Prius And Car Washes

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by jyl, May 7, 2007.

  1. jyl

    jyl New Member

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    Location:
    Portland
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    I took the Prius to one of those drive through car washes, where you stay in the car as it travels through the tunnel being sprayed with sudsy water, squeezed through rotating brushes, drenched with rinsing water, blown dry, and you're done.

    The way these things work is, you drive the front left wheel into a channel, where there are moving rollers. There's a long series of rollers, like the treads in an escalator, the nearest one bumps up against the backside of the front left tire and pushes your car along. The car has to be in neutral, so that it will roll.

    So, I am in the tunnel, windows completely obscured by suds, when I suddenly think "I should shut off the car, so the engine doesn't swallow this water". So I hit the Power button. Without thinking about the differences between the Prius and a normal car.

    This was a Bad Idea. The car stopped moving and lurched, as the roller passed under the left front tire. I realized what I'd done, and hit the Power button again. No work. I stepped on the brake and hit the Power button. The car is still stationary and lurching. I stepped on the brake again and shifted to neutral. Finally the car starts moving again and goes through the rest of the car wash without incident.

    When I came to the end of the tunnel, I noticed that a pickup truck had followed me into the car wash. If my moment of confused button-stomping had lasted longer, I wonder if the rollers would have carried the truck into my rear bumper?

    Anyway, the moral of the story is, leave your Prius "running" in an automatic car wash, rather than "shutting the engine off" as you would in a normal car. I suppose you have to count on the ICE not starting up, but I don't know why it would.

    P.S. Why did I go to an automatic car wash? Because I wanted to surprise the kids - they sure enjoyed it.
     
  2. tacomel

    tacomel New Member

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    Just leave the car in neutral. The ICE may or may not come on through the car's journey. I have never experienced a problem with "sucking in water" and would in fact wonder, if this was a problem, how safe it would then be to drive the Prius in a rainstorm.

    Personally I hit EV mode when entering, and turn off the A/C. It emerges from the other end at or near the same SOC as when I entered, not hurting the mileage too much.
     
  3. geekforums

    geekforums New Member

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    Those were the days... I remember going through carwashs when I was little... Now I get nervous as hell, hoping the carwash does not hurt my baby... I only use the carwash usually as a touch up followed by quick detailer by mothers... And I only use touchless carwashs... I wash by hand once a week and try to wax every other week...
     
  4. prius2006rocks

    prius2006rocks New Member

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    Location:
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    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    How would the engine swallow the water? And in "normal" cars we always left the car in neutral in the automatic car wash and never "shut the engine off"... Prius isn't different in this respect as you said.
    ___________________

    So, I am in the tunnel, windows completely obscured by suds, when I suddenly think "I should shut off the car, so the engine doesn't swallow this water". So I hit the Power button. Without thinking about the differences between the Prius and a normal car.


    Anyway, the moral of the story is, leave your Prius "running" in an automatic car wash, rather than "shutting the engine off" as you would in a normal car. I suppose you have to count on the ICE not starting up, but I don't know why it would.
     
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