Can I take my EV to a carwash?

Can I take my EV to a carwash?

Editor Wakesho
EV in a cash wash. Photo/courtesy

Electricity and water can be a dangerous when mixed, which is why it may seem logical to think that a car powered by electricity shouldn’t be taken anywhere near jet washers or hoses.

The electrical connection sockets in EVs have multiple levels of waterproofing so that you can plug in the car when it’s raining or snowing, and leave it plugged in, perfectly safely. However, try to avoid getting water directly on the contact pins of the cable or socket.

Before electric vehicles are sold, they are heavily tested by both manufacturers and type-approval agencies. One of the tests that manufacturers conduct is the 'soak test', where cars are subjected to near-flood levels of rain in order to check for potential leaks.

Electric vehicles go through the same tests before they are passed on to buyers, and as such they are just as watertight and safe as any petrol or diesel car in a car wash. This also means electric cars can be driven safely in heavy rain.

You might be asking yourself if its okay to plug in your EV when it is raining, yes, you can however you need to take some simple precautions you would with any item of electrical equipment. That means avoiding rain dropping straight into the end of the connecting cable or the charging port. Dedicated domestic and public car charging points, and the car’s plug connection are all designed to be weatherproof, so it’s perfectly safe to leave your car charging in the rain.

Besides, all-electric vehicles go through the same rigorous tests done by both manufacturers and government regulatory agencies, as any petrol or diesel engine vehicles, before they get approval to be sold commercially. One of these tests is called the soak test where vehicles are subjected to intense ‘rain’ and ‘flood’ simulation in the lab to check for potential leaks and to ensure that systems are watertight and safe.

Tips to consider before you take EVs and also ICE to the car wash

i) Make sure your electric car has enough battery power before pulling into a car wash so that the electric motor can be used during the wash.

ii) Make sure that the automatic functions such as windscreen wipers are disabled.

iii) If going through a car wash tunnel, your EV’s ignition must be turned on, the engine in neutral, and the emergency brake disabled. This is so that the drag train can pull on it in the car wash tunnel.

iv) Make sure to fold your side mirrors, antenna removed  and other protruding elements (such as a bike rack, roof racks, etc.) are removed to avoid damage to these exterior accessories and ensure thorough cleaning of your car.

v) Always double check that all car windows, sunroof, and doors are properly closed to prevent water from seeping inside the car.

vi) If going through a rollover and jet wash type systems, it is recommended that you switch off your engine and engage your emergency brake.

vii) Evaluate the car wash before committing to it. If It looks clean and modern outside, chances are, the systems inside are kept in proper maintenance too and that the facility takes their cleaning business seriously.

viii) Be choosy when paying for extra services. The spray-on wax and buffing are great but not essential in terms of keeping your car clean so do those sparingly. Same with the undercarriage cleaning which is recommended to be undertaken only a couple of times a year.