Can You Go Through a Carwash With a Bike Rack?

Yes, you can go through a carwash with a bike rack installed on your vehicle, but it’s essential to ensure that the bike rack is securely attached and won’t interfere with the carwash equipment or damage your vehicle. Check with the carwash staff for any specific instructions or precautions to follow.

Maximizing Bike Rack Safety in the Carwash

Attaching and detaching a bike rack isn’t a big deal, but it can be a hassle for many people since it takes some time and patience. If you’re a lazy person like me, you’ll be hesitant to attach or reattach the bike rack to your car because it requires significant time, energy, and effort.

However, what should you do if your car gets stuck in the dirt and needs an emergency wash? Can you go through a carwash with a bike rack? There’s actually no straightforward answer to this. I visited a few car experts and bike rack manufacturing companies to find the answer.

Should you go through an automatic carwash with a bike rack? The straight answer is “No.” I have already explained the reasons behind it. Most manufacturers are against it; even most carwash companies display the sign “Do it at your own risk.”

Now, I’ll provide you with a detailed answer regarding it. Let’s explore further to learn more about it.

Going through a Carwash with a Bike Rack? – In-Detail Guide

Going through a carwash with a bike rack is always risky, as it can potentially cause significant damage to the rack. Since a bike rack is expensive, it would not be wise to wash the car with it. Moreover, high-pressure water and spinning brushes can bend or break the rack’s materials.

On the other hand, going through a carwash with a bike rack can also cause scratches on the bike’s frames or wheels. The cleaning applications can leave grime on the rack, which can discolor it and significantly reduce its efficiency.

However, some bike racks are of such high quality that they can withstand the rigidity of a carwash. For instance, some bike racks are highly durable and possess an aerodynamic feature.

Precautionary Measurements

If you’re entirely determined to wash the car with a bike rack on the top (I assume you’re a lazy ass like me!), you’ll have to take some precautionary measures. This is how you can reduce the chance of potential damage. Let’s check on that –

  • First, remove any loose or detachable products from the rack. These items could be lights, bottles, locks, etc. Remove them steadily.
  • Now, securely fasten any remaining items on the rack to prevent them from moving around during the carwash.

Types of Carwash

It’s time I’ll show you the different types of carwash with a bike rack. Here we go –

Automatic Carwash

This is undoubtedly the riskiest process, as it is only designed for the car and not any accessories. There’s no room for accessories except the car itself, as the sensors can only detect the car’s sides and determine whether to move or spin accordingly.

Most car wash places require the removal of the car’s aerial to ensure it doesn’t get caught in the spinning brushes. Similarly, the same thing can happen with the bike rack, as the roller could slide down the rear window and fail to land on the rack.

This could result in the bike rack being torn apart and damaged. Since it is such a risky procedure, car experts always advise avoiding it.

Touchless Carwash

The touchless carwash method can effectively decrease the chances of damaging any car or bike rack material. This system uses high-pressure water and robust cleaning applications to remove dirt and residues from your vehicle without physically touching it.

However, there is still a clear and present danger, as the high-pressure water can significantly damage the bike rack, resulting in a loss of efficiency.

Self-Service Carwash

The self-service system is still the best option if you need to clean your bike rack and bicycles. You can clean them manually using mild soap, a soft sponge, or a microfiber cloth. It helps to safeguard the bike rack and bicycles from any potential damage.

Additionally, this method ensures that they are thoroughly cleaned without leaving any grime or dirt behind. It is a super effective method that almost eliminates all types of possible damages. Moreover, it is also cost effective method. Thus, it can save your money.

Some Important Things to Know Before Car Wash

Now, you have got some ideas on car wash types. It’s time to shift your focus somewhere else. Before beginning the automatic car wash procedure, you need to consider some essential things. Let’s check the things –

  • Firstly, check out the instructions given in the manual by the manufacturing company and confirm whether the car wash is allowed. Some bike rack manufacturing companies warn against it. They state that an automatic car wash can void the warranty.
  • Check the suggested car’s height if you are going for a car wash. Usually, vehicles must be over 80 inches tall to be allowed in an automatic car wash.
  • Verify if the car wash service allows the attachment of bike racks to the car.
  • If your roof rack damages any car wash property, what type of problems might you face? Will you have to pay a fine or more than that? Furthermore, what will be the consequences if your rack damages another car? Will you face charges? Better learn thoroughly before beginning the task.

Just a friendly reminder – one of my neighbors took his SUV to a car wash with a bike rack once, and her rack damaged another guy’s car, and she had to pay a hefty fine. Therefore, I am giving this warning to you so that you can be careful.

Some car washes display disclaimers regarding washing cars with a rack. If you don’t see any signs, talk to them and clear the confusion for your safety.

What Problems Can Automatic Carwash Bring to a Car With a Bike Rack?

What Problems Can Automatic Carwash Bring to a Car With a Bike Rack

Yes, some people like to choose automatic carwash. There’s actually a reason behind it. Not everyone is lazy. Consequently, some people are physically unfit or too busy with their respective lives. But problems might arise with automatic carwash for a car with a bike rack.

