A tonneau is a section of a car or truck that is open at the top. It can be used for transporting cargo. Tonneau covers are a hard or soft enclosure that covers the tonneau for protecting the cargo from weather elements during transit. Tonneau covers can get damaged during a carwash and should be removed before it.
Hard Tonneau Covers
Hard tonneau covers are made of fiberglass. They are sturdy and more durable than soft tonneau covers. These covers are better equipped to handle the rigors of an automatic car wash without getting damaged. They are fixed to the vehicle and can overlap the bed, rails, and tailgate. Hard tonneau covers are costlier than soft tonneau covers. However, they are sturdier and more long-lasting. They provide better value for money than soft tonneau covers in the long run. There are more styling options with hard tonneau covers. You can paint the hinged covers to match the color of your vehicles to make a style statement.
Soft Tonneau Covers
Soft tonneau covers are more flexible but less durable than hardcovers. They are weather-resistant but do not provide complete protection from moisture. You can expect some amount of moisture to seep inside, which may damage the cargo. Soft tonneau covers may not withstand automatic car washes. They can get easily damaged. It is easier to remove soft tonneau covers. Generally, these covers are attached to the vehicle through Velcro or straps that can be removed instantly. You should regularly inspect your soft tonneau cover for signs of wear and tear and permanent damage.
Dangers to Tonneau Cover from Automatic Car Wash
Automatic car washes are convenient for most car owners. They are fast, convenient, and affordable. They are perfect for people who do not have the time and energy to clean their vehicles manually. However, if your vehicle has a tonneau cover, then automatic car washes may not be your best bet. There are chances of tonneau cover getting damaged during automatic car washes due to the following reasons:
Spinning brushes are the most important part of an automatic car wash. They use friction to thoroughly scrub the surface of a car and clean it. Spinning brushes can remove stubborn dirt and grime from the car’s surface. However, the friction caused by these spinning brushes can be especially damaging for soft tonneau covers. It can cause scratches or even completely damage parts of the cover. However, if you use a good quality tonneau cover, then it may be able to withstand the friction of spinning brushes and not get damaged.
The dryer fans used in automatic car washes are powerful. They are used for drying moist surfaces on your vehicle. These fans use static pressure for drying moist surfaces. The use of static pressure causes the static pressure on the tonneau cover to become more than the atmospheric pressure. This can cause severe unwanted pressure on the tonneau cover and damage it. The power of these dryer fans can cause tonneau covers to blow suddenly if they are not properly secured. This can cause damage to the cover or even worse, it can damage your vehicle.
Car washes have nozzles that can spray water with high pressure. The dynamics of such a high-pressure water stream on your car is completely different from the rain. These high-pressure water jets can hit your car from different directions at high speeds. If your vehicle’s tonneau cover is not securely fixed, it can allow water to enter inside the truck bed. This can damage the underside of the tonneau cover and also any cargo that may be in the truck bed. Tonneau covers are designed to be only weather-resistant and not completely waterproof. Even when the cover is completely secure, a small amount of water may still enter inside the truck bed.
Contrary to popular belief, car washes may not be completely hygienic. Many vehicles are washed in a car wash daily. Most of these vehicles may contain a considerable amount of dirt and contaminants. In some cases, debris from these vehicles can get stuck with spinning brushes in an automatic car wash. This residual debris can be dangerous for the tonneau covers. They can easily damage the covers when they come in contact with it. Though the possibility of it is low, there is still a chance that it can damage your tonneau cover. Automatic car washes have powerful dryer fans that can toss around small rocks that may dent hard tonneau covers.
Manual Car Washes
Automatic car washes may not be suitable for your vehicle if it has a tonneau cover. As mentioned above, tonneau covers can be damaged during automatic car washes. Hence, you can explore manual car washes in such cases. Manual car wash offers you complete control over the direction and speed of water during washing. This helps you to decide the exact places where water will come in contact with the cover. You can use lesser water to ensure that water does not enter the truck bed.
If you decide to do a manual car wash by yourself, then be careful about the use of cleaners. They should be gentle and free from harsh chemicals. Silicon and petroleum-based cleaners can be damaging for soft tonneau covers. They can get easily damaged from such harsh cleaners and you will need to replace them.
Waterless Hand Cleaning
Waterless hand-cleaning is the best way to clean tonneau covers. It will prevent any damage to the cover and ensure its durability. There are cleaners available in the market for cleaning your vehicle’s tonneau cover. You need to apply the cleaner on the cover using a soft cloth. Once the cleaner is applied, wipe it using another cloth. This will clean the tonneau cover and keep them in good condition. The only drawback of this method is that it is labor-intensive. You will need to remove the tonneau cover from the vehicle and clean it manually. After completing the cleaning process, you will need to fix it back on to the vehicle.