Sunday, July 31, 2022

Beat The Squeak

About a year ago, I opened a service ticket with Tesla because my driver's side door squeaked every time I closed it.  Mobile service (which is great, by the way) came out and lubricated the weatherstripping. This fixed the problem, but fast-forward to July 1st and the squeak is back!

I could call Tesla service again, but what happens once the car is out of warranty?  Then I remembered a special product that was recommended to me some years ago to fix a sticky mini-van passenger door.  The product is Nextzett Gummi Pflege Stift (affiliate link).  Weird name because it's made in Germany but this stuff works!  The product has a built in applicator making it very easy to apply.

I applied to the weatherstripping of all doors, let it dry and voila, no more squeak!  This works great for any vehicle or any application the use rubber weatherstripping.

I will update this post when the squeaking returns, but I expect to be squeak-free for well over a year.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Make it Bead (Paint)

There is a lot of advice regarding paint protection, from sealers/waxes to paint protection film (PPF).  I just spent a lot of money on a vehicle and did want to spend thousands more on PPF, so I went the liquid chemical protection route.  I've since driven thousands of miles and am happy to report minimal wear to the paint.  Is it perfect?  No. Of course there are a couple of small dings, especially to the front bumper fa├žade, but I credit the protection scheme below with these results.


Pre-rinse with a pressure washer.  Make sure to use a top-down approach ending with the wheels and fender wells.

It is important to use the pressure washer properly.  Never go full blast with the strongest (highest PSI) nozzle directly at a panel (90-degree angle).  I usually use the white nozzle that produces a 40-degree stream, creating a fanned-out pattern of water that is safer that a direct, focused stream.

Wash tires with a good tire wash like Turtle Wax's Hybrid Solutions Pro All Wheel Cleaner + Iron Remover.  Let the cleaner sit for a minute and do its job lifting dirt, brake dust and other containments from tires and rims.  Agitate with a good tire brush like Mothers Wheel Brush and Tire Cleaner - use additional chemical if needed.

Pre-wash vehicle (minus wheels) with your pressure washer and a foam cannon like the Adam's (I generally find Adam's products to be of high quality, but you would probably do just as well with a less expensive model).  Snow foam will pull more dirt down and away, a gentle method for surface cleaning vehicle before washing.
PRO TIP: Clean the bottle and nozzle thoroughly to prevent clogging upon next use.

Rinse entire vehicle with pressure washer again.


Wash with a quality microfiber mitt such as this one from Chemical Guy's.  For shampoo, I like Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Pro Pure Wash .  These also work great for the pre-wash step.

Dry with a high-quality microfiber towel.  One towel should be enough to dry most vehicles.  I have tried several towels, but this microfiber drying towel has worked best for me.  Let the towel absorb the water by gently pulling it over each window and panel. 
PRO TIP:  No need to press hard or rub fast, that may cause fine scratches in the clearcoat so slow and steady is the way.

Decontaminate with a quality iron remover.  For this, again I like CARPRO's IronX Remover.  Follow the instructions on the bottle.
PRO TIP: This has a date sticker so make sure you check before use as it expires after 2 years.

Clay if needed with a light-to-medium clay bar unless you have heavy oxidation, then use a heavy-duty clay bar.  If you are following this regimen regularly, you should go light and even consider alternatives such as Mother's Speed Clay 2.0 (which is what I use).


Apply base application of wax.  I use Hybrid Solutions PRO To The Max Wax as a base coat of protection.  This should be done once per year but can be done more often (I apply in early spring since we typically have a harsh highly salted roads winter).  Again, just follow the instructions on the bottle.

Apply topper of choice.  While this isn't absolutely necessary in many cases, it will generally provide the best gloss, slickness, water repellency, and heat dissipation for increased UV protection.  I use Hybrid Solutions Pro Graphene Flex Wax (yes, I like the TurtleWax products).  
PRO TIP:  Reapply this topper throughout the season to maintain protection (and gloss, of course).


