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Can I Go Through A Car Wash With Ski Rack?

Car Wash With Ski Rack

Some people don’t think twice about going through a car wash with ski rack on thinking what could possibly go wrong.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of reported incidents where people have had their ski racks severely damaged or even ripped off by going through a car wash.

In most cases, the damage is caused by the racks getting caught on the brushes or other moving parts of the car wash.

In this post, I’ll talk about why you should NEVER go through a car wash with ski rack.

Why Is A Car Wash With Ski Rack A Bad Idea?

Ski racks or just about any type of roof racks are external parts attached to your vehicle and it was never the intended design for your vehicle. 

Why Is A Car Wash With Ski Rack A Bad Idea

Car washes have designed their equipment with the idea of a vehicle’s design in mind which doesn’t account for any of these external modifications. So, when there’s something external used in the vehicles these car wash equipment will not work as they were intended to.

Having a ski rack attached to the roof of your vehicle while going through a car wash is a bad idea because two things can happen – either your ski rack is going to get damaged (or worse your vehicle), or the car wash’s equipment might break. 

Also read our guide on how to make a DIY ski roof rack.

And there is also the probability that both of these things would happen. Either way, you will have to pay the price.

Let’s take a look at these in more details:

How Your Ski Racks Can Sustain Damage

When you enter a car wash your vehicle will be moved through something similar to a conveyer belt. 

The exact equipment used during this process may vary depending on whether it’s an automatic or tunnel wash, but in both cases, large rotating brushes soaked in soap and water will go all over the vehicle.

This equipment is designed to thoroughly clean and wash your car as it moves through the wash. And the problem with this is that these bushes can get stuck in between the ski rack with the force it’s rotating with, it can damage or completely break the ski rack.

Plus, the exposure to excessive water and soap can lead the ski rack to rust which will eventually cause it to break quickly. 

How The Car Wash Equipment Break

The car washing equipment can break in the same way as your ski rack gets damaged. When the brushes or similar equipment gets stuck in the ski rack, they can get ripped off from the machine. 

Or the broken parts of the ski rack that got stuck in the equipment can get wedged in between the rotating part and force the machine to stop rotating which will either force it over or break the machine.

How To Clean Under Roof Rack

If you want to clean under the roof or ski rack, hand washing is the best method out of all the other car washes.

How To Clean Under Roof Rack

Also read our guide on how to secure skis in a truck bed.

This way the risk of damaging your vehicle or the ski rack is low, however this can be more expensive than the other types of car washes. Or you can do this yourself which will save you the money.

Yet, it is best if the roof rack is removed before washing because it will be easier to wash the roof. Plus, it will prevent water pooling from the roof racks into the roof of the vehicle which causes rust.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that going to a car wash with ski racks intact is a bad idea as your ski rack or the washing equipment can take a turn for the worse. Plus, most car washes will not allow vehicles with ski racks or other roof racks to enter their car wash.

So, the next time you go to a car wash, remove the ski rack or any other attachable rack from the roof. Or you can always hand wash it at home, or get someone to do it.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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