Can You Go Through Car Wash With Cross Bars?

Can You Go Through Car Wash With Cross Bars

Can You Go Through Car Wash With Cross Bars?

To ensure a safe and damage-free experience at the car wash, it’s essential to understand whether you can go through a car wash with cross bars. In this section, we’ll discuss the potential risks involved in proceeding with cross bars attached, as well as the purpose of cross bars in the first place. To equip you with the necessary knowledge, we’ll also delve into a brief understanding of what cross bars are before moving further.

Understanding what cross bars are

Cross bars, also called roof rack crossbars or roof rails, are essential accessories for carrying cargo on the roof of vehicles. They are horizontal bars attached to the vehicle’s roof rails or directly clamped onto the car’s roof. Cross bars provide a sturdy base for rooftop carriers such as bike racks, cargo boxes and kayaks. The height and width of cross bars vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

While cross bars are a great addition to your car, it is important to understand how they function in different environments. When considering taking your vehicle through a car wash with cross bars attached, there are certain precautions you should take. First, ensure that your crossbars are made of materials such as aluminum which do not rust when exposed to water. Additionally, check whether any adjustments need to be made before proceeding through the car wash.

It is important to note that some car washes may not allow cars with cross bars to go through for safety reasons. However, if the car wash allows it, it’s essential to remove any rooftop carriers as they might damage other vehicles in close proximity during the cleaning process. Some less powerful car washes can also cause damage if they hit crossbars at high speeds.

To avoid damage or disappointment after spending time and money on a car wash trip, it’s recommended that you enquire with the service provider beforehand about their policies regarding vehicles with roof racks going through their facility.

Cross bars are like the wingman of your roof rack, they’re the ones doing all the heavy lifting while the roof rack takes all the credit.

The purpose of cross bars

Cross bars serve the purpose of allowing a vehicle to carry additional cargo or accessories on top of it. They provide a secure foundation upon which other items such as kayaks, bikes, skis and luggage can be mounted.

The Purpose of Cross Bars
Adds extra space for carrying cargo and accessories
Provides a foundation for mounting items securely
Allows for safe transportation of large items such as kayaks, bikes, skis and luggage

It is important to note that not all cars come equipped with cross bars as they are an aftermarket accessory that can be installed separately.

Did you know that Yakima and Thule are two popular brands that specialize in producing high-quality crossbars for various car models?

Going through a car wash with cross bars is like playing Russian roulette with your car’s roof.

The potential risks of going through a car wash with cross bars

For car owners who use cross bars, there is a concern about potential risks when going through a car wash. The cross bars are an external attachment to the roof, and their compatibility with car washes is uncertain. The main concern is that the rollers and brushes in automated car washes may come into contact with the crossbars, causing damage to both the car and the equipment.

It’s important to note that not all car washes are created equal and some may be suitable for cars with cross bars. However, it’s recommended that owners either remove the cross bars or find a touchless car wash that does not rely on physical scrubbing. Car washes that use high-pressure water and air jets are also an option as long as they avoid contact with the cross bars.

Some car manufacturers may have specific recommendations or warnings regarding car washes with cross bars, which should be followed carefully to avoid any damage. It’s always best to consult your vehicle owner’s manual before subjecting your car to any type of automatic washing.

In fact, according to Consumer Reports, “Automatic car washes can damage a vehicle’s paint surface by using harsh chemicals or mechanical parts that come in contact with the paint.” Therefore, regardless of having cross bars or not, it is wise to choose a car wash carefully based on its effectiveness and safety measures for your vehicle.

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Cross bars on, brains off – a recipe for disaster in the car wash.

Precautionary Measures Before Going Through A Car Wash With Cross Bars

To ensure your cross bars stay safe and secure on your car while going through a car wash, you need to take some precautionary measures. This section will cover the solutions to this potential problem with sub-sections including cleaning cross bars thoroughly, ensuring cross bars are securely attached, and checking car wash compatibility with cross bars.