Here, I’m giving you a list of problematic situations you can face. Let’s check –

  • Sometimes, any brush part can get stuck in the bike rack, making it too difficult to release.
  • If the bike rack doesn’t fasten to the vehicle properly, brushes or high-pressure jets in the carwash can damage the bike rack.
  • The bikes can be damaged if they are still attached to the bike rack during the carwash. The force of the water and cleaning applications can cause scratches, dents, or other types of damage to the bikes.
  • Have you added some add-ons to the car? Be careful! The rotary brushes can make significant friction to them.
  • After completing the task, the bike rack might be loose. As a result, there’s a massive chance it can cause harm to pedestrians or other people’s properties. For this reason, you could face police charges and even jail time.
  • Car manufacturing companies sometimes void the warranty if anything happens to the rack due to the carwash. So, it is a sensitive issue you can’t ignore.
  • Automatic carwash can even harm the paint of the car. If you recently painted a car, it will be good to avoid this practice.
  • It’s nearly impossible to wash the car properly with a bike rack. Hence, the task will be incomplete, and your money could be wasted.

To avoid these potential problems, removing the bike rack before taking your vehicle through an automatic carwash may be best. If that’s impossible, ensure the bike rack is securely attached.

Moreover, you should communicate with the carwash attendant before the wash to ask them to take extra care around the bike rack area.

Do as you please, but be careful since many sensitive issues are attached to this task.

However, you shouldn’t worry too much. Nowadays, you can rely on some carwash services. Some services are too good that they’ll bear any responsibilities in case of any damage made due to your car accessories, such as the bike rack.

As a result, things become convenient. So, you can find out one of them and contact them if you’ve to go through a carwash with a bike rack. For DIY carwash, you can choose Adam’s Arsenal Builder 21 Item Car Wash Kit.

Why Shouldn’t You Go Through a Carwash with a Bike Rack?

Why Shouldnt You Go Through a Carwash with a Bike Rack

The reason is simple: going through a car wash with a bike rack without damaging it is too difficult. You’ll have to face various problems while doing it. Besides, if you choose to do an automated car wash, there won’t be adequate clearance between every brush and roller.

The brush can get stuck on the bike rack and cause problems. Further, your bike might get vandalized if it has to deal with high-pressure water jets and chemical applications.

How Can I Clean My Bike Rack at Home?

Cleaning a bike rack at home isn’t a difficult task. All you need is a garden hose to do it perfectly. You can feel safe using a garden hose since it won’t harm anything and can do the task perfectly.

Furthermore, you can also use a power washer to clean the bike. But you should be careful that the washer won’t remove the rack’s paint. So, if you want to use a power washer, take more time and do the task slowly. After washing, use a microfiber towel to clean the rack.

Will Bike Racks Get Corroded or Rust?

Yes, bike racks can get corroded or rust over time. It’s not a surprising matter. Bike racks are typically made from materials such as steel or aluminum. These elements are usually prone to rust and corrosion, especially if exposed to road moisture or salt.

Do you live in an area with high humidity? Then you must keep an eye on your bike rack and take steps to prevent rust and corrosion. Regular cleaning and maintenance can also help prevent rust and corrosion from forming on your bike rack.

If you notice any signs of rust or corrosion on your bike rack, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. You can use a rust remover or sandpaper to remove the rust. After that, apply a protective coating such as paint or a rust inhibitor to help prevent further corrosion.

How Much Speed Should I Keep When Driving My Car with a Bike Rack?

Generally, driving a car at a low speed with a bike rack on the top is widely recommended. You shouldn’t drive more than 80 mph with a bike rack. Besides, the bike rack can become a suicide bomb if it is not mounted correctly on the rooftop.

Therefore, you shouldn’t drive at high speed while driving a car. I recommend you check the user manual provided by the manufacturing company to learn about the speed limit.

How Can I Take Care of My Bike Rack?

Since a bike rack is an expensive product, it would be wise to take care of it. But, how can you do it? Well, the first thing you should do is to clean it regularly. After use, try to wipe off the grime and residues using a clean and microfiber cloth.

When you wash the bike rack, use a soft detergent or mild soap with pure water. Further, try to use oil on moving parts to prevent extra residues.

After washing the rack, check whether any wear and tear have happened. Moreover, during washing, don’t use strong water. Otherwise, the paint can be damaged. When you’re not using it, detach it from the car and store it in a cold and spacious place.

Further, when you attach it to the car, tighten it carefully. If it is not mounted correctly, there’s a strong possibility that it will get loose, and an unexpected incident can happen.

Final Words on Carwash with a Bike Rack

Yes, modern bike racks are so strong and have the capability to withstand any adverse weather condition. However, if you want to go to an automatic carwash, it will be suicidal. So, if you ask me if you can go through a carwash with a bike rack – I will say you can go if you choose a touchless or hand wash method.

Am I clear? I hope so. But still, if you want an automatic wash, please detach the rack from the car’s top. Don’t waste your hard-earned money by decreasing the car’s and rack’s lifespan and efficiency. So, this was the discussion from me. If you still have more queries, please ask them in the box below.

Automotive products are like an addiction to me. Years ago, I started my job at a Roof Box installation co. Then I realized that I have a passion for cars. It is a perfect scope to share my different experiences about automotive products.