Updated: Jul 30, 2022
Immaculate Paint Protection helps new car owners protect their future classic cars, so they look awesome and stay looking new for years to come.
Many of our clients drive Teslas, and we reached out to the Tesla Owners Club of Pennsylvania (TOPCA) to work together on events. Recently, I talked with Jon Shevelew, founding member of the club, to dispel some myths about Teslas.
Jon is very knowledgeable about this topic because TOCPA’s main mission is educating Tesla owners. Last year alone, hundreds of Tesla owners attended the club’s virtual classes, from all over the country, and every day Jon and his team field questions about Teslas from owners.
At Immaculate Paint Protection, we direct Tesla owners to the club because we experienced first-hand all the valuable information and training they provide. We feel that Tesla owners who are not in the club are missing out on the complete Tesla experience.
Here are the top Tesla myths—busted by Jon.
Myth: Teslas are simple to drive. They literally drive themselves!
Jon: Teslas are not autonomous. They offer driver-assistance features. You cannot abdicate your responsibly as the automobile operator to your Tesla.
However this is a pervasive myth. Many people believe that when you drive a Tesla, you set your destination, put your seat back, and take a nap. You could possibly have done that with Tesla’s first version of autopilot, AP1, which had very little requirement for the driver to interact with the car. Today, however, that’s impossible. If the Tesla doesn’t sense your hands on the wheel, it will alert you that steering is required. If you don’t move the wheel, the car will warn you to take control, and you will not be able to use the driver assist functions for the rest of your drive.
Myth: My Tesla is pretty much the same as any other car.
Jon: Actually, many features make Teslas unique. For example, they are much quieter than gas-powered vehicles. When you drive a Tesla, you’ll become aware of all of the other noises that your gas engine drowned out, such as wind nose, tire noise, and other passenger noise.
Another example is Teslas don’t have keys. When you pick up your new Tesla, you get two key cards, which you use to set up your phone. Most people stick their key cards in their wallets and forget about them because after that, your phone is your key.
After setup, your Tesla is linked to your phone, and when you approach your vehicle, it automatically unlocks. If someone else needs to drive your car, simply give them the extra key card or set them up on the Tesla app as a secondary driver. Using a valet? Loan them a key card.
Another unique feature of Tesla is the user interface pops up with about 25 different subjects. One of them is “carwash mode.” By setting this before you go into a carwash, the car will prepare itself by locking the charge port, locking the trunk/frunk, and folding the mirrors, and it will enable the use of free-wheeling so the car can be moved on a conveyor belt.
Teslas have so many nuances, it’s not as simple as ‘get in the car and drive.’ If you don’t receive some education, you’re going to miss out on a lot of the unique features available to you.
Note from Bill: Yes, Teslas have a car wash mode, but better yet avoid the car wash entirely. All of those spinning brushes can scratch your paint. Instead, use our two-bucket wash method . If you have to take your car through a carwash, use a touchless one.
Myth: Teslas have bad paint.
Jon: This one has a grain of truth to it. Most Tesla owners complain that the paint on their vehicle is less durable than the paint on other cars.
The paint isn’t bad per se, but it might be softer than other cars’ paint. Because Teslas are built in California, where the emissions restrictions are extreme, they won’t allow Tesla to use certain paint hardeners that other car manufacturers do.
Tesla is building plants in Austin, Texas, and Shanghai, so those cars theoretically should not have the same issues.
To combat the reduced hardness, many Tesla owners find a really good shop where they can have paint protection film installed on their vehicles. The paint protection film protects the paint from stone and rock chips and keeps it looking newer—longer.
Myth: You don’t need training to learn how to drive your Tesla.
Jon: Most new Tesla owners don’t think they need any support. They underestimate the steep learning curve of owning and operating a Tesla.
What surprises most people the first time they get into a Tesla is there are almost no knobs or buttons. Everything is done on the touch screen, which an iPad-sized screen located in the center of the dashboard, or through voice commands. You use the touchscreen to start the vehicle, shift gears (in the Model S/X), turn on the windshield wipers and headlights—and even to open the glovebox! The speedometer and all other indicators are on that touchscreen, too.
What can make getting up to speed on driving your Tesla even more challenging, is that Tesla provides Over the Air Software Updates (OTAs), which periodically change their user interfaces. As with any technology, it helps to have more experienced users, like the Tesla club, show you the ropes.
That’s why Ken Levin, Barry Robertson, and I founded our Tesla Owners Club in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. At first, we thought only around 20 people would come, but after just three months we had more than 100 members.
Tesla took notice and asked us to be the only club in the entire state of Pennsylvania, with direct communication with them. It was the first organization of its kind here. To decentralize, we organized into seven chapters, each planning and running their own events. Each chapter has a director, who is on our club board, which meets every other month.
In addition to our website, to communicate information to our members, we launched a Facebook group. Today it’s 2,100 members strong.
About a year ago, we started an owner hotline. It’s free to our members. (And membership starts at just $9.99 a year.) It’s manned 24/7, 365 days a year. Club members can call anytime, day or night, and ask questions.
My biggest piece of advice to people considering buying, or for those who already have, is take our classes! We really care about cars, and we want to help you.
For more information about TOCPA—and to join—visit them at https://www.tocpa.club.
For paint protection film and ceramic coating packages, pricing, and more visit us at https://www.immaculatepaintprotection.com/tesla.
About the author: Bill Fetter’s passion for cars started at an early age, as he loved anything with wheels. Through his childhood, Bill observed his dad’s work as a mechanical engineer turned marketing manager and proud lifelong employee of General Motors. During high school, Bill honed his passion for cars by hand-washing and detailing his neighbors’ vehicles. Knowing he wanted to be in the automotive industry, Bill earned a degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. He’s worked as an engineer in the automotive manufacturing, medical device, steel industry, and pharmaceutical manufacturing fields.