Cleaning cross bars thoroughly

To ensure a sparkling clean for your crossbars before going through a car wash, it’s essential to follow the proper cleaning techniques. Lax cleaning can result in a wasted trip to the car wash, with poor washing outcomes.

A 5-Step Guide for immaculately cleaning crossbars entails:

  1. Remove crossbars and place them on a flat surface.
  2. Use soap and water along with a soft-bristled brush to remove debris.
  3. Brush grease or dirt patches on the bars away carefully.
  4. Rinse completely with clean water and allow time to dry.
  5. Apply wax across the bars for gloss finish

It’s vital to note that the drying process is an essential stage when cleaning your cross bars thoroughly since moisture can be trapped under fixtures or bolts if left excessively wet.

For optimal outcomes, follow these steps meticulously, ensuring every inch is cleaned and polished with precision ahead of a car wash.

In the past, many have overlooked cleaning their cross-bars altogether when preparing for a car wash, which led to dirty or damaged car paintwork caused by debris left behind after washing.

Cross bars flying off during a car wash would make for a great action movie scene, but a terrible real-life experience.

Ensuring cross bars are securely attached

To ensure that the cross bars are securely attached before going through a car wash, it is important to follow some vital measures.

Here is a 4-step guide to ensuring the cross bars are securely attached:

  1. Inspect the cross bars for any visible damages or cracks as they can compromise their strength and stability. If you notice any issues, immediately seek professional assistance.
  2. Ensure that the components of the cross bars such as bolts, nuts, and clamps are tightened appropriately to secure their position on top of your car.
  3. Check if the measuring distance between them matches the guidelines specified in your vehicle’s user manual because it can affect its aerodynamic performance and cause unwanted noise during travel.
  4. Finally, while securing the load on top of your vehicle, make sure you do not exceed the maximum weight capacity recommended by the manufacturer as it may lead to structural damage or instability during transit.

In addition to these steps, it is crucial to use suitable tie-down straps to keep your cargo stable while driving through a car wash.

Pro Tip: It’s always advisable to double-check all components’ security after every car wash cycle to prevent accidents or damage caused due to negligence.

Before hitting the car wash, make sure your cross bars aren’t going to be a washout with these compatibility checks.

Checking car wash compatibility with cross bars

Before heading to a car wash, it is essential to ensure that the cross bars are compatible. This precautionary measure safeguards against any potential damage to the vehicle or crossbars during the cleaning process.

It is advisable to research the car wash ahead of time and identify any potential compatibility issues with cross bars. Contacting the car wash directly or consulting their website can provide this information. Moreover, checking with other vehicle owners who have similar cross bars can also be useful in determining compatibility.

In addition to compatibility checks, it is crucial to remove any accessories attached to the crossbars, such as ski racks or bike carriers, before entering a car wash. These items may interfere with the automated brushing systems used by many car washes and cause significant damage.

Ignoring precautions before going through a car wash with cross bars may result in expensive repairs or even complete replacement of parts. Henceforth, it is recommended to follow these precautionary measures and ensure a stress-free experience while maintaining both vehicle and crossbar integrity.
Going through a car wash with cross bars is like entering a battle with your roof at risk of losing its dignity.

Going through the car wash with cross bars

To ensure a smooth and safe car wash experience with crossbars using the right techniques is essential. By selecting the correct car wash for cross bars, positioning the car correctly in the car wash, and monitoring the car wash process you can avoid mishaps. Let’s explore some tips and tricks for going through the car wash with cross bars.

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Choosing the right car wash for cross bars

When it comes to taking your vehicle with cross bars through a car wash, it is important to choose the appropriate type of wash. Here, we will discuss the factors you should consider when selecting the right car wash for cross bars.