Add a tire shine as a final step in making your vehicle look great.  I use... you guessed it, Turtle Wax's Hybrid Solutions Graphene Acrylic Tire Shine Spray Coating.  I have not tested other products but can says this provides a longer lasting shine than the product I was using previously.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, I highly recommend several pro detailers on YouTube:  Apex Detail, Pan The Organizer, and ESOTERIC.

Do not forget to check out my other articles on windshield and interior cleaning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Make it Bead (Windshield)

I thought my Windshield was clean.  But when I changed wipers to new, high-quality wipers (Michelin), they quacked more than a happy duck. Turns out, there's a reason for that.  You see, Tesla coats the glass, then the wipers remove the top coat, leaving the underlying adhesive and chemical gunk behind.  This causes rain to sheet (not bead) and wipers to streak and squeal.

How to fix?  Here's what worked for me:

  1. Prep the glass.  You can lightly polish the windscreen and remove contaminants with one of the following:
    1. CarPro Ceriglass Kit
    2. Griot's Garage Glass Cleaning Clay and Speed Shine
    3. Chemical Guys Heavy Duty Clay Bar and Luber (what I use)
  2. Clean the glass.  Clean the windows with an alcohol based cleaner such as Griot's Garage Window Cleaner to remove any residue. Polish/dry with a waffle weave towel.  I suggest doing this twice to make sure the window is as clean as possible before moving to the next step.
  3. Seal the glass.  This will ultimate make that water bead.  Use a good sealer such as Griot's Garage Sealant with a microfiber towel.  Here is the procedure:
    1. Apply a liberal amount of Griot's sealant to a clean microfiber towel and wipe it horizontally across the windshield until the whole windshield is covered. 
    2. Immediately apply a little more sealant to your towel and apply a second coat vertically to the entire windshield (you are cross hatching). 
    3. Let the product dry for 5-20 minutes. 
    4. Once the product is dry, apply a second application in the exact same manner you did the first (cross hatching). 
    5. Let the product dry 5-10 minutes.
    6. Buff off the hazed sealant with a clean microfiber cloth.  If you are having problems buffing the sealant, lightly dampen your towel and it will make the buffing process much easier.
That's it!  If the previous steps were completed correctly, you may not have to use the wipers for most rain - it should bead and roll right off.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone....

Friday, January 31, 2020

Get Your Motor Runnin'....

Head out on the highway!
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever come our way!

If you use this tip, you are born to be wild.  Do not do this on public streets - only for track, large empty parking lots or dyno-testing.  This will disable safety features and make the car more difficult to drive.

Here is how you disable traction control:
Car must be in park
Hold left stalk down
Press and hold the Tesla logo for several seconds (will blink)
Access code: dynotest
Let go of left stalk.

Here is how to re-enable it:
Go into the car menu
Safety & Security
Power Off

I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder!
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Tesla Model 3 Winter Season Tips

