Roof Cross Bars Car Wash Expert Tips

roofpax roofrack featuring Aluminum Anti-Rust Crossbars

One common concern among car owners with roof racks is whether it's safe to go through a car wash with them installed. When you own a RoofPax Roof Rack Bundle, you're equipped for adventure, whether it's carrying camping gear, bicycles, or luggage. These handy accessories are perfect for outdoor equipment, but they also need some TLC to ensure they stay in top-notch condition.

However, maintaining your roof rack's performance and longevity is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of car washes with roof cross bars, and how to protect your investment, prevent potential damage, and keep your vehicle looking great. Discover everything you need to know to keep your RoofPax Roof Rack Cross Bars in top shape.

Is it OK to go through a car wash with a roof rack?

One common question that RoofPax roof rack owners often ask is whether it's safe to go through a car wash with their roof rack attached. Yes, but take some safety measures beforehand. RoofPax roof racks, like the Aluminum Anti-Rust Crossbars, are designed for durability. However, it's essential to ensure that your roof rack is properly secured and that you choose a car wash that can accommodate your vehicle's height.

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How to Wash Your Car With Roof Cross Bars

Now that you understand the potential risks, let's discuss how to wash your car with roof cross bars safely:

  • Choose the right car wash: Look for a reputable car wash facility that has experience with vehicles equipped with roof racks. Manual car washes, where you can oversee the process, are often a safer choice.
  • Inform the attendants: When you arrive at the car wash, let the attendants know that your vehicle has roof cross bars. This will alert them to take extra care while cleaning your car.
  • Secure your roof rack: Ensure that your roof cross bars are securely fastened before entering the car wash. Loose or improperly installed cross bars are more susceptible to damage.
  • Opt for touchless or soft-cloth washes: Whenever possible, choose car washes that use touchless cleaning methods or soft-cloth brushes instead of abrasive materials like hard brushes or rollers.
  • Regular inspections: After each car wash, inspect your roof rack for any signs of damage or loose components. Any problems should be resolved right away to avoid damage in the future.

Should the roof rack be removed when not in use?

One way to protect your roof cross bars from potential car wash damage is to remove them when not in use. While this may seem like an inconvenience, it can significantly extend the life of your roof rack. When the cross bars are not in place, you don't have to worry about them being exposed to the rigors of a car wash.

Consider investing in a roof rack bundle like RoofPax Combo, which includes convenient features for easy removal and storage of your roof cross bars when they're not needed. This not only protects your roof rack but also reduces wind resistance and improves fuel efficiency when you're not carrying cargo.

Regularly inspect your cross bars for any signs of wear or damage after a car wash.

What types of car washes can you use with roof bars?

When it comes to washing a car with roof cross bars, you have several options to consider:

  • Touchless car wash: These car washes use high-pressure water and specialized detergents to clean your vehicle without making physical contact. They are generally safer for your roof rack.
  • Self-service car wash: Self-service car wash stations allow you to wash your car using high-pressure hoses and brushes that you control. This hands-on approach gives you full control over cleaning your vehicle, reducing the risk of roof rack damage.
  • Hand wash: Opting for a hand wash, either by doing it yourself or hiring professionals, ensures a gentle and thorough cleaning process. Hand washing allows for careful attention to your roof cross bars.
  • Soft-cloth car wash: Car washes that use soft-cloth materials are less likely to cause damage to your roof rack compared to those with abrasive brushes or rollers.

Car Wash Policy

Many car wash facilities have specific policies regarding vehicles with roof cross bars. It's essential to be aware of these policies to make an informed choice:

  • Height restrictions: Some car washes may have height restrictions that prevent vehicles with roof cross bars from entering. Ensure that your car, including the roof rack and any cargo attached, complies with these restrictions.
  • Liability waivers: Some car washes may ask you to sign a liability waiver before they wash a vehicle with a roof rack. Read the waiver carefully and make sure you understand the terms before proceeding.
  • Extra charges: Car wash facilities may charge extra for vehicles with roof cross bars due to the additional time and care required to wash them safely. Inquire about any additional fees before entering the car wash.

Type of Roof Rack

The type of roof rack you have can also influence how you should approach car washes:

  • Fixed roof rack: Fixed roof racks are securely attached to your vehicle and are less likely to be affected by car washes. However, you should still follow the precautions mentioned earlier to ensure their longevity.
  • Removable roof rack: If you have a removable roof rack, it's a good idea to take it off before entering a car wash. This eliminates the risk of damage and ensures that the car wash is focused solely on your vehicle's exterior.
Avoid harsh scrubbing on the cross bars to prevent scratches.

How Can a Roof Rack Get Damage by a Car Wash?

  • High-pressure water jets: Some automatic car washes use powerful water jets to clean the vehicle's exterior. If these jets are directed at your roof rack from the wrong angle, they can potentially damage or loosen the cross bars. It's crucial to choose a car wash that is known for its careful handling of roof-mounted accessories.
  • Brushes and rollers: Automated car washes often employ brushes and rollers to scrub the car's surface. These components can make contact with your roof rack, potentially causing scratches or dents. To minimize this risk, ensure your roof rack is properly secured and consider choosing a car wash with soft, cloth-based cleaning materials.
  • Chemical detergents: Harsh chemicals used in some car washes can corrode metal parts over time. Regularly inspect your roof rack for signs of rust or corrosion, and if you notice any, promptly address the issue.


BuyRoofPax offers high-quality roof rack cross bars and accessories to enhance your outdoor adventures. Our adjustable Aluminum Anti-Rust Crossbars are designed for any vehicle with raised side rails, ensuring a secure and customized fit for bikes, roof boxes, camping gear, and more. 

Even if you have a rail-free car, RoofPax has you covered, providing cargo space without side rails. Explore our range of products and combo packages for added versatility and peace of mind on the road.

In Conclusion

It is generally safe to go through a car wash with a roof rack, but you must take precautions to minimize the risk of damage. Choose the right type of car wash, secure your roof rack properly, and consider removing it when not in use. Regular cleaning and maintenance will also help ensure the longevity of your roof cross bars. 

With the right care, your roof rack will continue to serve you well in all your vehicle adventures. And if you're looking for high-quality roof racks and accessories, don't forget to check out RoofPax for all your rooftop cargo needs.

FAQs: Roof Cross Bars Car Wash Expert Tips

Is it safe to go through a car wash with a roof rack installed?

Many car owners wonder if it's safe to take their vehicle with a RoofPax Roof Rack Bundle through a car wash. The answer is yes, but there are precautions to consider. Read on to learn how to ensure a safe car wash experience with your roof rack.

How should I wash my car with roof cross bars to prevent damage?

Discover expert tips on safely washing your vehicle with roof cross bars. From choosing the right car wash to securing your roof rack properly, we'll guide you through the steps to maintain your roof rack's longevity.

What types of car washes are suitable for vehicles with roof bars?

Learn about the various car wash options available for vehicles equipped with roof cross bars. Whether you prefer touchless, self-service, hand wash, or soft-cloth car washes, we'll help you make an informed choice for your roof rack's safety.

What are the car wash policies for vehicles with roof racks?

Before heading to a car wash, it's essential to understand the specific policies related to vehicles with roof racks. Find out about height restrictions, liability waivers, and any potential extra charges to avoid surprises during your car wash visit.

Should I remove my roof rack when it's not in use?

Discover the benefits of removing your roof cross bars when they're not needed. We'll explain how this simple step can protect your roof rack from car wash damage, improve fuel efficiency, and even extend the life of your roof rack bundle like RoofPax Combo.