  • Look for a brushless car wash: Brushless car washes use high-pressure water jets, minimizing the risk of damaging your cross bars.
  • Avoid automatic car washes with scrub brushes: These types of car washes can scratch and damage your cross bars.
  • Consider hand washing with a cloth: Hand-washing your vehicle and cross bars with a soft cloth may be the safest option as you have better control over the pressure and cleaning agents used.
  • Check for height restrictions: Make sure that the car wash you choose has enough clearance for your vehicle and its cross bars.
  • Choose a reputable car wash with good reviews: Check online reviews and ratings before deciding on a car wash.

It’s also important to remember to remove any loose or detachable items from your roof before entering a car wash.

Lastly, my friend once took his vehicle with cross bars through an automatic drive-through car wash which resulted in scratches on his beloved bike. From then on, he always got his SUV hand-washed at premium rates at a nearby shop that offered great service.

Why bother positioning your car correctly in the car wash? It’s not like the cross bars on your roof are going to stay in place anyway.

Positioning the car correctly in the car wash

When taking your car through a wash, its positioning is crucial for optimal cleaning and protection. Here are six steps to position your car correctly in the car wash:

  1. Ensure that your car is aligned with the entrance of the car wash using centering guides, if available.
  2. Remove any exterior accessories, such as bike racks and cross bars, that may damage your car or the equipment during washing.
  3. Raise your antennas and fold in side mirrors carefully.
  4. Turn off your engine completely and engage the parking brake. This prevents any accidental acceleration that can harm you or others around you.
  5. Roll up all windows and close sunroofs tightly to prevent water from seeping into the interior of your car.
  6. Follow the instructions provided by the attendants and ensure that all parts of your vehicle are within clearance limits during operation.

It’s essential to bear in mind that certain types of vehicles with particular features might face individual challenges when being washed. For example, tall SUVs or minivans may require specialized brushes and sprayers to reach out-of-reach areas.

One day, a friend of mine forgot to remove his bike racks when going through a drive-thru wash. Due to this mistake, he damaged several parts on his roof rack because they failed to clear the height restriction test. The consequences were costly repairs and an unpleasant experience too. Therefore, it’s always essential to be cautious when going through a car wash with any external attachment on your vehicle.

“Watching a car wash is like being a guard at a prison – you’re just waiting for something to go wrong.”

Monitor the car wash process

To ensure safety while going through the car wash with cross bars, it is crucial to maintain a watchful eye over the entire process. Here’s how you can monitor the car wash process:

  1. Before entering the car wash, remove any loose items like antennas or bike racks attached to the crossbars.
  2. Pay attention to any warnings or instructions mentioned on the car wash board and follow them accordingly.
  3. Keep an eye on your vehicle during the washing process and make sure that none of the crossbars snag against any equipment.
  4. After exiting the car wash, thoroughly inspect your vehicle and crossbars for any signs of damage.

It’s worth noting that some automatic car washes may not be suitable for vehicles with crossbars due to low clearance or strong water pressure. Therefore, consider opting for handwashing or soft-touch car washes instead.

Pro Tip: For extra precautionary measures, place a microfiber towel between your crossbars and roof while going through the car wash to prevent any potential scratches or damages.

Better double-check your paint job after that car wash, or you might end up with zebra stripes instead of racing stripes.

Post Car Wash Checks

To ensure optimum performance of your cross bars after a car wash, conduct some post-wash checks with our suggested solution. In this section titled “Post Car Wash Checks,” we will go through the necessary steps to keep your cross bars in good condition. This includes briefly introducing “Inspecting cross bars for damage” and “Cleaning cross bars again” as sub-sections.

Inspecting cross bars for damage

Inspecting Cross Bars for Damage

After a car wash, inspecting your vehicle cross bars is vital. These support beams bear heavy loads and require regular checks to prevent fatal accidents. Here are some simple steps on how to examine cross bars for damage.

