Can My Vehicle Go Through a Carwash? (13 Scenarios)

Going through a carwash is a convenient way to keep your vehicle clean and maintain its appearance. However, various factors can affect whether your specific vehicle is suitable for a carwash. 

In this article, we will explore different scenarios and provide insights into whether your vehicle can go through a carwash.

By understanding these scenarios, you can make your decision and ensure a safe and cleansing carwash experience for your vehicle.

Here’s When Your Vehicle Can Go Through a Carwash:

When going to a car wash, it’s crucial to keep a few things in mind. First, ensure your vehicle is free of any loose parts, and verify if the facility will allow your vehicle type since some have size restrictions. Finally, if there are any specific requirements, review the facility’s guidelines.

Can a Lowered Car Go Through a Carwash?

Lowered cars, which have been customized to have a lower ride height for increased performance or cosmetics, may have difficulty going through a carwash. 

The biggest concern is the carwash’s clearance height, which relates to the greatest height that a vehicle can pass through without incident.

To accommodate various cars, carwashes normally have a specified clearance height. Some carwashes, however, may have lower clearance heights that are incompatible with lowered vehicles with very limited ground clearance. 

If the carwash’s clearance height is too low, the lowered car’s undercarriage, front lip, or various parts could strike against the carwash equipment or the surface of the ground.

It is probably okay to proceed if the measured ground clearance of your lowered vehicle is comfortably lower than the carwash’s clearance height. 

If the ground clearance is close to or exceeds the clearance height of the carwash, it is best to find another carwash with a greater clearance or explore handwashing your vehicle instead.

Can Cars With Spoilers Go Through a Carwash?

Spoiler-equipped vehicles can usually be washed without incident. 

Most carwashes may accommodate cars with spoilers as long as they are within the regular height and/or width range. 

However, it’s always a good idea to double-check the carwash’s precise clearance height to ensure that your car’s spoiler doesn’t get scraped or damaged during the washing process.

Can Cars With Sunroofs Go Through a Carwash?

Cars with sunroofs may typically be washed without incident. Sunroofs are weather-sealed and able to endure a variety of weather conditions, including contact with water and pressure.

The seals around the sunroof are designed to keep water out of the vehicle when it rains or goes through a carwash. This means that the sunroof should not leak or cause any water-related issues in most circumstances when passing through a carwash.

To ensure a smooth, dry, and worry-free carwash encounter, close the sunroof completely before entering the carwash. Closing the sunroof also protects the mechanical and electrical components of the sunroof system. 

While sunroofs are generally water-resistant, it is crucial to note that extended or excessive exposure to high-pressure water from the carwash may surpass what they can withstand.

It’s a good thing that the water pressure in most standard carwashes is unlikely to cause an issue for a well-maintained sunroof.

Please also read our article about common problems with car sunroofs.

Can a Dually Go Through a Carwash (Dual Rear-Wheel Truck)?

Many carwashes can accommodate dually trucks, which have dual rear wheels. 

However, it is critical to examine the clearance height and width of the specific carwash to ensure that it can accept the larger dimensions of a dually truck. 

Furthermore, if the dually truck has modifications that may cause damage to the carwash equipment, such as extended fenders or aftermarket pieces, it’s a good idea to check with the carwash staff to see if it’s safe to proceed.

What Are the Biggest Vehicles That Can Go Through a Carwash?

The maximum vehicle size that can pass through a carwash varies based on the carwash’s design and equipment. 

Some carwashes are constructed specifically for larger vehicles such as vans, SUVs, and trucks. 

To determine the maximum vehicle size restrictions contact the carwash directly or visit their website. They may inform you of height, width, and length limitations.

Rest assured that a car wash is available to meet the demands of every motorist. 

Can You Go Through a Carwash With Temporary Plates?

In general, having temporary license plates should not hinder you from using a carwash. 

Carwashes primarily focus on cleaning the vehicle’s exterior and have no limits on temporary license plates, which are often kept on the interior of the vehicle. 

Nonetheless, if your temporary plates are made of paper or another material that may be damaged when exposed to water pressure, it’s best to remove them before driving through the carwash.