This is my first winter with the Model 3 so I compiled a list of tips that might help you as much as they're helping me.  Note that this vehicle is very capable in the winter, however, if you follow the tips below you'll have a better experience overall.
  1. Winter Tires
    Winter tires provide better traction for snowy conditions, period.  Depending on where you live you might be able to get away with all-season tires, but they won't perform as well especially in extreme conditions.
  2. Fold Mirrors Out
    Change settings to stop mirrors from automatically folding in.  If your M3 stays outside in nasty freezing weather for any length of time, they may get stuck and not fold back out.
  3. Chill Mode
    Chill mode will help prevent the car from spinning out when on slick roads.
  4. Set Regen Mode To Low
    Per the owner's manual:  In snowy or icy conditions Model 3 may experience traction loss during regenerative braking, particularly when in the Standard setting and/or not using winter tires. Tesla recommends using the Low setting in snowy or icy conditions to help maintain vehicle stability.
  5. Turn Off Auto Wipers
  6. Rear Defrost Will Defrost Mirrors
  7. Use Tesla Mobile App To Precondition Cabin
    Per the owner's manual:  It is possible that your charge port latch may freeze in place in extremely cold weather or icy conditions. In cases where you cannot remove or insert the charge cable, or the car is not Supercharging due to the latch being frozen in place, use your Tesla mobile app to precondition your vehicle on HI for approximately 30-45 minutes (you must use your mobile app to precondition the vehicle; setting your climate to HI using the touchscreen will not be effective). This helps thaw ice on the charge port latch so the charge cable can be removed or inserted.
  8. Put Rear Seat Down
    If you're like me, your TM3 lives outside.  In this case, putting the rear seat down before leaving it sit for the night will allow warm air to enter the trunk area and help keep your charging port door from getting stuck from ice build-up.
  9. Heat The Steering Wheel
    djust air flow such hat its point to your steering wheel.  While not the same as a heated steering wheel, this will help make sure it isn't freezing cold when you begin your drive.
  10. De-Icer Windshield Washer Fluid -
    Tesla does not recommend using any windshield washer fluid that contains bug wash as they can cause streaking or smearing.  This Prestone wash is safe for rain-sensing windshield wipers.
  11. True Temper Scratch Free Brush
    Wipe off snow without scratching your paint.
  12. Rubber Seal Lubricant -
    Keep doors from sticking.
  13. Charging Tip
    Plug in immediately after arriving home (battery is still warm, will charge more efficiently).  Only charge to 80%,  change to 85-90% and turn on climate control an hour or two before leaving - this will also cause the battery to get heated to optimum levels before driving, the cabin with be nice and toasty and in most cases your windows will be defrosted and handles won't be stuck.
  14. Use Seat Heaters
    The seat heaters are more efficient that the heating system.  I rarely turn off the system completely, usually just turn it down to mid 60's.  Some owners use seat heaters only, but then they're also wearing hats and gloves to keep warm.  Whichever method you choose to will depend on personal preference and how much efficiency you want to add overall.
  15. TPMS Warnings
    I had this happen to me on one particularly frigid morning.  The warning was for the front driver's side tire.  Visually, the tire looked fine.  I took no action and by mid-day the warning disappeared and tire pressure was fine.
  16. Use Navigation For Trips
  17. Remove Snow And Ice From Cameras
  18. Mud Flaps -
    Protect the paint on the bottom of your car.  I installed these on my M3 and haven't noticed any reduction in range.
You can also find more recommendations straight from Tesla here:

I will update this article as I discover more tips so check back occasionally for more information.
Have a great winter and stay safe!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Welcome to Tech and Torque (or TnT)

I began my driving career with Mustangs.  I've owned several four cylinder variants and an eight cylinder 5.0 Fox-body LX convertible.  My father worked for a local Ford dealership and was a Ford man growing up.  I was always fascinated with Mustangs. I had a friend in high school that bought a Mach I - that thing made me feel like I was sitting in the cockpit of a rocket ship.  The way my buddy drove it, we're both lucky to still be alive.  I love Mustangs to this day.  Several models/trims are on my "if I win the lottery this is what I'm spending it on" list including Mach I and Boss 302 along with the AC Cobra, of course.

I loved my 5.0 but after my first child, it was time to get something a little more practical, so I traded in the Stang for a 2008 Scion xB.  That was a great little car.  No timing chain to worry about, just standard oil-tires-brakes maintenance.  Outside appearance was misleading.  Everyone that sat in it was surprised at the amount of interior space it had.  I'm 6.2, so yeah, it had to have the headroom and space to fit my long torso.

I had a different friend in high school whose dad bought him a two door Wrangler and wow, was that fun to drive!  Upon taking a new job in 2013, I noticed a co-worker had a Wrangler JKU which took me back to my high school days.  I got bit by the bug - fast forward to 2015 and boom!  I'm trading in my xB for a 2013 Jeep Wrangler JKU.

I loved that Jeep.  Now, I'm not a mechanic. I think I'm pretty handy around the house, but wrenchin' ain't my thing.  However, one of my goals was to challenge myself and try to upgrade the suspension and other components myself.  Not only would this save me hundreds in labor costs, it would provide the satisfaction of accomplishment.

You know the saying - be careful, you might get what you asked for!  It took me an entire weekend (literally two 10-hour days) to get the new suspension (Metalcloak 3.5" lift) installed.  It was all about overcoming the various obstacles that I hit along the way (I now own a propane torch(!), for example).  But in the end I did the work and it came out great.  Road manners were great for a lifted Wrangler and can highly recommend the Metalcloak kits.  But I'll never do that again.

