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Who doesn't love an automatic car wash? Fast, convenient, and affordable, automated washes are perfect for truck owners who don't have the time or patience to wash their pickups by hand. However, if your truck is equipped with a tonneau cover, you might wonder whether or not an automatic car wash could damage the cover. While there isn't a hard and fast answer to this question, following these guidelines will help you prevent any potential damage a car wash could do to your tonneau.
Note: for the purposes of this article we are strictly addressing the issue of tonneau covers in automatic car washes, not the pros and cons of different car washing methods.
Car Washes With Spinning Brushes
We recommend that you remove your tonneau cover prior to going through a car wash that uses spinning brushes. There are a couple of reasons to avoid these car washes, chief among them the obvious possibility of a rolling brush damaging the top of the cover via abrasion. A second reason is that over time the side brushes can smack your tonneau cover's rails hard enough to dislodge the clamps that hold it in place, which at the very least means having to reinstall the rail and at the worst could cause damage to the cover. While there are plenty of videos online showing tonneau covers going through a car wash without any damage, some of these issues are more cumulative than immediate.