Buying your first electric car is a significant financial decision, and naturally, you may be a little concerned about proper maintenance to extend its lifespan. One of the common concerns new electric car owners have is that taking their car through a car wash could potentially damage the car’s electrical components. So, can you put your EV through a car wash?
It’s entirely safe to take your electric car through a regular carwash. Most of the sensitive electrical components and batteries in electric vehicles are sealed, insulated, and water-tight to prevent water seepage and minimize the risk of water damage.
This article will investigate this common concern, explaining in detail why it is entirely safe to take your electric car through a carwash. Read on for more.
- Safety Precautions in Electrical Cars to Prevent Water Damage
- How To Prep Your Electric Car Before Taking It Through a Wash Tunnel
- Washing Your Electric Car Is Not Any Different From Washing a Traditional Car
- EV Speedy’s Take
Safety Precautions in Electrical Cars to Prevent Water Damage
There are two main concerns related to driving your car through wet, rainy, or flooded conditions. These concerns also apply when you take your electric vehicle through a car wash and are as follows:
- The risk of electrocution when electrical components come in contact with water
- The risk of damage to electrical components due to water seepage
These concerns are discussed below:
Risk of Electrocution
Unlike regular cars, electric cars have a unique safety hazard related to high-power electrical equipment. As explained by P. Van den Bossche in his article, Safety Considerations for Electric Vehicles, the presence of battery chemicals and high voltages in the vehicle present risks that warrant proper inquiry.
As further reiterated by Van den Bossche, sufficient insulation is required, with insulation options such as coatings, enamel, and varnish considered insufficient. Accordingly, If you take your electric car through a car wash or even through rainy or flooded conditions, there’s minimal risk of electrical shocks due to this insulation.
In the same breath, these international standards also explicitly prohibit removing protective devices on bonnets, lids, and doors, which would otherwise permit access to live electrical equipment. Accordingly, unless you tamper with these protective devices, you’ll be completely safe from electrical shocks when you take your car through the water.
Electric manufacturers are also alive to the risk posed by spurious connections and faults and have taken several protective actions, as discussed below.
Built-In Protections Against Faulty Wiring
The international standardization committee insists on several safeguards to prevent faults that may result in electrocutions:
- Always place the fuse inside the battery pack.
- The vehicle frame should not be in contact with the traction circuit or the electrical power circuit.
- All conductive parts of the car must be connected with an equipotential connection.
- Routine maintenance should involve frame fault leakage detection for sufficient monitoring.
With these safeguards in place, the car owner is sufficiently protected against electrocution when the car comes in contact with water.
If you’re interested, you can read a similar article that I wrote called: “Why Do You Have To Handwash A Tesla?“. I gave away some pro tips and it’s very detailed. Have a look!
Risk of Damage to Electrical Components
The NFPA explains that electric vehicles are designed to be completely safe even when fully submerged in water. However, it concedes that full submersion may potentially damage low and high-voltage components. Does this mean that taking your EV through a car wash could possibly damage its electrical components?
The answer is no; you don’t have to worry about damaging your car’s electrical components when taking your vehicle through a carwash. As explained by Hyundai, all components inside your vehicle are sealed and protected against any moisture penetration.
Thus, your car is completely safe even in the pouring rain, let alone a few splashes at the carwash. But what about the charging system?
Hyundai notes that the charging connections in an electric vehicle are designed to only work when no water can be detected.
As such, there’s minimal to no risk to your car’s critical electronic components when you decide to take your vehicle through a carwash.
If you still have some reservations, remember that electric vehicles undergo rigorous tests before they become available in the market. One of these tests is the soak test, where the car is placed in rainfall flood levels to assess possible leaks that could damage the vehicle.
These tests ensure that all the electrical components are well insulated and protected to prevent water seepage, making it safe to take your car to the wash worry-free.
This protected housing also protects you against electrocution when you take your car through a car wash.
How To Prep Your Electric Car Before Taking It Through a Wash Tunnel
One of the common questions among electric car owners is how best to prep their car before going through a wash tunnel to minimize damage or electrocution risks. Fortunately, your electric car is designed to be completely safe for passage in wash tunnels, thus these tips are somewhat routine.
Below are a few of the tips to follow when taking your car through a wash tunnel:
- Roll up your windows, lock the doors and retract the antenna before starting the washing process.
- Turn off automatic functions such as windshield wipers because they can activate after sensing water.
- Don’t turn your ignition off when inside the wash tunnel; keep it on as it’s completely safe.
- Ensure you have sufficient battery power, so your car doesn’t turn off while still at the tunnel.
- Shift the car gear to neutral to prevent locking once the car is in the wash tunnel.
For further guidance, you may find the following video quite helpful:
Washing Your Electric Car Is Not Any Different From Washing a Traditional Car
First, it’s crucial to distinguish the differences between electric cars and non-electrical cars. While owners of traditional cars have no qualms about taking their vehicles through a wash tunnel, things are different with electric car owners. A UK survey found that one in five drivers believe they can’t take their electric car to a car wash.
There’s no difference between washing your electric car and your traditional car. Both models have sufficient safeguards in place to protect any sensitive components — electric or otherwise, against water damage due to seepage.
The table above shows that the main differences between an electric car and a traditional car lie in how both cars are powered. Both vehicles, however, have critical components that could get damaged by water seepage.
EV Speedy’s Take
Like electric cars, traditional cars undergo rigorous testing to ensure that these critical components remain protected. Therefore, you needn’t be more concerned about taking your electric car through a wash tunnel than you would a traditional car.
After all, if it were that bad, you would not be able to drive your electric car through rainy conditions.
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