Tesla 'Car Wash Mode' and Everything it Does

By Nuno Cristovao
Tesla has a Car Wash Mode
Tesla's Car Wash Mode
Not a Tesla App

One of Tesla’s latest features included in the 2021.24.4 release is Car Wash Mode. The feature was initially available for all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles and it has more recently been added to the redesigned Model S and Model X. Unfortunately, it’s not available for the older Model S or Model X models.

For the most part, this feature doesn't add anything new. You could already turn off most of these car wash related features manually, but using Car Wash Mode makes it much easier. It also provides a useful status of each feature that is relevant during a car wash so that you can use it as a checklist.

Car Wash Mode can help prevent damage to cars for many owners when using automatic car washes. For example, it’ll lock your charge port door to prevent it from opening when a brush pushes against it. It also disables your wipers, preventing them from coming on and getting tangled or caught in a car wash’s felt strips.

After arriving at a car wash, you can enable Car Wash Mode by going to Car Controls > Service > Car Wash Mode. The car will immediately perform a variety of things for you to get your car ready.

Your vehicle will automatically close your windows and other things to prevent water from getting into the car. This includes the charge port, windows and if your car is equipped with an automatic trunk, it’ll close the trunk for you as well.

It does quite a bit more than just close your windows for you though. It’ll disable your wipers, lock the charge port door, turn off Sentry Mode, disable walk-away door locking and even disable the parking sensor chimes to prevent unwanted beeping during the car wash.

For automatic car washes that use conveyor belts, you will need to put your Tesla into neutral. Now, if you’ve never done that before, it’s not very obvious how to do it in a Tesla.

It requires you to have your foot on the brake pedal while pushing the gear stalk up or down and holding it for a second. Car Wash Mode now makes it very easy to get your car into Neutral. There’s an “Enable Free Roll” button that you can easily tap in Car Wash Mode. You'll need to be in drive and have your foot on the brake pedal for the button to be enabled. No need to mess with the gear stalk anymore.

One of the nicest features of Car Wash Mode is the great overview it gives you of your car and all of its features that are relevant during an automatic car wash.

It’ll display a list of each feature and give you a red or green status light to alert you of any issues. For example, if you left your trunk open, it would show a red light and display “Trunk: Open.”

It’s sort of a car wash checklist with a live status for each feature. It’ll even show you the status of the climate system, which you likely want to turn off or set to recirculating while in the car wash.

On the Car Wash Mode screen, you also have easy access to Screen Clean Mode and the ability to fold your mirrors if needed.

You can exit Car Wash Mode by tapping the exit button or simply by putting your car into Drive and going above 10 MPH.

Car Wash Mode is a nice addition that certainly doesn’t do anything you couldn’t do before, but it sure makes it easier and more enjoyable.

A Closer Look at Tesla's Ambient Lighting Feature in the New Model 3 and Cybertruck [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3

If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.

Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.

Supported Models

Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.

The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.


Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3

The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.

You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.

While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.

It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.

Future Enhancements

With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.

Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.

Ambient Lighting in Action

While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.

Tesla Model 3 'Highland' Performance Details Discovered in European Documents

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades

Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.

Deciphering the 'T'

A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X

Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.

This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!

This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.

Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.

Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades

Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.

Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Latest Tesla Update

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


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