Going through an automatic car wash with a bike rack on sounds like a good idea. You get both your car and bike rack clean (it’s a 2 for 1 special).
And you don’t have to take it off your car just to put it back on when you’re done.
Can you go through a carwash with a bike rack?
You should NEVER leave your bike rack on your car while going through an automatic car wash. Most car wash companies have a sign warning people not to have bike racks on their cars.
In this guide we’ll explain why and what happens to cars that go through car washes with bike racks.
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What Happens When You Go Through A Automatic Carwash With A Bike Rack
Automatic car washes can really mess up your bike rack because of the huge spinning brushes used to clean your car.
The brushes will get tangled up with your bike rack and RIP your bike rack off your car. Or cause screws to come loose without you knowing it. Eventually your bike rack will fall off your car because of it.
Speaking of falling off…
If your bike rack does fall, it could hit the car behind you. Now you have to pay for a new bike rack and cover the damages to the other car.
Read More: Best Bike Rack For Honda CRV
Roof racks can be pulled straight off your roof. If you are using crossbars they can get damaged from the roof rack coming off your car (that’s another insurance claim!).
You could also cause damage to the car wash. Those brushes cost THOUSANDS of dollars to replace.
Can I Go Through A Touchless Carwash With A Bike Rack
Do you have a touchless car wash in your area? Can you keep a bike rack on your car if you go through one?
You can leave your bike rack on the car if you have a touchless car wash. Touchless car washes don’t use brushes to clean your car and are a much safer alternative.
They use high powered jets of water and detergents to clean your car. Nothing will come into contact with your car or bike rack to cause any damage.
Read More: Do Bike Racks Effect Fuel Efficiently
If you don’t want to clean your car yourself this is the best way to do it.
Things To Think About Before Going To A Carwash
Most bike rack manufacturers will have in their recommended instructions not to keep your bike rack on your car when you’re going through an automatic car wash.
Some manufactures even have it written that if you go through an automatic car wash with their bike rack you won’t be able to claim the warranty.
If the bike rack breaks you won’t be able to get a new one for free. That’s a ton of money down the drain.
Make sure to read your warranty before you decide if going through the car wash is worth it.
The Bottom Line
If you are going through an automatic car wash you shouldn’t leave your bike rack on your car. It doesn’t matter what type of bike rack you have on your car.
It might take more time to remove it and put it back when it’s done but it will save you money (and insurance claims).
Touchless car washes are the only safe option if you want to go through the car wash and leave your bike rack on your car.
Before you go to your car wash check your owners manual to see if your warranty will be voided out if the bike rack is damaged while using a carwash.