Can You Go Through A Car Wash With A Roof Rack?

Vehicle roof racks are a great way to transport items such as extra gear and camping equipment that won't fit inside your car. But when your car needs cleaning, can you go through a car wash with a roof rack? Let's take a look to see if this is even possible.

The answer depends on what type of roof rack you have and the type of car wash you plan to use. Some automatic car washes may not accommodate vehicles with roof racks, so it's always best to double-check before you drive into the car wash. This is due to the height of the car wash and the possibility of damaging the car wash equipment, your car, or the roof rack.

Before going to a car wash with your roof rack, it's best to know if it's okay to do so. In this article, we will discuss in detail if you can take your car with a roof rack through an automatic car wash. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about washing cars, so read on!

Do I Need To Take My Roof Rack Off Before Going To A Car Wash?

Automatic car wash in action

Roof racks are meant for car owners who need to carry items that won't fit inside the car. For example, a roof rack can hold bicycles, surfboards, and other bulky items.

But once you get back from your adventure and need to clean your car, the problem is figuring out what to do with the roof rack. Automatic car washes are convenient because they require little effort.

All you need to do is pay, drive in, and wait for the car wash to do its magic. However, some automatic car washes may not fit your vehicle if it has a roof rack attached.

The other problem is that some car washes may not allow you to take your car with a roof rack through the wash. There are a few reasons why.

First, the height of your car may be a factor. The roof rack could hit the ceiling of the car wash, causing damage to the equipment or your vehicle.

Second, some automatic car washes have too many moving parts, and a roof rack can get caught, possibly damaging your vehicle and the car wash equipment. For these reasons, it's best to double-check before you take your car with a roof rack through the car wash.

If your car has a removable roof rack, it's always best to take it off before taking your vehicle through an automatic car wash. This will not only help protect the equipment and your vehicle but also speed up the process of washing your car.

If you don't want to remove the roof rack, you have two options.

Car wash options if you dont want to remove the roof rack, Can You Go Through A Car Wash With A Roof Rack?

Manual Car Wash

A manual car wash is designed to accommodate taller vehicles with roof racks. Manual car washes have fewer moving parts and less risk of damage to your vehicle or the car wash equipment.

However, manual car washes are not as efficient as automatic car washes, and you will need to put in some elbow grease if you want a thorough cleaning.

Nonetheless, you don't need to remove the roof rack. Plus, manual car washes are considerably cheaper than automatic ones, so you can save money and time.

Wash The Car At Home

The second option is to do the car wash in your driveway. While this isn't what everyone wants to do, it's definitely an option.

You don't need to worry about removing the roof rack or finding a car wash that accommodates taller vehicles if you plan to wash your vehicle at home. However, you will need to invest in all the necessary tools and supplies unless you already have them.

One plus is that it is the cheapest option. You can save money in the long run if you already have the supplies needed for cleaning your car at home.

In addition, it will save you time. You can go directly home, unload your gear, and begin cleaning your car with the roof rack still attached.

How Long Does It Take To Remove A Car Roof Rack?

Woman remove a roof rack

There are a variety of roof racks on the market. All of them have different configurations, so removing them can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes to an hour.

The added time is going home to remove the roof rack, then driving to a car wash, and finally re-installing the roof rack once you are done.

This can be a hassle for some car owners who don't have time to spare. But there are advantages of removing your roof rack when you don't need it.

Roof racks increase drag and can make your car less fuel efficient. Not to mention the noise created by wind resistance when driving at high speeds or on a highway. Removing your roof rack will reduce drag, increase fuel efficiency, and give you a quieter ride as well.

So, if you don't need your roof rack, it's best to remove it and take your vehicle through an automatic car wash.

Can You Go Through A Car Wash With A Bike Rack?

Some bike racks go onto the back of your car, and some onto the roof. If you are using a bike rack that goes on the back of your vehicle, you may be wondering if you can take your car with a bike rack through an automatic car wash.

Still, you might want to refrain from doing so, as many automatic car washes have large spinning brushes that could catch the bike rack and cause damage to both your vehicle and the equipment of the car wash.

Nonetheless, depending on the type of automatic car wash, you may be okay. As mentioned earlier, you should ask the car wash attendants if they can accommodate cars with bike racks.

If not, you should either remove the bike rack, go to a manual car wash, or do the car wash in your driveway.

How Do You Clean A Roof Rack?

Roof rack of a car

While it may seem pointless, periodically cleaning your roof rack is a good idea. The roof rack collects dirt and grime from the road and from the weather, which can cause rust or corrosion if left unchecked.

Start by giving your roof rack a good rinse with water to remove any loose dirt or debris. Then, use a mild detergent solution and a soft cloth (or brush) to scrub away any residue that may have built up.

After that, give the roof rack another rinse and get into all the hard-to-reach spots to ensure a thorough cleaning. Finally, dry off any excess water with an absorbent towel, and your roof rack will be good as new.

Can You Go Through A Car Wash With A Bed Cover?

Black truck bed tonneau cover

It's best to remove the tonneau or bed covers before entering the car wash. This is because bed covers are often made of plastic and other materials that can be easily damaged by spinning brushes or high-pressure water jets.

Tonneau covers are typically made of aluminum or vinyl. These materials are more resistant to damage than plastic, but they can still be susceptible to scratches and dents caused by the brushes.

However, tonneau and bed covers are easy to fold up and store in the back of your vehicle, so it is best to remove them before entering the car wash. Doing so will help ensure that your tonneau cover remains in good condition for years to come.

The last thing you want is to end up with a damaged bed cover after just one car wash. So, be sure to remove it before you drive into the car wash.

Is It Cheaper To Wash Your Car At Home Or At A Car Wash?

One advantage to washing your car at home is the cost. Sure, you will need to pay upfront for the necessary supplies, but after that, there are no additional costs. You can find car wash kits for $20 or less, and they can last you several items of washing.

On the other hand, car washes typically range anywhere from $10-35 depending on the type of wash. As such, doing a car wash at home is cost effective in the long run.

Another plus is that you have full control over the cleaning process; you can ensure that your car is washed exactly to your specifications without additional costs.

So, if you want to save money while still keeping your car clean and in good condition, washing it at home is definitely the way to go.

Final Thoughts

Overall, play it safe and remove any exterior accessories such as roof racks, bike racks, and bed covers before taking your car through an automatic car wash. You will thank yourself later for being cautious and avoiding potential damage to both your vehicle and the car wash equipment.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

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