Can You Take A Truck With A Tonneau Cover Through A Car Wash?

Automatic car wash is the most preferred of them all because it gives you convenience and perfection in no time at all, especially for those of us that neither have the patience nor the time to do it ourselves.

When it comes to a truck that adorns a tonneau cover, we may be tempted to ask whether it is really safe to pass them through an automatic car wash considering that so many factors that are in play. Even though there may not be a ready-made answer to that question, certain hints and details will enable us to proffer very apt answers to that question.

So can you take a truck with a tonneau cover through a car wash? It is highly advisable that you remove your tonneau cover before subjecting your truck to any washing with brushes (Especially when using an automatic car wash with spinning brushes).

This is necessary in order to avoid any rolling brushes from damaging the top of the cover through abrasions.

Secondly, if tonneau covers are subjected to automatic washing over time, they are likely to get their rails smacked so hard as to dislodge the clamps that hold them in place.

As this continues, you may have to re-install the rails or in extreme cases even replace the cover entirely.

Read Also: Can You Put A Tonneau Cover On A Leased Truck? Find Out

Whatever the case may be, we want to have our tonneau cover thoroughly washed without getting them affected or damaged in the process. Automatic car washing is done through various methods, and for us to give them adequate and fair coverage in this matter, we shall take them in turns, based on any harm they may pose to truck tonneau covers.

Touch-Free Car Washes

It is most preferable that your tonneau cover goes through a touch-free car wash if you must get it automatically washed. This method of washing uses sensors to gauge the size of your vehicle and its contours.

This will enable satisfactory cleaning, using water and soap only, without applying either brushes or injurious chemicals.

This method of cleaning is good for your truck cover since nothing touches it other than pressurized water. However, ascertain that the touch-free car wash does have a wax cycle. This is because automotive waxes are liable to stain your truck cover with an ugly film or haze on its surface.

Preferably, therefore, you can remove your truck bed cover, if you are going through an automated car wash, after which you can wash the tonneau cover by hand and apply a suitable protectant at the end. In any case, avoid the use of waxes on your truck bed covers.

Read Also: Can I Use Tire Shine On Tonneau Covers?

Hand Washing Your Truck Bed Covers

This method of cleaning your tonneau cover is arguably the best of them all because it prevents any damage due to swirling particles of dirt or sand, as may be found in automatic brushes.

Read Also: How Do You Open A Tonneau Cover When Tailgate Won’t Open? 

How Does Washing Affect Your Tonneau Cover?

Washing your tonneau cover may affect it due to the scratching effect of the brushes on its surface or even particles of sand or dirt that may lodge in its bristles. Additionally, some washing chemicals are complicit in causing damage to the surface of your truck covers by their corrosive nature.

Whatever happens, make sure that during cleaning your truck covers, physical contact with their surface is limited as much as possible, except by highly pressurized water mixed with harmless chemicals.

Are There Companies That Produces Tonneau Covers Which Are Car Wash Safe?

Tonneau covers are different with regards to the qualities of materials used in their production, and even though the companies usually claim that their truck covers are car wash safe, it is however only logical to understand that the softer they are, the more vulnerable they are expected to be too.

For this reason, harder truck covers are inarguably the most resistant to the effects of washing than all others. Some big companies that produce car wash resistant truck covers include TonnoPro, Line-X, Gatos Covers, Tuxedo, Pace Edwards, Trident, Back Industries and UnderCover.

Despite all their assurances, it is best to be as careful as possible with your prized asset by strictly following all known preventive measures.

Are There Likely Damages Caused By Automatic Car Wash To Tonneau Covers?

Yes, there are. Automatic car wash utilizes a system of washing that involves the use of brushes dipped in water containing soap, detergent and certain chemicals to affect washing. As a result of this, the surface of truck covers are prone to scratches from these bristles, as well as from sand particles that may get caught in them.

Furthermore, some of the chemicals mixed with water in the washing solution are known to be very injurious to the polished surfaces of truck covers.

There is also the issue of waxes, which some companies use in washing truck covers, that may eventually leave stains or an ugly haze on the surfaces of tonneau covers.

Why Is Automatic Car Wash Dangerous To Truck Covers?

Most tonneau cover manufacturers claim that their products can indeed withstand automatic washing. Though this may not be entirely true, and for this reason, you are on safer terrain if you are as careful as possible.

To start with, avoid automatic washing with spinning brushes which are meant to scrub off dirt sticking onto various vehicle parts, especially very soft surfaces. It is worthy of note that high-quality tonneau covers can actually withstand these brushes quite impressively.

Most automatic car washing involves the use of dryer fans that utilize static pressure to dry off moisture from surfaces. The pressure used here is liable to contribute to the damage to truck coverings.

This is because any increase in pressure in excess of normal atmospheric pressure on truck covers can cause stress on it leading to premature damage. The water used in an automatic car wash is somewhat slightly different from that which we know ordinarily such as rainwater.

For this reason, your truck bed may come to some harm if a strong torrent of water continuously hit it from different directions repeatedly.

