Can You Take A Prius Through A Car Wash? (Explained)

Will the car’s electric system pick up faults? How about the battery? Will it be in harm’s way? These are all valid concerns when your Prius arrives at a car wash.

So many dangerous things could happen, ruining your car and your entire day. Here, you’ll learn how to move a Prius through a car wash safe.

You can take a Prius through a car wash. All you have to do is turn on the ignition and set the car on neutral. You ought to do this to prevent the wheels from locking. It would help to disengage the handbrake so the drag train could haul it along in the wash tunnel. 

Should You Take Your Car Through A Car Wash? 

Take A Prius Through A Car Wash

You might be considering taking your car through a car wash which will leave you questioning the drawbacks. The answer hinges on the type of car wash you’re going to.

Some professionals advise never to take your car through a car wash. They mention the likely damage done by coarse cleaning tools; these tools could harm your paint.

Several types of car washes raise different possible issues you cars can face. For automatic car washes, some vehicles can’t cope with it.

This challenge is specific to putting the car in neutral gear before pulling it through the brushes. The industry news site points out some models with this exact problem with the neutral setting. 

They recommend that owners of cars five years old or below require learning. This learning is on setting up the car for a drive through the car wash.

Some of these models of vehicles lack the facility for putting the car on neutral with the engine off. The only solution here is having a driver in the car and adjusting the car wash operation.

Since 2015, some hybrid cars have to be turned off to remain neutral. You must do that precisely so the machine can move the vehicle through the car wash.

Selected models need drivers to switch off the dynamic cruise control feature to get the car through properly. Other models need many controls to be shut off before entering the car wash. 

The controls for pre-collision braking, automatic wiper, and auto vehicle hold need to be put off individually.

The laser wash places don’t clean the cars and others; however, they are safer options. They shouldn’t be frequented, though, since they use tough chemicals for cleaning. 

The safest option is finding an expert detailer well-versed in the two bucket manner of car washing, with one bucket containing shampoo and another bucket with plain water.

Also need to know Why Are Toyota Prius So Expensive?

How Do You Put A Prius In Neutral In A Car Wash?

The wireless key has to be in the car to put your Prius in neutral. Hold down the power button. Doing this turns on the vehicle.

If the vehicle is stopped, press down the brake pedal and move the gear shift hold to the N point.

Hold it in that position for some seconds, and the signal light will show that the car is neutral. The vehicle will now roll easily, mimicking a mechanical vehicle in neutral.

The Prius, an electric car, does not have a transmission per se; it lacks a natural neutral. It’s also missing a clutch. Thus, it’s impossible to put the Prius in neutral if the wireless key is absent.

You likewise have to turn on the car using the power button. This mode is convenient for driving through a car wash that pulls the vehicle by its tires. 

Additionally, the Prius can’t be neutral when any of the 12 volts or the hybrid traction battery is dead.

That’s why when an inactivated Prius is being towed; the front wheels are elevated onto a wheeled towing dolly. 

In the Prius, both electric motor-generators and the gas engine are perpetually coupled to the front wheels. You achieve this through a group of differential gears referred to as a power split device.

One of the electric motor-generators is run backward by electronic means to achieve the reverse. The gas engine isn’t mandated to be running to ride the vehicle.

It is also regularly switched off automatically in usual driving when it is unneeded. The driver is oblivious to the gas engine is running or not.

The Prius’ electronic control system and the engine make a standard engine and transmission obsolete. Its reliability and suave efficiency are top class. 

Also Read: Are Toyota Prius Parts Expensive?

What Happens If Your Car Is Not In Neutral Car Wash?

It is necessary to have your car in neutral. When you don’t do this, your vehicle might not roll reliably with other cars in the cleaning cycle.

And this might cause collisions from cars coming in behind. In addition, if the vehicle is urged forward while in parking, the parking pawl might get damaged.

The bits from it damaging could further harm the transmission from driving the car.

Can You Pressure Wash A Prius Engine?

It is not advisable to pressure wash the engine of a Prius. The best thing to do is to fairly wipe and shower. Use Castrol Super Clean degreaser or anything similar. 

It is vital to clean the engine compartment of your Prius. If you don’t do this will affect dust and grime amassing and ultimately damage your parts. You should clean your engine once or twice annually.

The first step to cleaning your Prius engine is to safeguard the electrical components of the vehicle.

The following steps highlight this exercise:

  • Disconnect and take out the battery from your vehicle.
  • Remove the top motor covering of your Toyota Prius engine. The plastic housing is uncovered by loosening some screws. Thus permitting access to the entire engine of the car.
  • Shield all the electrical components with plastic film. These include the alternator, electrical wiring, and the fuse box.

With the engine ready for cleaning, now you’ll begin the process.

The following are the steps to wash the engine of your Toyota Prius:

  1. Drive around the car for about five minutes to warm up the engine. Doing this will make the grease runny and enable easy removal.
  2. You should use a powerful engine degreaser to shower tediously on all observable parts of the Prius engine. 
  3. Allow the degreaser to work for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Abstain from using a high-pressure cleaner; this might affect components of your engine. Use a garden hose and rinse with plenty of water.
  5. If you’re satisfied with the outcome, dry your engine using a compressor. If you find hints of grease anywhere, repeat the process until every stain disappears.
  6. You can keep your engine cleaner by spreading over a sheet of engine protection. This sheet will help avoid the collection of dirt on your vehicle’s engine.
  7. Now you can reconnect the battery, replace the engine crankcase and get on driving with a spotless engine.


You can take your vehicle through a car wash if you’re not worried about the paint changing color. Car washes use coarse chemicals and equipment to clean the vehicle; frequenting might fade your paint.

You can take a Prius through a car wash by putting on the ignition and setting the car on neutral. If your car is not in neutral at a car wash, other vehicles coming behind can collide with it.

It might also damage the parking pawl of your car.

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