If you’re looking for a thorough, high-quality car wash that also protects your tonneau cover, then look no further! Keeping your car clean and protecting its exterior components is essential for extending its life and enhancing its performance. Tonneau covers are essential additions to any vehicle if you want to protect cargo or prevent theft from the back of your truck.
However it can be challenging to find a reliable service that will give your ride a car wash while simultaneously preserving the tonneau cover. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of the dos and don’ts when it comes to a car wash with tonneau cover, so you can be sure that your investment will remain protected for years to come.
1. Is It Safe To Go Through A Car Wash With Tonneau Cover?
When your truck gets dirty, your tonneau cover gets dirty too. If you’re short on time and looking for a quick car wash option, an automatic car wash can be considered. However, before you proceed, you might be concerned about the safety of taking your tonneau cover through the car wash.
It is indeed possible to take your car with a tonneau cover through a car wash to maintain the cleanliness and debris-free state of the cover. However, proper and secure attachment of the tonneau cover is crucial to prevent any accidents or damage during the car wash.
Many tonneau covers are designed to withstand the demands of car washes. Manufacturers consider the exposure to water pressure and cleaning chemicals. It is important to consult the manual or guidelines specific to your tonneau cover to ensure its compatibility with car washes. Some covers may have restrictions or recommendations in this regard.
You can confidently take your car with a tonneau cover through a car wash, as long as you follow these steps to ensure that the cover remains clean and undamaged:
- Before proceeding with a car wash, it is advisable to review the manufacturer’s instructions. This information is commonly found in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website. The guidelines may include steps for preparing the tonneau cover, such as securely latching it, locking any mechanisms, or utilizing the included straps to prevent flapping during the wash.
- Properly secure the tonneau cover by engaging all latches, locks, or fasteners according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you have a folding or retractable cover, make sure it is fully closed and locked before entering the car wash.
- Consider opting for touchless or soft-touch car wash options when cleaning your truck with a tonneau cover. These methods use gentler cleaning processes that minimize the risk of damaging the cover. High-pressure automated car washes are generally safe for most tonneau covers. However, if you have concerns about potential damage, choosing a less aggressive wash can provide extra peace of mind.
You can also like:
- Best Heavy Duty Tonneau Covers: Top Picks by Experts
- What Size Toolbox For the Ford Ranger? Everything You Need to Know
- Common BAKFlip G2 Problems and How to Solve Them
2. Which Types Of Tonneau Covers Are Car Wash Safe?
If some manufacturers require you to remove their tonneau, it is recommended to take it off if it is easy to do so. This will prevent any potential damage and ensure a clean truck bed after a car wash. In most cases, you can remove the cover itself while leaving the side rails attached to your truck bed rails.
However, the feasibility of this option depends on the type of tonneau cover you have. Soft tonneau covers are generally more suitable for this method, as they are lighter and easier to remove compared to heavy, hardcovers. Consider the following advice based on the type of tonneau cover you own:
2.1. Hard Tonneau Covers
Hard tonneau covers, typically constructed from materials like aluminum or fiberglass, are known for their durability and strength. These covers can withstand the pressures and water encountered in most automated car washes, providing reliable protection against water and debris.
If your tonneau cover is painted, it is advisable to opt for a touchless car wash to avoid any potential damage to the finish. With no moving or soft parts, hard tonneau covers are built to withstand the same challenges as the rest of your truck.
2.2. Roll-Up Tonneau Covers:
These covers can be rolled up and secured near the cab of the truck. They are generally safe for car washes, but ensure that the cover is tightly rolled and secured according to the manufacturer’s instructions before entering the car wash.
2.3. Folding Tonneau Covers:
These covers consist of multiple panels that can be folded to access the truck bed. As long as the folding mechanism is properly locked and secured, it should be safe for car washes.
2.4. Retractable Tonneau Covers:
These covers slide into a canister at the front of the truck bed, allowing for easy access. When closed and locked, they offer a streamlined and sealed surface, making them suitable for car washes.
2.5. Soft Tonneau Covers:
Soft tonneau covers, typically made from vinyl or fabric materials, are generally considered safe for car washes. However, it is important to ensure that the cover is securely tightened before entering the car wash. It is worth noting that certain soft covers may have specific limitations on the types of car washes they can withstand, so it is advisable to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for clarification.
Additionally, some soft tonneau manufacturers may require the owner to remove the tonneau before taking the vehicle through a car wash.
2.6. One-piece Tonneau Covers:
One-piece tonneau covers, as the name suggests, offer a seamless and solid solution for truck beds. These covers provide complete coverage and, when properly secured, are generally safe during car washes due to their water-resistant design.
3. Can A Car Wash Damage Your Tonneau Cover?
Yes, improper precautions during a car wash can potentially damage your tonneau cover. While many covers are designed to withstand the conditions, several factors should be considered:
- Water Pressure: High-pressure automated car washes, especially ones with powerful jets, can force water under the cover or cause it to flap, resulting in water infiltration or detachment.
- Abrasive Brushes: Car washes that use abrasive brushes may scratch or scuff the cover’s surface, especially if it’s made of softer materials like vinyl or fabric. Hardcovers are less prone to brush damage but still require caution.
- Rolling and Folding Mechanisms: Tonneau covers with folding or rolling mechanisms can be damaged if forced or obstructed during the car wash.
- Inadequate Securing: Improperly secured or latched covers can come loose during the car wash, potentially resulting in damage.
- Chemical Exposure: Prolonged exposure to strong cleaning chemicals used in some car washes may affect the cover’s appearance or integrity over time.
