I’ve gotten a lot of questions on what products I use to clean my Model 3, and what my recommendations are for things like a spare tire. Basically, how I care for my car, so I thought it would be good to compile a few ideas and suggestions into one video.
You might be asking yourself, “Is he really going to tell us how to wash a car?” Sort of. Before you jump into the comments and tell me I’m doing it wrong or using the wrong product, I’m not presenting this as the definitive way to clean you car. But these are products I hadn’t used until a year or two ago and wish I had known about them earlier. They’ve come in very handy.
Living in the northeast of the United States, I have to deal with cold, miserable, dirty winters. For a lot of people, you can only wash your car when the temperature warms up enough to not instantly freeze, which means there may be long stretches in the winter that you have to go with a pretty dirty car. Either that, or pay a lot of money for a detailer to do it for you.
I have a very tiny house with an even tinnier garage that doesn’t have drainage in the floor or a lot of room to maneuver around the car. Well, Ben Sullins Teslanomics channel had a video covering his experience having Elite Finish Detailing in San Diego ceramic coat his car. They have an interesting product called Washmist that requires next to no water and actually gets your car pretty clean. Best part is that all you need is a spray bottle and some microfiber cloths and you’re good to go.
You need to clean your car one section at a time. To start, fold your microfiber cloth into quarters and hold it by the crease. Spray a light coating on the small section you’re going to work on and let it sit for a few seconds. Then without applying any real pressure to the cloth, just drag it along the surface. This will lift the majority of dirt and debris off the surface without scratching the car. And yes, I’ve done this to my previous car and my Model 3 quite a few times and haven’t had any scratches.
If the surface looks clear, then do an even lighter spritz, barely anything, refold the cloth to get a clean quarter and then wipe along the surface again. This time though you can apply some light pressure. This is essentially the final buffing of the section. Repeat this process section by section, ending with the wheels.
I was pretty surprised how well this got my car clean. It doesn’t require any rinsing. And you’re talking about using less than a liter of water for a complete car wash. It also has a sealant as part of the mix, so the final surface is very smooth, glossy, and helps to repel water and dirt for a few weeks until it wears off.
I’m able to wash my entire car in about 15 minutes in my tiny garage in the middle of winter. For those times where the weather is nicer, I’ll pull out the big guns and use the bucket method with something like Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine. This uses more water, but allows you to use more intensive cleaning methods, like brushes, to get into the nooks and crannies of the wheels and underside of the car.
Both work really well, use far less water than automatic car washes or do it yourself car wash bays, and also save you money too. 16oz of Washmist costs $25, and it takes 1oz mixed with 15oz of water per spray bottle. I’ve been able to wash my car with roughly 1 1/2 spray bottles, which means it costs me about $2.50 for each wash. Elite Finish sells kits that include spray bottles, microfiber cloths, and the mix too. So depending on what you need, they’ve got your covered. They aren’t the only company with a product like this, so shop around, but I wanted to show how well this style of cleaning works because it’s a great way to clean your car in a more ecologically friendly way.
And side note, Washmist does a great job cleaning the inside and outside of the windows too. It’s also great for spot cleaning those random bird bombs you may encounter from time to time.
Wheel rim protectors
I … I’m ashamed to admit this, but in the past I’ve suffered from … curb rash.
And don’t deny it, I know you have too. We all have at some point gotten just a little too close to the curb when parking or pulling up , but it may not cover it up completely. Well, there’s a product that can help with those low speed brush ups against the curb.
Evannex was kind enough to send me this Wheel Bands Kit for the Tesla Model 3 to check out. Installing the kit takes just a little bit of time. It took me about 7-8 minutes per wheel to get everything applied.
To start out you should clean your wheels to get as much of the dirt and grime off the rims, then use the provided alcohol wipes to remove the last remaining contaminants.
The kit comes in a variety of colors. There’s a track that you lay down first, followed by a colored tubing that is inset into the track. You can mix and match the colors, but I chose a black track with black insert because I thought it would match and look the best with the uncovered Aero wheel rims.
The track comes in a long coil that can be a little unwieldy to deal with, so I’d recommend cutting it to a rough length before applying. Start by removing a few inches of the adhesive backing paper and then just press into place along the edge of the rim. Try your best to keep a consistent placement around the entire wheel as you go. At the end, just cut to make a precise fit and you can move on to the tubing insert.
Same deal with this part of the process. Rough cut the tube to length and then snap into place within the track. You should offset the tubing cut on the opposite side of the track cut, which helps with the final appearance and structure.
Wash, rinse, and repeat for each wheel and you’re done. I’m actually pretty surprised how well these look in person. With the all black on the Aero wheel rims they blend in, however, if you wanted to add a little pop, you could choose a red insert, or silver. They have several options for the colors.
These should do a decent job of protecting you from those slow motion curb crashes. All you have to do it remove the damaged protector and reapply a new one, or if you already have a minor scrape these can help mask them. Check out Evannex for more details on the options available.
Recommend tire repair kit
And sticking with the tires, we need to address the elephant in the room. The Model 3 doesn’t include a spare tire in the trunk, so if you get a flat, your only option is to call road assistance. Well, thankfully there are some products on the market to help give you a temporary patch on your tire, which can help you drive the car to a repair shop yourself and avoid waiting for a tow truck.
The trickiest part of selecting a tire repair kit is to make sure it’s approved for use on tires that have tire pressure sensors. Tesla sells its own tire repair kit that works with all of their cars. It contains a built in tire pump that you can use to top off your tire pressure at any time by using the bottom black hose, as well as a sealant canister to patch punctures. To repair a puncture all you have to do is attach the top clear hose to the tire, and plug the tire pump to the car’s 12 volt outlet. There’s a built in sensor in the compressor that will check to make sure there’s a secure seal before dispensing the sealant. A nice add-on compared to some of the other kits I’ve seen, which can be messy.
The kit is rated to give you a maximum of 186 miles or 300 km on the repaired tire, which should be more than enough to get your car somewhere for a permanent fix or a replacement. The one downside that I see to this kit is the price. It’s $80, which is on the more expensive side of things, but you are getting an automatic tire pump as part of the kit. A decent automatic tire pump will cost you around $50, and you could go with another sealant like Fix a Flat for about $10. For me I thought the Tesla kit was worth the few extra bucks to keep tucked away in my trunk for emergencies.
And somewhat related to this is if you need to jack your car up. Let’s say you bought a spare tire for your Tesla, or want to change tires yourself at home. Be aware that there are four specific jack points under the car. If you don’t use the proper placement, you can damage the battery … which is obviously something you don’t want to do. You’ll notice that those jack points have recessed holes, which are meant for the use of jack pads that protect the car from damage and scratches. They also secure the car to the jack itself. You can buy your own jackpads from someone like Reverse Logic, which are a good quality jackpad. I bought myself a set and leave them in my trunk just in case I need to go to a non-Tesla service center for any reason. I can give them the jackpads to use … just in case. And they’ll come in handy for myself because I’m planning on changing out my own tires down the road.
So hopefully this answers a few questions I know some of you have had, and as always, don’t look at these items as the definitive solution that’s right for everyone. This is what I’ve found to work really well for myself, and when it comes to things like Washmist, I wish I had known about that type of product sooner. It’s been great, and another way I’m trying to be ecologically conscious and be more responsible with my water usage. And a special thank you to Evannex for sending me the RimPro-Tec wheel bands. Links to everything are in the description below.