Can a Pickup Truck Go Through a Car Wash?

Is your pickup truck dirty? Maybe you took it for a romp in the mud? Can you take it through a car wash?

A pickup truck CAN go through a car wash, just be sure to clean out the bed of the truck and know the measurements of your truck. If your truck is too large for the car wash, your truck will most definitely obtain damages.

Keep reading to discover the ins and outs of cleaning your truck!

Measure Your Truck

Before you go through the car wash, you are going to want to measure your truck, most specifically the width, length, and height. You can do this with a tape measure or you can look up the dimensions of your type of truck online. Because trucks are a popular type of car, most car washes know to have their wash dimensions large enough to accommodate trucks. However, it’s best to still measure your truck to be confident that your truck will fit.

Trucks that have modifications like an extended bed or raised suspension may have more difficulty finding a car wash that they will fit in. For those types of trucks, it may be simpler to wash them yourself.

Though some trucks fit every other measurement requirement, they may still be a little wide with the side mirrors. But this is a simple fix! Fold the side mirrors in while in the car wash and push them back out when finished.

Clean Out The Bed

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This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget! Be sure to clean out the bed of your truck before going through the car wash.

Not only will the materials or objects inside your truck get soaked, but the extreme pressure from the wash can also cause items to fly out of your truck.

Items flying out of your truck may cause damage to your truck, the car wash machinery, and workers possibly in the vicinity.

If you don’t feel like cleaning out the bed of your truck, you could place a truck bed covering on it instead.

The covering made specifically for your truck will protect everything inside your truck’s bed from getting wet or leaving the bed.

Choose The Right Car Wash

Choosing the right car wash is a very important step. Some car washes, mostly the older ones, still use brushes when cleaning cars. Beware of brushes! Brushes tend to scratch the paint of any car sent through the wash.

Look for a car wash that accommodates the size of your pickup and uses cloth washing implements. The cloth washing implements and machinery will be much softer on your truck.

Watching other cars go through the car wash first may be helpful. You will then be able to see how effective the car wash is and what types of cars fit.

Additionally, if an extremely muddy or dirt car goes in before you, the dirt that is washed off of their car may get stuck to the cloth sponges.

Normally, this is exactly what the car wash should be doing, but for everyone after that muddy car, the dirt may scratch other people’s paint or put mud on their car. If there is someone very dirty in front of you, wait a bit before going into the wash.

Remember These 3 Things!

Here are some things that you must remember when taking your truck, or any car for that matter, into a car wash!

Roll Up The Windows

Though you probably have already, you may forget to roll up your window until the car wash starts spraying soap at you!

Don’t forget to roll your windows up before driving through the car wash. Otherwise, you’ll get soaked!

Check Your Truck Afterwards

After every car wash, checking your truck before leaving would be best. Circle around your truck looking for scratches and dents that your truck did not have before.

Though most car washes will have a sign that says they are not responsible for any damages made in the car wash, talk to the car wash manager to see if you can get some compensation for any damages you may have obtained.

If they refuse to talk to you, consider contacting the company owners. If you did everything you could to protect your truck in the car wash and still attained damages, there may be something wrong with their car wash. They need to know to fix it!


Once your truck starts to go through the car wash, this is a moment for you to relax! You’ve done all you can to prepare your truck for a good washing.

There is no need to stress if you know your truck is going to fit in the car wash, you’ve cleaned out the bed, and have the right car wash for your truck. Take a deep breath, turn on some music, and enjoy this time for yourself!

Or if you have little ones in the truck with you, enjoy their squeals of delight as they watch the many colors of soap cover the car!

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Don’t Do These 3 Things!

Below are some things to watch out for when taking your pickup through a car wash.

Spray On Wax

Some car washes advertise spray-on wax or other deluxe package items. Most likely, your truck will not need these extra things and they may not be helpful to your truck.

The spray-on wax that a car wash provides cannot provide UV protection like a hand-applied wax will.

Additionally, the spray-on wax may be inconsistent around your truck. If you would like more protection for your truck, it will be much better to apply the wax yourself.

Wipe Down Afterwards

Be wary of workers wiping down your truck after the car wash. Most likely, they have not changed their cloths from the last car they wiped down.

There is a good chance that any dirt collected on their cloths will scratch your paint. Plus, there is no need for a wipe-down!

As you leave the car wash, there are fans that are supposed to do the drying and there is no reason not to let it air dry on your way home.

If any watermarks remain, you can use a wet cloth at home and wipe it off yourself.

Don’t Stress!

Car washes are supposed to be carefree! They have been set up to save you time.

If you’ve done all you can to prepare your truck for a car wash, that’s fantastic! Don’t stress about going through the car wash more than you need to. As stated above, just relax!

Washing Your Truck Yourself

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If you are worried that your truck will get damaged in the car wash, or perhaps your truck is too large for a typical car wash, consider washing your pickup yourself!

Washing your truck may take longer than a car wash, but it can be all types of fun!

There are many types of soaps you can use to clean your car. You will want to be wary of harmful chemicals that could damage your paint. You could even decide to make your own car soap from one these helpful articles:

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