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Do you have your car washed by these Businesses? Or hand wash?

  • Yes, I allow Car Wash business to wash mine.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I wash my own by hand. (At home)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Take it to the coin-op to be washed by hand.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Take it to the coin-op to be washed by stand still automated washer.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Dont wash the poor thing at all.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to wash my car today and took it to one of the car washes that you have the business do. Select from their menu and let them have it.

I asked about the tunnel and how the car is pushed through the wash. I remember reading about the Prius can not be pushed, pulled, towed etc.

I asked the manager if I could slowly drive my car with one of his employees with me through the wash instead of allowing the floor track rollers to push the tires. He would not allow it. So I decided (along with remembering I had nothing to cover my vent) to leave and hand wash my car.

So my question is, does anyone know if it will harm the car if it is pushed by these automated rollers for the 75 to 100 feet of tunnel in order to get the car washed? If so obviously neutral is the selection. Do I leave the car running, or shut off in neutral? And of course COVER THE VENT.

The carwash manager says he has other customers who own Prius's and they brings them in all the time. They never told him about the vent and not getting water into it. He also was not aware of the car could not be towed. He said he sends them through engine off and in neutral. He told me obviously they have not read up on the car like I have. Made me feel like I was givng him a line of bull.

He did push the issue that he has never had any problems with the cars going in. I told him that there is about 280 volts worth of battery under that vent and Im sure in the long run it will take its toll on the cars.

I told him I wouldnt take the risk of not covering the vent. So I broke out "the book" and showed him I was not making things up.

Now the manager is worried the next time a Prius comes in and he will have to tell the customer what I showed/told him, and cover the vents with something for the customers or risk shooting water in a 280 volt system. He also said he did not realize the cars were "like this" and is now scared of the high voltage, and the towing issue, and may start rejecting any further Prius customers.

Sorry post is long but wanted to ask the question and relate what we had spoke about. Guess maybe to also say how some Prius owners are probably not even cracking their owners manual to be sure they are taking care of their car. Or they just dont care...
 

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Just be wary of power washers

I did some research about this well before I bought mine, as it
was important to me that the general experience with the car
should not be radically different than the last one. Plus there
is a local law at the garage and in Hoboken in general against
hand washing (plus the whole 'water restrictions' thing too).
There's no room for it either :p

I remember seeing posts about this here; The conclusion was that
there is special ducting between the vent and the battery that will
allow for some water to get in (otherwise rain would kill it).

I've had it washed once so far, and read the manual well beforehand.
The main warning that Toyota has about the vent is that a power washer
should not be pointed directly at it. Since the local car wash
here has pulled them out with the road salt everywhere, I made
certain that they followed this. Despite the rather curious looks
everything was quite fine. :)
 

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Car Wash

I take ours to a car wash. The only problem is with the front license plate. If they don't tape it, it gets bent. At first I had them tape the vent but not any more. The vent is for the 12 volt battery, not the big one. The big one is vented from the rear deck, behind the back seat.
 

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There's no problem running the car through the car wash tunnel in Neutral. It doesn't matter if the engine is running or not, except that you'll be much happier at the far end of the tunnel if the hybrid system is READY so you can immediately drive off to get out of the way of the car behind you. If the hybrid system is not READY, you need to put it in Park to start, and the car wash machine might keep pushing, putting stress on the machine and the car.

So follow the signs. Drive into the machine, don't touch the key, put it in neutral with the wheels straight, keep your hands off the wheel and your feet off the pedals. Put it in D and drive off when your mirror reaches the sign.

You probably want to unscrew and remove the antenna from the roof before entering to avoid it scratching your roof. Also, fold your mirrors in.

It's also my understanding that there's enough baffling and drainage in the HV battery vent ducting that it won't be hurt by the car wash. But its not a bad idea to cover it if you have the time and tape (something that won't pull up the paint). I've been through many times without tape and nothing obviously bad has happened yet.
 

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Re: Car Wash

dx2indfld said:
The vent is for the 12 volt battery, not the big one. The big one is vented from the rear deck, behind the back seat.
The vent is not for the 12V battery--these do not require venting on any car. The vent on the rear deck in the cabin is an intake for the 274V battery, and the vent on the outside of the rear driver's side door is its outlet. Air is drawn from the cabin, flows across the main battery, and blows out the side vent. There is a drain leading from the side vent down the rear quarter panel, so that if a little water gets into the outlet vent, it will flow down there and onto the ground. However, if you force water into the vent at the right angle and velocity, it could theoretically get past the drain junction and flow into the 274V battery.

Smitty said:
I told him that there is about 280 volts worth of battery under that vent and Im sure in the long run it will take its toll on the cars.
I don't think it's a "long run" issue. I think if you get water in there, something will short out, and you will see smoke and warning lights on the dash. IMHO, if you've gone through a car wash and these things did not happen, you have done no damage to your car, and you can probably use that car wash again. I think this is only a problem with hand-held power-washers with focused jet nozzles. I believe most car wash spray modules cannot get the right angle and the right force to cause problems.

Smitty said:
I remember reading about the Prius can not be pushed, pulled, towed etc.
There are some restrictions about the method of towing (IIRC, avoid hooking onto the suspension?), which is why we're all given special tow-hooks. However, car washes don't tow and don't pull on the suspension--they just roll the wheels. It's the same as if you put it in neutral on a hill and let off the brake.

The only thing I watch out for in "roll-through" car washes is the antenna. It takes 5 seconds to unscrew it. I know it can be a problem, because it catches on my garage door when in the "up" position, so I have reason to believe that a car wash sprayer arm could catch it and bend it or snap it off.
Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
 

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I took mine to a small local detail shop a few months ago, which the dealer's service department had recommended for getting a deep scratch out of the car's paint. They were excited to have the "honor" of working on my Prius. :) I just pointed out the vent to the owner and told him to avoid spraying into the vent during the usual "Wow, it's a hybrid!" discussion, and he said he would.
 

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There is only one automated, drive-thru carwash out here which does not let you ride your vehicle through. I didn't like how they treated my previous car, which isn't unique or special, there is no way I'm going to let them touch the Prius. On top of that I dislike the fact they use the twirling brush system. I only go through touchless washes.

I found one touchless which does a very nice job, you ride through and are in control of the vehicle at all times.

The general consensus is that drive-thrus are fine, but it is best if you can ride through so you know what is going on with the car. You just place it in neutral and let the tire rollers take you through. When you get to the end of the line you put in drive and drive out. Not hard at all.

I would be more concerned about the spinning brushes than the mechanism that pulls the vehicle through.
 

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I have always used "they drive" car washes, never ones with the spinning brushes, though, since they can damage the finish. With the new car, I've been using the excuse of being worried about sending it through to make the effort of washing it myself, but I've seen plenty of Prii go through the car washes without a problem. It's only a matter of time before laziness wins out for me, too...
 

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:idea: Howdy RSnyder (and all...) To prevent the necessity of removing the antenna at a carwash, I purchased a "shortie stub" antenna. You can find them on eBay and a Google search. Many 3" to 4" are listed. In my case, I found a 2" on eBay some months back (German Company). I have not noticed a degradation in reception with the short antenna. Here's a photo...

I do keep the original antenna aboard in case I want to change out for "cross country" driving.
 

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