Can You Go Through a Carwash With a Bike Rack?

Bike racks are excellent tool to carry your bicycles for both on and off-road trips. It is not daunting to install a bike rack in a car. However, it is hardly a two-minute process for some rack types. So the idea of needing to attach and detach each time you get your car washed sounds inconvenient.

Is it possible to keep the bike rack attached when you intend to wash your car? Is it safe to keep it on or do you detach it?

You are going to find the answers below.

Car Wash with Bike Rack – Is It Safe?

I suggest removing the bike rack completely while going into a car wash just to be cautious.

You gamble damaging your car or your bike rack if you do not.

I will go over different types of carwashes and how you should approach them in the sections below.

Related reading: Best Bike Rack For SUV Reviews & Buying Guide

Automatic Carwash

Never – this is the answer for this one. Automated car washes are made specifically for the vehicle. The sensors can sense the car’s sides and determine whether to move or spin. Many car washes require you to detach your car ariel just to make sure it does not get caught in the large rotating brushes.

A similar situation might arise with the bike rack. The roller might proceed to slide down the back window and miss the rack, causing it to be ripped off. This would most probably cause harm to the bike rack as well as the car.

Read more: Do You Leave Your Bike Rack on Your Car?

Touchless Carwash

You may reduce the chance of harming any element of your car and bike rack by using the touchless carwash method. Because the touchless carwashes wash automobiles without any employment of brushes while using high water force and strong cleansers.

Unfortunately, the dangers are not entirely eliminated. Strong water pressure, for instance, still can harm your car’s roof rack. Some car owners claim these touchless mechanisms have never been a concern for them, but many others have stated that they might potentially be a headache, so it is important assessing the hazards.

Self-Serve Carwash

Is it safer to go for a self-serve vehicle wash rather than an automatic or touchless car wash to remove dirt and residue? You would assume yes since the rack structure is unaffected by conveyor straps or other gear.

These vehicle washes, on the other hand, spray water at 1,000 to 1,200 PSI, including many reaching 2,200 PSI. This level of force is unsafe since it can tear the paint off the rack or perhaps shatter the parts.

Related reading: Best Bell Bike Rack Reviews

Things You Should Remember

There are so many things that can go wrong if you leave your bike rack on the car during the car wash:

  • pieces of the carwash equipment can catch and twist in the racks, causing breakage to the couplings,
  • rack can be dragged off the top by the carwash, tumbling off and injuring your automobile, as well as the vehicle next to you, and nullifying the company’s warranty.

Before driving into an automatic vehicle wash, check the bike rack owner’s handbook to find out whether they suggest detaching the gear. It is recommended to check for warnings and provisos that will shield the carwash provider from any legal actions for damages that may arise as a result of employing their carwash process.

If there are no indications or cautions displayed, talk to the attendant and inquire if it is okay to run the carwash with a car rack mounted.

Carwashes are not liable for damage to automobiles that are excessively tall or get accessories that turn them excessively tall, such as roof racks, vehicles with a sports, bike, or cargo rack attached, backup tire racks, or lengthy antennae, only if anything else is mentioned. You must not carry those objects into the carwash equipment if the carwash says they are not accountable for such.

Read more: Are Bike Racks Covered By Car Insurance?

Taking Care of Bike Rack

To keep your bike rack in good shape, maintain cleanliness, allow it to move smoothly, and store it when not being used. The easiest method to keep it clean is to wipe it off following each usage to prevent grime and dirt from accumulating.

And clean it by hand every month or so using soaps and brushes. Finally, oil-moving components and latches if necessary to prevent additional grime and grease.

If your regular hosepipe is not cutting it for the harshest filth, consider investing in a power nozzle adapter or renting a pressure washer. Once you have cleaned the bike rack, take a peek at any wear and tear from normal use and double-check that things are in functional condition.

When not in service, it is also a good idea to preserve your tidy bike rack. The rack’s lifespan will be extended as a result of this.

Related reading: Best Spare Tire Bike Rack Reviews & Buying Guide


While bike racks are built to withstand the outdoors and pollution on the road, these are not meant to pass through an automated carwash, particularly ones featuring a brush system.

Before going to an automatic carwash or handwashing your car, we recommend spending a few minutes detaching the bike rack.

You will reduce the chance of legal liabilities to the carwash provider, as well as degrading your automobile and your excellent bike rack if you take this simple step.

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