  1. Start by visually evaluating the crossbars. Check for any dents, cracks or scratches in the paintwork.
  2. Run your hand along the length of each bar to find any deformations such as bending, twisting or flaring edges.
  3. Check if the fastening points and attaching claps are secure and firmly locked without any loose fittings.
  4. Inspect rubber stops or pads at end-points of carriers, scrutinize them for signs of wear and tear.
  5. Finally, give them a shake to verify stability and ensure they don’t make any unusual noises.
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It’s essential always to inspect your crossbars after cleaning your car thoroughly. Regularly checking will keep you safe on highways, ensuring that your next trip with a perfectly functioning roof rack is safe from unnecessary disasters.

Remember risk-taking altogether not worth it; Schedule routine checks of your roof rack after every car wash with utmost concern!

Looks like my car’s cross bars need a cleanse, I should probably add a ‘cross-bar soap’ category to my car wash checklist.

Cleaning cross bars again

When cleaning your car, it’s necessary to pay attention to the cross bars. Even though they may appear clean after a car wash, it’s crucial to double-check and clean them again to ensure proper maintenance.

To clean the cross bars effectively, follow these five simple steps:

  1. Before starting the cleaning process, ensure that you have all the necessary supplies such as a bucket of warm water, soap and a soft microfiber towel.
  2. Gently remove any visible dirt or debris on the cross bars using a dry towel or brush.
  3. Dip your towel in the soapy water mixture and start wiping down each cross bar one by one. Use a gentle circular motion while applying little pressure.
  4. Rinse off the soap residue using another towel dipped in clean water
  5. Dry off each bar with another clean towel to prevent any spots from remaining afterwards.

Be mindful that when washing a car, other parts may not be reached by the water stream causing build-up later requiring multiple passes through car washes.

Remember to inspect each area and spot any overlooked space for optimal cleanliness.

Lastly, not addressing buildup can lead to impurities like rusting on metal surfaces over time. These can quickly cost large sums of money towards repair if left unchecked.

Keep your car brighter!

After all these post car wash checks, you’ll probably need a car wash to wash away the stress of checking.


Going to a car wash with cross bars installed on your vehicle could be a concern. However, it depends on the type of car wash you choose to go for. If the car wash has low clearance, then it’s advisable to remove the cross bars before entering. On the other hand, if the car wash is high enough, you can safely leave them on without any damage to either the vehicle or the cross bars.

It’s crucial to remember that leaving cross bars installed while going through a car wash with low clearance can damage both your vehicle and the cross bars. Therefore, always measure your vehicle’s height before choosing a car wash service.

In addition, if you need help removing or reinstalling your cross bars on your vehicle, ask for assistance from an expert at the car dealership or service center where they were purchased.

Lastly, I heard about someone who went through a carwash with their bike rack still attached; they never saw it coming off during washing but noticed when they reached home. Therefore always double-check everything before going through automated carwashes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I go through a car wash with cross bars?

A: It depends on the type of car wash. Some car washes have restrictions on vehicles with cross bars to prevent damage to the equipment or the vehicle.

Q: Can I remove the cross bars before going through a car wash?

A: Yes, you can remove the cross bars from your vehicle before going through a car wash to ensure there is no damage to the car or the equipment.

Q: Will going through a car wash with cross bars damage my vehicle?

A: It depends on the type of car wash. If the car wash has restrictions on vehicles with cross bars, it is best to remove them before going through the car wash to prevent damage.

Q: Can I go through a touchless car wash with cross bars?

A: Yes, touchless car washes do not require physical contact with the vehicle and are safe to use with cross bars.

Q: Can I go through a brush car wash with cross bars?

A: It depends on the car wash. Some brush car washes have restrictions on vehicles with cross bars to prevent damage to the equipment or the vehicle.

Q: Can I go through a car wash with bike racks attached?

A: It depends on the type of car wash. Some car washes have restrictions on vehicles with bike racks attached to prevent damage to the equipment or the vehicle. It is best to remove bike racks before going through a car wash to prevent damage.

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