Automatic Car Wash with a Bike Rack: Is It a Good Idea?


Updated on November 23, 2021
Hitch Bike Rack

Attaching bike racks to your car seems like a convenient and effective choice that helps you transport the bike without compromising the cabin space or the look of the car.

While they are convenient to use, attaching or removing them is quite a hassle.

That’s why people often prefer to leave them on for extended times.

The question is if it’s possible to keep them on while going through an automatic car wash? Let’s find out.

Can I Go Through a Carwash with a Bike Rack?

The quick answer is no. It’s a bad idea to use an automatic car wash with any peripheral attachments like a bike rack or roof storage.

Automatic car washes use precise robotic arms and other brush systems that might get stuck in the gaps and cause damage.

Saving a little time by not removing these attachments can often backfire and cause damage to both your car and the washing system in place.

That’s why you’ll often see signs on most car washes that recommend removing any modifications or aftermarket attachments from the car before you enter.

What Could Go Wrong If I Go Ahead with A Bike Rack?

As stated before, automatic car washes are not designed to accommodate aftermarket modifications.

The most obvious problem you could face deals with damage to your car or the washing system. Parts of the carwash system may tangle with the car, which may lead to a lot of damage.

Another problem you could also face is the damage to your fittings.

Car bodies undergo a lot of processes to ensure no water damage or issues due to moisture.

Bike racks and other fittings are not designed like that. Exposure to water may cause rust and other damages to the fittings, which damage the paint or other exterior features of your car.

Your car and the washing systems are not the only things that may get damaged.

The bike rack or any other attachment may fall on other cars in the line.

Since no car wash or manufacturers recommend going through automatic car washes with the bike rack, the responsibility, and all the liability will be on you.

Apart from bike racks, are there any other attachments I should avoid

Yes. You need to avoid all kinds of aftermarket attachments if you are planning to visit an automatic car wash.

Bike racks, roof racks, carriers, and all other kinds of aftermarket attachments generally come with explicit warnings and instructions to not visit any automatic car washes.

Even if you don’t see any warning signs, it’s still important for you to remain careful.

It’s general knowledge that any aftermarket attachment doesn’t work with automatic car washes, so the ultimate responsibility will still be at you at the end of the day.

I Don’t Want to Remove My Bike Racks. What Should I do?

The best choice for you is to go for manual car washes or a touchless car wash. In the case of a manual wash, you’ll be careful not to damage anything and safely clean your car.

Touchless car washes are another option for you as they don’t come with any mechanical arm or brush.

All it takes is a combination of water and other self-drying chemicals to get the job done and get a squeaky-clean car.

Final Thoughts

Bike racks are a convenient accessory that can help keep your bike safe without any compromise. However, you need to make some exceptions if you want to use them safely. Removing bike racks from your car only takes a few minutes and doing so will keep your cars safe.

The next best option for you is to either go for handwashing services or a touchless car wash service.

This way, you won’t have any liability without compromising on the experience of getting a spotless car.

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