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Can You Go Through a Carwash With a Bike Rack? Should You Remove the Rack or Not?


A bike rack behind your car works like a carrier. But unlike the traditional carriers, you can place your bike on a bike rack and safely transport it from one place to another. However, can you go through a carwash with a bike rack?

If you are planning to visit an automatic car wash service, that system can damage the external accessories, including the bike rack behind your car. But if you are looking to DIY or go to a manual car wash service, there’s nothing to worry about.

However, the advanced automatic car wash services might not bother the bike rack attached to your car. So it all depends on what type of automatic car wash you are getting for your car.

Types of Automatic Car Wash

As the automobile industry is growing rapidly, it’s also moving towards automated smart processes. The main aim behind such development is to reduce labor and maximize the use of technology.

Automatic Car Wash

You might have also seen the advancements in automatic car wash services. However, each service uses different technology. That’s why it’s too early to decide which automatic car wash will damage the bike rack behind your car.

Following are the most common automatic car wash services:

  • Conveyorized Tunnel Car Wash
  • In-Bay Touchless Car Wash
  • Brushless Car Wash

Conveyorized Tunnel Car Wash

As its name suggests, your car passes through different stages on a conveyor belt. You leave your car in the garage and wait till it passes all the cleaning phases.

Each phase provides application. For example, one phase will use detergents and car cleaning chemicals. Other phases will throw water and rinse the car.

The whole process ends when the conveyor belt transfers your car to the final stage, i.e., drying by a blower.

The conveyorized tunnel car wash might not be a safe option if your car has a bike rack behind it. It’s because the automatic brushing system continuously rotates to thoroughly wash your car. If the strings get tangled into the fitting of the bike rack, it will damage or even pull off completely from your car.

Therefore, let’s move on to the next type of automatic car wash service.

In-Bay Touchless Car Wash

This type of automatic car wash is commonly available at gas stations. In the in-bay touchless car wash, you move your car on the given signal. Each signal is a different cleaning phase. When you enter the wash area after a signal, you have to stop the car till the next signal gives you the green light.

Touchless Car Wash

Now, when you enter each wash bay on the signal, the washing equipment will step-by-step clean your car. For instance, the first bay will throw detergents, the second bay will put high-pressure water, and so on.

The final step is the car drying phase. The whole process only takes 5 minutes. On top of that, it’s a safer automatic car wash option if you have attached a bike rack at the back of your car.

However, the high-pressure water might damage the paint of your car. It’s recommended not to go for an in-bay touchless car wash if you have put new paint on your car.

Brushless Car Wash

This is another advanced automatic car wash system that doesn’t use brushes to clean your car. Instead, there are mitter curtains that wash your car in three applications.

First, the mitter curtains will wash your car using water and detergents. Then, the curtains will gently rub the surface of your car and clean it thoroughly.

Then, the next stop will polish the car using mitter curtains. After polishing, the final mitter curtains will dry your car.

Now, the brushless car wash might not properly clean the bike rack because of the horizontal alignment of the mitter curtains. Therefore, you can go for this option if you have attached the bike rack at the top of your car.

No doubt, these types of car wash services are fully automated. You only have to buy a ticket and stand there watching how your car is being washed. It’s an affordable and time-saving method as well.

However, there are several risks associated with the automatic car wash service.

Have a look at the Allen Sports 2-Bike Trunk Rack.

Why Are Automatic Car Wash Services Risky to Bike Rack?

No doubt, the automatic car wash services are easily affordable. You can save your time by visiting any nearby car wash service. However, you can’t totally rely on an automatic car wash.

Automatic Car Wash 2

Following are the risks associated with these services:

  • Some parts of the brush and mitter curtain might tangle in the bike rack. Not only that, they can even pull off the rack behind your car.
  • If you have attached some add-ons to your car, the automatic rotary brushes and curtain might damage them.
  • If the bike rack is on top of your car, these brushes might also pull that off from there.
  • Once you are done with the car wash, the bike rack fitting might get loose. Therefore, it can fall off anytime and damage your as well as other cars as well.
  • A bike rack comes with its own warranty. If it gets damaged because you went to the car wash service, that warranty will be void.
  • If you have recently painted your car, avoid going to the automatic car wash service. The high-pressure and intense brushing might damage the paint’s upper layer. Instead, take out some time and wash your car on your own.

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These are some of the risks that come with automatic car wash services. However, you can go for a reliable car wash service by checking out its reviews. Some services will take responsibility if any damage is done to your car, including the bike rack.

You can first confirm by contacting these car wash services. After that, visit that car wash station without any worry.

Even some car wash services have several guidelines. They guide you on what precautionary steps to take before sending your car to the automatic car wash system. Moreover, one of the most common guidelines is to remove the rack before entering the car wash system.

Final Words

Before visiting an automatic car wash service, it’s better to remove the bike rack from your car. You do that easily on your own. However, take help by reaching the car wash station and let the crew help you by dismantling the rack.

By doing that, you can save the warranty issued by the bike rack manufacturer in case any damage occurs.

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