Can You Go Through A Carwash With A Tonneau Cover?

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

Along with the car, the tonneau cover gets dirty which you can clean at the same time, spending less than $10 using an automatic car wash. Undoubtedly, it’s a time-saving and superior way to clean both the car and tonneau.

But can you go through a carwash with a tonneau cover? Does your tonneau cover allow you to do so? Rather than confusing you, we come out to offer a better solution since it is subject to the safety and longevity of the tonneau cover.

Can You Go Through A Carwash With A Tonneau Cover?

The tonneau cover is made of sturdy and quality material to ensure firm protection of the load for seasons. But experiencing rough touch and harmful chemicals during carwash can easily lose its durability and performing ability.

Luckily, we have listed some effective tips and procedures based on different types of tonneau cover, so you can go through a carwash with a tonneau cover and return without causing any damage. So let’s hack it!

Can you go through a carwash with a tonneau cover?

Following proper prosecution to secure the tonneau to the truck and apply the right method for a certain type of tonneau cover, you can go through a car wash. Besides, make sure the process doesn’t use any harmful chemicals like wax or silicone as it can reduce the longevity of the tonneau cover.

Should I remove the tonneau cover before washing the car?

Some manufacturers recommend removing their tonneau cover before going through a car wash. It is the case if the tonneau cover is effortless to take out and then remove. It will not only keep the tonneau cover from getting damaged but also allow you to wash the car properly.

Read More: How Much Weight Can A Tonneau Cover Hold?

While most of the tonneau covers are easier to remove, especially soft tonneau covers, some are a bit harder and take more than one person to remove. Throughout the section we will discuss what to do with several types of tonneau cover:

Hard-top hinged tonneau

This tonneau is constructed from tough plastic or fiberglass material. This tonneau cover will let you go through a car wash without removing it as it won’t get damaged.

Besides, if your tonneau is painted, you should apply a touchless car wash to protect the paint. Since it doesn’t have any soft or moving parts, this tonneau cover can handle any pressure that your truck can.

Rolling, folding, or retractable tonneau

A tonneau cover that has many parts like things isn’t as strong as a hard-top tonneau. A touchless car wash is suitable for this type of tonneau cover as well. But don’t think about a car wash that uses brushes if you have a folding, rolling, or retractable tonneau cover.

Soft tonneau cover

The soft tonneau can go through a car wash with brushes. Though some soft tonneau manufacturers suggest removing their cover, if you are using one of them, better change the manufacturer for easier maintenance.

Read More: Can You Stand On A Tonneau Cover?

If you don’t want to remove the tonneau cover for the car wash, the following section will offer you some effective ways to keep the tonneau safe while allowing you to wash the car.

Touch-Free Car Washes

If you want to go through a carwash with a tonneau cover, a touch-free car wash is the best option. It uses sensors to measure the size and shape of the car and clean the car using chemicals and water without touching it.

This system is done using brushes and cloth which go in favor of the tonneau cover. Moreover, the car doesn’t get hit physically, so it remains safe. However, make sure it doesn’t use any wax cycle.

Firmly secure the tonneau

If you go through a carwash with a tonneau cover and want to return with an undamaged cover, make sure the tonneau is securely closed. Though the tonneau cover is waterproof, it won’t handle the pressure if it remains open.

Moreover, if you leave the tonneau cover a little bit open, soapy water can get inside and cause damage to the cover. Likewise, if the pressurized water goes inside the retractable tonneau, it can damage the retracting mechanism and reduce its performance and longevity.

Stay away from wax 

Before washing the car, check that the chemical is wax-free. Getting a wax treatment on the tonneau cover will surely damage the cover. If your tonneau cover is retractable or rolling wax can mess with the parts.

Conversely, the wax will reduce the durability of soft tonneau covers. More importantly, using wax on your tonneau cover means it will no longer enjoy the tonneau cover warranty. So if you want to keep the tonneau cover in good strength after washing the car, say no to wax.

Hand washing is a better option

Washing a car with your hand is a straightforward process. This way, you can keep the car away from the tough brush and still enjoy a sparkling clean car. More importantly, it doesn’t require removing the tonneau if you wash the car with your hand.

Applying hand wash, you can clean your tonneau cover as well without causing any damage. This manual process will help you maintain the tonneau manufacturer guidelines properly.

However, it’s a slower process and requires physical effort, while an automatic car wash just takes 15-minute to complete the process. In that case, an automatic car wash is a better choice. Just make sure that you completely secure the tonneau cover and the car wash provider doesn’t use any wax cycle.

How Do You Wash A Tonneau Cover?

Here is a short video about how to clean and condition a vinyl Tonneau Cover:

Is It Ok To Go Through Car Wash With Tonneau Cover?

A hard-top tonneau made of fiberglass or hard plastic should be able to go through a car wash without causing any damage. If your tonneau is painted, you may want to go through a touchless car wash so as to not scrape the finish.

Will A Car Wash Damage A Tonneau Cover?

Tonneau covers can get damaged during a carwash and should be removed before it.

Final Thoughts

The tonneau cover is a great tool to shield the rear open space of the truck. Though it offers strong protection, its outer layer can get damaged due to the rough use of the car wash. Throughout the guide, we explain the different procedures of washing a car with different tonneau covers.

Once reading the guide, what was your realization? Can you go through a car wash with a tonneau cover? What type of tonneau cover are you using and which procedure do you find the most p [referable? Let us know through the comment box.

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