Automatic car washes may sometimes bear debris from cars previously washed which can eventually scratch your own vehicle. There is also the possibility of dryer fans blowing small rocks that are quite capable of denting your truck covers.

If Automatic Car Wash Isn’t The Solution, What Then Is The Right Way To Wash Truck Bed Covers?

Hand washing your tonneau cover with a premium soft convertible top cleaning brush is adjudged the best method to clean them because in this way you are most likely going to prevent any damage from washing bristles or sand gravels caught them.

You are also likely to clean them more thoroughly since you will observe and concentrate on areas that require more attention than others.

What Damages Tonneau Covers Quickly?

The first and most important measure to keep your truck cover safe is the proper use and washing. Ensure that you use only recommended chemicals and soap while avoiding others like detergent, shampoo or bleaching solutions. You may want to check this Wolfsteins Tonneau Cover Care Kit out on Amazon

During cleaning, make sure that you don’t rough handle them to avoid premature cracks. Always make sure that you store your truck and its cover properly by parking it away from the sun to avoid degradation.

Similarly, do not always carry loads or cargo that are beyond the capacity of your truck bed as this is likely to put extra strain on your truck cover and hence make it susceptible to premature damage.

When carrying any cargo, make sure to place them rearward and in a central position as well as securing them from swaying in-necessarily while in transit.

This measure will both safeguard your truck cover and its locks and latches. Finally, even though most truck cover manufacturers claim that their products can withstand your weight, never take the risk of standing on them unless when such is completely unavoidable.

If Using Chemical Isn’t Ideal On A Truck Cover, What Do You Clean A Truck Cover With?

Certainly, some washing chemicals do significant damage to truck covers particularly the soft vinyl types. For this reason, you are required to always use clean water and ordinary soap in cleaning them.

For those tonneau covers that are manufactured from polyvinyl chloride, you are advised to use a vinyl top cleaning and care kit – which cleans and helps protects vinyl tops

Avoid using harmful chemicals like bleach, shampoo, detergents, dishwashing solutions or other hard preparations.

What Measures Can I Take To Safeguard My Tonneau Cover?

Tonneau covers are made from leather, vinyl or any soft and flexible materials for the protection of the interior of any convertible whose top is soft. They are also used to protect the luggage in a pickup truck’s bed from dirt and all other foreign objects.

How do we prolong the life span of our tonneau truck covers? To start with, always check it up for wear outs, looseness and any debris that may get caught in its fabric.

Similarly, always check the mounting hardware to ensure that all bolts and clamps are held tight. In addition, you are required to lubricate the locks and latches regularly with lubricants like Teflon or silicon spray. Most importantly, keep abreast of all maintenance guidelines and other suggestions from the manufacturers.

Finally, whenever you are cleaning your tonneau covers, be sure to park your truck in a cool shaded place such as under a tree or an open aerated garage.

You should first wash the lid with clean soapy water. Flood the lid with mild soap water to eliminate any grit that may scratch its surface when wiping.

Thereafter, using a hose, rinse the cover very well while making sure that all traces of soap and water are wiped off with a clean sponge or towel. Hose the whole car finally in order to guard against soapy water from streaking the car’s paint finish.

Injurious chemicals like bleach, shampoo, cleansers and so on must not be used. You are also advised against using hot water in cleaning your truck covers and for vinyl truck covers, you may apply some quality vinyl cleaner which can easily be obtained in virtually all auto shops around.

With the aid of a white cotton towel, wash the truck cover with a cleaner while following the instructions given by the cleaner manufacturers.

While washing the tonneau cover, never spot clean to guard against rings or bright spots on your truck covers. Always use only soft cotton cloth or sponges as cleaning equipment.

Rough abrasive pads must also be avoided in order to guard against scratches on the polished vinyl surface. Finally, you may repeat the cleaning, if you are dissatisfied with the result.


Truck bed covers are an indispensable acquisition for several very important reasons. To begin with, they protect your cargo from all glaring eyes, which may in extreme circumstances elicit a temptation and the eventual theft of your goods. In addition, truck covers protect what you are carrying from getting covered in dust and other particles of dirt.

To get the satisfaction you crave while using these covers depends on a lot of things. For instance, you must know exactly how best you can get them washed without any possible harm to them.

The way and manner you both mount and dismantle them on your truck also mean a lot and so does the arrangement of any cargo your truck may bear.

In this article, you have been told how best to position any cargo while in transit. All these are meant to ensure that your truck covers last for as long as possible.

There is the issue of selecting which truck covers will best serve your purpose and to satisfy that obvious want, you have been fully enlightened on how you should go about selecting them.

This started by telling you what to look for on truck covers whenever you need them, which is solely determined by the kind and size of the cargo you will be carrying regularly.

Know what you will be carrying and use that as a basis for your choice of truck covers. This will get you adequately covered.

Numerous producers of truck covers exist, however, some are more branded and reputable than others. It is for this reason that we made sure to introduce as many of them to you as possible so that in the end, you will make the most satisfying choice.

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