponge often
  • Wash the car from top to bottom in sections, rinsing before you move to the next section
  • Use gentle pressure to avoid damaging the paint
  • Wax the car after it has fully dried for extra protection and shine

While it’s a little more time and labor-intensive than going through a car wash, hand-washing your car is a nice way to take extra care of your car occasionally.

Maintain Your Electric Car with a Cleaning Routine

An easy way to keep your car clean is to stick to a routine. Think of cleaning your car as being similar to the way you’d clean your kitchen. To keep your kitchen clean, a good rule of thumb is to clean up surface areas weekly to prevent build-up and do a deep clean every once in a while to keep your kitchen tidy.

A similar method works when it comes to keeping your electric car clean. Try going through an automatic car wash regularly for a general clean and do a deep hand-wash every once in a while, to keep your car in top condition.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Jordan Fromholz

I'm an electric car owner, enthusiast, and founder of the Plugin Report. As a Chemical Engineer with over 14-years in the energy industry, I've made my passions be renewable energy, batteries, and electric cars. My family lives on Maui where we drive our 2017 Nissan Leaf and share everything there is to know about electric cars.

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