4. Pro Tips For Washing Your Car With Tonneau Cover
Tip 1: Use a touchless car wash
When selecting a car wash, it’s important to consider the various options available. Automatic car washes can either be soft-touch, utilizing moving brushes and cloths, or touchless, relying on soap and water jets. It’s crucial to note that spinning brushes in car washes may potentially damage the surface of painted tonneau covers designed for rain protection but not physical contact. Additionally, soft-touch car washes may utilize thick cloth strips, which, if not properly rinsed beforehand, can spread dirt and potentially scratch your truck.
If you’re aiming to preserve the condition of your tonneau cover while benefiting from the convenience of an automatic car wash, a touchless option is highly recommended. Touchless car washes employ pressurized water jets and soap to effectively clean your vehicle while reducing the risk of damage to the paint job.
Tip 2: Say no with “WAX”
When it comes to extra services at the car wash, there’s one you should steer clear of wax. The application of wax or silicone treatment on your tonneau can result in an unsightly residue. Not only that, but it could also cause interference with the parts of rolling or retractable tonneau covers. For those with soft tonneau covers, wax has the potential to make them stiff and less durable. What’s more, in extreme cases, applying wax to your tonneau cover may even void your tonneau cover warranty. So, if you decide to take your tonneau through a car wash, it’s best to decline the wax cycle altogether.
Tip 3: Washing your car by hand is a good idea
It is highly recommended to hand wash your truck, as it allows you to avoid the harsh brushes of an automatic touch car wash while still achieving a sparkling clean result. Additionally, if you choose to hand wash, you may not need to remove your tonneau as per the manufacturer’s requirements. Hand washing is also the most effective method to clean your tonneau cover itself, as you can carefully follow the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer and achieve a level of cleanliness that matches that of your truck.
5. How Do I Maintain My Tonneau Cover?
To maintain the longevity and appearance of your tonneau cover, follow these guidelines:
- Keep it clean and dry. For vinyl or fabric covers, use mild soap and water. Rinse thoroughly and wipe with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid using household cleaners or chemical solvents.
- Ensure the inside of the cab stays clean. A dirty cab can stain the cover. Dust off dirt with a soft cloth or brush after each use, and vacuum regularly.
- Store the truck bed cover away from direct sunlight when not in use. This helps prevent fading or premature aging of the material.
- Store your tonneau cover in a dry location to avoid moisture damage over time.
By following these tips, you can preserve the quality and appearance of your truck bed cover for years to come.
Q: Are all types of tonneau covers suitable for car washes?
Not all types of tonneau covers are universally suitable for car washes. Although many tonneau covers are designed to withstand various conditions, their compatibility with car washes depends on factors such as design, materials, and installation methods.
Hard tonneau covers, typically made from durable materials like aluminum or fiberglass, are generally more appropriate for car washes due to their solid build. Soft tonneau covers may be compatible if they are constructed with water and cleaning agent-resistant materials. Folding, rolling, and retractable covers are often safe as long as they are properly secured and latched. However, it is essential to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider the type of car wash (touchless or soft-touch) to minimize potential risks.
Q: Should I remove my tonneau cover in a car wash?
Whether or not you should remove your tonneau cover in a car wash depends on the type of tonneau cover you have and the specific car wash method you’re using. Generally, many tonneau covers are designed to withstand car washes without issue. However, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations.
Q: What maintenance steps should be taken for a tonneau cover after a car wash?
After washing your car, it’s important to carefully examine the tonneau cover for any indications of damage or misalignment. Wipe the cover down to eliminate any excess water and verify that it is properly positioned and securely fastened. Consistently cleaning and treating the cover by the manufacturer’s recommendations can significantly prolong its lifespan.
Q: Can a Tyger tonneau cover go through a car wash?
It is generally advised to avoid automatic car washes that offer wax treatments. The wax used in these washes can potentially cause damage to the vinyl, while the brushes used in the wash process can also harm the thread on the car cover. It is recommended to opt for touchless car washes instead.
Q: How waterproof are tonneau covers?
When installed correctly, a tonneau cover can effectively prevent most water from entering your truck’s bed. While it would be inaccurate to describe a tonneau cover as completely watertight or waterproof, you can expect only a few drops to intrude during a rainstorm. Rest assured that, when properly fitted, a tonneau cover provides excellent protection against water infiltration.
Q: Do soft tonneau covers keep water out?
Soft tonneau covers are crafted using materials that offer a certain level of water resistance, although they may not be completely waterproof. These covers typically feature seams, zippers, or other openings that could potentially allow some water ingress during heavy rainfall or high-pressure washing. While soft tonneau covers effectively shield your truck bed from dust, debris, and light moisture, it’s important to set realistic expectations regarding their ability to resist water. To enhance their water resistance, some manufacturers provide additional accessories, such as seal kits or tonneau cover cleaners, that help maintain the cover’s effectiveness over time.
To wrap up, a car wash with a tonneau cover can be done safely as long as the right safety and maintenance precautions are taken. Make sure you know what type of tonneau cover you have and its compatibility with going through a car wash before taking your vehicle to the local car wash.
Consider investing in protecting products such as vinyl or silicone protectants that will help maintain your tonneau cover and keep it free from dirt buildup and discoloration. Lastly, don’t forget to check out our FAQs section for more tips and information on how best to care for your tonneau cover.
Alex Mitchell is a seasoned automotive writer and truck enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the industry. His expertise focuses on tonneau covers and accessories, and he collaborates with various automotive websites, sharing his passion and helping readers make informed decisions. With hands-on experience as a sales associate at a truck accessories store, Alex brings valuable practical insight to The Tonneau Covers team.