I kept a spreadsheet of all the mods and aftermarket parts which added up to over $8000 before I sold it.  I had a to-do list of over $3000 in updates yet to be done.  Did you know JEEP is an acronym for Just Empty Every Pocket?  It is true.  This is the blessing and the curse for Wrangler owners - their vehicle has more aftermarket options than any other vehicle on the market.

I enjoyed driving and updating the Wrangler for roughly four years, but started thinking about a number of factors:
  • I didn't really go off-road that often, once or twice a year and then only lighter trails (local Jeep Jam event with light-to-moderate difficulty trails)
  • Additional costs for yet more upgrades (JEEP)
  • Additional maintenance costs that were going to occur soon
  • Wrangler's high MPG (15-16MPG, which is actually good for a lifted Jeep)
  • Time suck = I was constantly doing something with the Jeep, changing tops, fixing something, adding another mod of some kind, etc.)
  • Wranglers hold their value very well and consequently, by 2019 I had built up quite a bit of equity
  • I drive a lot for work, covering a number of customers throughout the mid-west.  Flying isn't worth the time or hassle most of the time so I typically rented vehicles.  And you never know exactly what your getting - most vehicles are okay but there's the occasional back-breaking, high-MPG turd on four wheels that sucks the life out of you.
So with these things in mind, I decided to consider selling or trading in the Jeep for something a little more practical that I could drive anywhere (well, maybe not off-road).

Being in the technology business, I knew about Elon Mush and his sale of PayPal to eBay.  When I learned he was going to build EVs with Tesla, it peaked my interest and I started followed the company around 2008/9 including watching the Model S reveal in 2011.  I never considered a Model S -  a little outside of my budget - but was fascinated with the technology that was put into those cars.  This kept my interest in Tesla alive.  Tesla began taking reservations for the Model 3 in March 2016.  I didn't put money down on a reservation because I was afraid the $35,000 trim was going to be too basic for me (and I was right, but more on that later).

Tesla starting selling the Model 3 to employees in July of 2017.  I admit that when I first saw it, I was not impressed.  I thought it looked boring and lacked styling.  So I started looking at the used Model S market.  It had been out for around 5 years by this time, and used 2012-13's were starting to fall within range of something I could afford.  By December of 2017, I had worked with a Tesla Owner Adviser (OA) to find a used 2012 CPO Model S for $28,900.  I had loan approval and could have pulled the trigger but emotionally, I was not ready to sell the Jeep.

There were other reasons - for example, it lacked Autopilot.  While it's still a great car with great tech (it's November of 2019 as I'm writing this and no other manufacturer has yet to match a 2012 Model S in safety and tech), but it didn't have the latest tech from Tesla.  Around this time I had also read some great buying advice:
  1. Purchase an EV with the biggest battery you can afford (provides more range)
  2. Purchase the newest EV you can afford (provides best technology available).
Tesla is constantly updating their vehicles.  For example, Mr. Elon just announced via Twitter that Model 3's made after September of 2019 have improvements that reduce interior noise levels.  So I decided to pass on the 2012 Model S and keep shopping for a newer Tesla.

It's now June of 2019 and guess what?  There are used Model 3's on the market that kinda, sorta approach striking distance of my budget.  I reviewed listings on Tesla CPO website, CarGurus, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace several times a week.  I zeroed in on a Model 3 listing from an owner close by.  After several texts, I drove the family up to the neighboring city to test drive it.  I love it, family loves it, done deal, trigger pulled.

The buying process was not smooth, in part because my banked botched it up twice and it didn't help that the purchase was from a private seller.  What a P.I.A!  It took me over a month to get registration and then Tesla another couple of weeks to get ownership transferred.  Finally, it's mine.  Pics below to prove it.

I will be sharing more information in this blog on my experience.  I will be keeping the content as unique as possible - don't expect constant news updates or simply a "link page".  But if you're a Model 3 owner of just a Tesla fanboy, you'll find information here that is relevant and interesting.  Stay tuned!