Can You Go Through A Car Wash With A Kayak Rack?

Going through a carwash to get your car looking shiny and clean is an easy and almost effortless exercise without going through the hassle of doing it yourself. Many people even look forward to sitting in the car and enjoying the visual spectacle! But is it wise to go through an automatic car wash with your kayak rack?

Removing your kayak rack and any other car accessories is advisable before going through a car wash. The large brushes could become tangled in your rack and, in the worst case, pull them off your car, causing damage. There are also many other risks of going through a car wash with a kayak rack.

If you’re a kayak enthusiast, you probably leave your kayak rack on your car year-round, as it’s easier for those spontaneous adventures! Let’s walk you through the risks you face when taking your kayak rack through a car wash and what you may want to do instead!

Risks Of Going Through A Car Wash With A Kayak Rack

The average height of a car wash is about 84 inches or seven feet. The height may differ depending on your area, but this means that, theoretically, most vehicles with kayak racks can fit through the average automatic car wash. However, it is still not recommended, and the car wash company will advise you not to. 

A car with a kayak rack could run many risks during an automatic car wash. Let’s see what these are:

Car Wash Equipment Is Not Designed For Cars With Kayak Racks

The equipment in an automatic car wash, such as the top brushes, is specially designed for cleaning a car’s flat top surface. 

This means that the car wash’s top brush could get caught in the kayak rack, which increases the risk of damage to the car, kayak rack, and the car wash’s equipment.

Your Car May Not Dry Fully After Going Through The Car Wash

A car wash’s washing or drying cycle is not designed to accommodate a kayak rack, which means the area under your kayak rack may not dry thoroughly. 

If the water gets trapped underneath your kayak rack, it could damage your kayak rack and your car. In addition, the water could make them rusty and unsafe.

It Can Ruin Your Vehicle’s Paint Job

Of course, you’re taking your car through a car wash because it needs some cleaning! 

Therefore, dirt, dust, grass, or even debris could get stuck underneath the kayak rack, causing damage to your car’s paint and finish.

The Car Wash May Loosen Your Kayak Rack

Kayak racks that have become loosened could present severe safety issues on the road. The harsh brushes used in the car wash could loosen the kayak rack and pose a threat to nearby cars.

How Can You Clean Your Car With A Kayak Rack?

Now that you know all the risks of taking your car with your kayak rack through an automatic car wash, you may want to rethink some things. 

You’d be happy to know that all hope is not lost, and you can still wash your car by hand if you prefer to leave your kayak rack attached. 

Knowing how to clean your car and your kayak rack will prolong their usage, and most importantly, you will minimize the safety issues!

Let’s look at some tips for cleaning your car with a kayak rack still attached:

Remove Your Kayak Rack Before Washing Your Car

Removing your kayak rack will ensure that your vehicle’s roof stays clean and that the rack won’t be trapping any water and dirt to the hood of your car. 

After you have safely removed your kayak rack, set it aside, making sure you place it in an area that can get wet.

Wash Your Car And Kayak Rack By Hand

Wash your car as you usually would, using warm water and soap, choosing a rack or sponge that won’t damage your car. Do the same with your roof rack; leave everything to dry off completely.

Reattach Your Kayak Rack To Your Car When It Has Dried Off

Making sure that your car and kayak rack are dry will prevent any rust from forming, which could cause aesthetic and safety issues. 

If you have stored your kayak rack away for a long time, you may want to only wash your car before reattaching it. 

If this is the case, it will still be a good idea to wash your kayak rack as well, as it ensures that any debris or dust is cleaned and won’t cause any damage to your vehicle.

Always Inspect Your Kayak Rack After A Self-Service Car Wash

You now know that you can wash your car and your kayak rack all by yourself, but obviously, you can take it to a self-service car wash, and they will do it for you. They will be extra cautious not to hurt your car or your kayak rack and have all the necessary equipment!

These car washes will always use a mild detergent free of any solvents, as it may cause damage to the plastic used in your kayak rack. 

After washing your vehicle, take a minute or two and inspect your kayak rack:

  • Inspect your kayak rack for any signs of damage and wear, and be sure to replace any damaged or worn parts.
  • Check that all the fasteners are tight and won’t risk becoming loose while you’re on the road.
  • Always re-lube the threaded parts using water-proof grease or white lithium grease. For pivot parts, you can use a non-petroleum-based oil, which will help to keep everything moving freely.

Final Word

Knowing that it might be safer for your car and kayak rack not to use an automatic car wash, you can explore other ways to clean them. 

You may not be able to use a convenient drive-thru car wash, but self-service car washes are just as good. The staff is friendly and will correctly take care of your car and kayak rack’s cleaning needs!

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