Can Cars With Antennas Go Through a Carwash?

Cars with antennae can normally be washed without incident. 

Most carwashes are equipped to handle vehicles with antennas, whether fixed or retractable. 

However, before entering the carwash, make sure the antenna is firmly fastened or retracted to avoid any potential damage or entanglement with the carwashing equipment.

Can You Go Through a Carwash With Roof Bars On?

The ability to use a carwash with roof bars is dependent on the specific carwash and the design of your roof bars. 

Some carwashes have height restrictions that may prevent vehicles with roof bars from being washed, especially if the bars greatly raise the total height of the vehicle. 

Although driving through a car wash with roof bars should not be a problem in most circumstances, it’s a good idea to verify the clearance height of the carwash and compare it to the height of your vehicle with roof bars fitted. 

You should be able to go through the carwash with roof bars on if the clearance is sufficient, but it’s always a good idea to double-check with the carwash staff to assure compatibility.

Can You Go Through a Carwash With a Roof Box?

A vehicle can go through a carwash with a roof box attached if the carwash can accommodate the total height of your vehicle. 

Therefore, if the carwash has height restrictions, be sure your vehicle, including the top box, fits inside those limits. 

Consider the following before moving your vehicle with a roof box into a carwash:

  • Check to see whether the carwash has height limits that will allow your vehicle and roof box to be washed.
  • Assemble the roof box tightly to prevent movement or damage from high-pressure water and brushes.
  • Ensure the roof box is securely latch to avoid any water getting inside.
  • Consult the carwash regulations on how to properly go through a carwash.

Can You Go Through a Carwash With a Cracked Windshield?

Going through a carwash with a cracked windscreen is generally not advised. 

Carwashes clean the vehicle with high-pressure water and hard brushes, which can place extra strain on the already damaged reliability of a broken windscreen. 

The force and impact can aggravate the crack, causing it to spread deeper across the glass. 

This not only jeopardizes the structural integrity of the windscreen, but it can also reduce visibility and raise the chance of further damage or even shattering during the carwash.

It is best to have your cracked windscreen repaired or replaced before going through a carwash to safeguard your vehicle.

Can a Soft Top Go Through a Carwash?

Soft-top vehicles, such as convertibles with fabric or vinyl roofs, can typically go through a carwash. 

However, it’s important to ensure that the carwash is compatible with soft-top vehicles. Some carwashes may have restrictions or guidelines for convertible tops to minimize the risk of damage. 

It’s recommended to check with the carwash staff or the vehicle manufacturer to determine if the carwash is suitable for your specific soft-top vehicle.

Can Tonneau Covers Go Through a Carwash?

Tonneau covers, which are utilized to cover the cargo compartment of pickup trucks, are normally intended to withstand water exposure and can usually be washed without damage. 

However, you can still prevent wear and tear that occurs throughout the washings process.

To do this, all you need to do is make sure the tonneau cover is correctly secured and fastened before entering the carwash.

To ensure compatibility with carwashes, you should also review the manufacturer’s requirements for the exact tonneau cover model you have.

Can You Go Through a Carwash With Decals?

Whether it is safe to drive through a carwash with decals or signage depends on various conditions. 

Consider the individual carwash and its facilities first. Some carwashes use high-pressure water jets or abrasive brushes, which can damage decals if they are not firmly fastened.

Furthermore, the kind and quality of decals can affect how resistant they are to the carwash process. If you have recently added fresh decals, be sure they are fully attached to the vehicle’s body before offering them to the potentially damaging forces involved in a carwash.

It is best to consult with the carwash staff and follow any advice they provide regarding decal suitability with their washing methods.

Can Convertibles Go Through a Carwash?

Convertibles may usually be washed without incident as long as the convertible top is correctly secured and closed. 

Most carwashes are equipped for cleaning convertibles and have protocols in place to safeguard convertible tops from damage during the washing process. 

To avoid any problems (like soaking your interior), it’s best to make sure the convertible top is securely latched before approaching the carwash. 

Once again, if the vehicle manufacturer has any concerns or specific directions, it is always advisable to follow their rules.


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