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Car washes are an easy, cheap and convenient way to get your truck and tonneau sparkling clean again.
However, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to do so with a tonneau cover on your truck.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive yes or no answer to this question as every tonneau cover manufacturer offers different advice regarding the compatibility of their product with car washes.
It’s essential to do thorough research and check with the specific manufacturer of your tonneau before risking voiding your warranty or damaging your cover.
It’s important to remember that while many tonneau cover manufacturers do state that it is safe to take your tonneau through an automatic carwash that the full answer is much more nuanced and requires some proper consideration before you do take your tonneau cover through.
Read more: Best tonneau cover for car wash
Can Tonneau Covers Go Through a Carwash?
When it comes to washing your truck with a tonneau cover on, the answer isn’t straightforward.
Some manufacturers advise against it, which means doing so can/will void your warranty.
Other manufacturers say it’s safe to take your tonneau cover through a car wash, but include clauses regarding the products that are safe to be used.
For instance, TruXedo state that their covers are safe to go through a carwash, but further down the care guide also say to “never clean (your) cover with petroleum or citrus-based products, and avoid silicone based protectants”.
As you can see, it’s super important to read all of the manufacturers maintenance information properly, because, while taking your car through a car wash might not void the warranty, the products that your car wash uses might.
It’s also important to note that even if a tonneau cover manufacturer does not explicitly forbid taking their product through a car wash, it’s still a good idea to exercise caution.
If you do decide to take your tonneau cover through a car wash, there are some precautions you can take to minimize the risk of damage:
- Touchless car wash: Touchless car washes are the best way to clean hard, painted, rolling, retractable and folding tonneau covers. These car washes use high-pressure water jets instead of brushes.
- Soft touch car wash: Regular touch car washes that use brushes are better suited to soft tonneau covers, as the high pressure of touchless can often warp or even blast the cover off your bed.
- Avoid damaging products: Many manufacturers will void your warranty if you use citrus, silicone or petroleum based products on your tonneau cover. Also avoid any waxes at most costs.
- Remove the cover: The safest option if you are unsure is to remove the tonneau cover from your truck before going through a carwash.
What Type of Cover Is Safe to Take Through a Car Wash?
The type of tonneau cover that is safe to go through a car wash depends on several factors such as the cover’s material, components, and finish.
Not all tonneau covers are created equal, and some may be more susceptible to damage than others when exposed to the high-pressure water, brushes, and cleaning chemicals used in car washes.
Regardless of the type of tonneau cover you have, it’s always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s recommendations before taking it through a car wash.
Hard-Top One-Piece Tonneau Covers:
Generally speaking, taking a hard-top one-piece tonneau cover through a car wash should be safe.
Hard-top one-piece tonneau covers such as the UnderCover Lux are usually made of materials such as fiberglass or hard plastic and do not have any soft or moving parts that may be damaged by the car wash’s brushes.
However, it’s important to exercise caution if your cover is painted as brushes in some car washes can move around debris that can scratch the paint.
So if you have a painted hard-top tonneau cover, it’s best to use touchless car washes that use high-pressure water jets instead of brushes.
Rolling, Folding and Retractable Tonneau Covers:
Compared to hard-top one-piece tonneau covers, rolling, retractable, and folding tonneau covers have more parts, are generally not as sturdy and are usually painted.
Therefore, it’s essential to take care when washing them to avoid damaging the cover or its components.
If you’re planning on taking your rolling, retractable, or folding tonneau cover through a car wash, it’s best to use touchless car washes.
These types of car washes use high-pressure water jets and do not have any brushes that could damage the cover or its components.
Soft Tonneau Covers:
Soft tonneau covers, which are often made from materials such as cloth or vinyl, are usually okay to go through a car wash, but some also recommend complete removal of the cover before going to a car wash.
If your tonneau cover is manufacturer approved to take through a car wash, a regular touch car wash with brushes is generally considered safe for soft covers.
Soft tonneau covers such as the TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up Tonneau Cover are specifically labelled as being okay to go through a car wash as long as the car wash does not use silicone, citrus or petroleum based products.
What Are the Risks of Taking a Tonneau Cover Through a Car Wash?
A tonneau cover is an essential accessory for truck owners, as it helps protect the cargo from harsh weather conditions and potential theft.
While these covers are durable and long-lasting, taking them through a car wash can pose some risks.
Risks of taking a tonneau cover through a car wash:
- Voiding warranty: Most tonneau cover manufacturers provide a warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship. However, if using a car wash is not approved or the car wash uses products that the manufacturer specifically states not to use, it may void the warranty.
- Damage to the cover and finish: If the incorrect type of car wash is used, it can cause damage to the cover and finish, leaving scratches or other forms of damage.
- Cover popping off: High-pressure car washes can cause the tonneau cover to pop off, leading to potential damage to the truck bed and cover itself.
- Water leakage: If water penetrates through the tonneau cover and enters the truck bed, it could damage the cargo you are carrying. Ensure you are not hauling any valuable equipment or gear before entering the car wash.
Whether or not you can take your tonneau cover through a car wash simply depends on the manufacturer’s advice and the specific product you have.
However, even if it’s deemed safe by the manufacturer, it’s still important to exercise caution and follow any guidelines provided.
If you’re unsure whether it’s safe to wash your tonneau cover in a car wash, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and do some research before potentially damaging your cover.