Jeeps have always been a favorite among fans. With their impressive off-road capabilities, bold design, and robust build, they are one of the few authentic 4x4s left on the market. What makes a Jeep even more unique is the option to have a soft top. But if you own one, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to take it to a touchless car wash. Let’s explore the possibilities.
Can you take a soft-top Jeep through a touchless car wash?
Absolutely! If you’re short on time and need a quick clean for your car, a touchless car wash is a viable option for your soft-top Jeep. Since these car washes don’t have any brushes that come into contact with your vehicle’s soft top, the risk of damage is significantly reduced. However, it’s worth noting that some touchless car washes use harsh chemicals that could potentially harm the fabric, so it’s wise to avoid frequent use.
This option becomes particularly useful during the winter months when handwashing your Jeep is uncomfortable or impractical. In colder regions, you might even find touchless car washes that offer undercarriage cleaning, effectively removing dirt, mud, and salt from the underside of your Jeep.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that touchless car washes have their limitations. They rely on high-pressure jets and chemicals to clean your Jeep without any physical contact. While this approach generally works well, the intense pressure from the nozzles might not be suitable for older soft-top Jeeps. In such cases, handwashing is the best alternative. Professional staff will use soft cloths, apply less pressure, and pay closer attention to detail.
The drawback with handwashing is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find car washes that offer this service. Additionally, handwashing tends to be more expensive and time-consuming.
When it comes to drying your Jeep after a car wash, most car washes use automatic dryers that employ high-pressure air to quickly and effectively dry your car. This method eliminates the need for a long waiting time and minimizes the risk of damage. Alternatively, you can always take the DIY approach, which may take more time but allows you to control the process and choose the best tools for the job.
How does a touchless car wash clean your Jeep?
Touchless car washes utilize a series of steps to thoroughly clean your Jeep. When you drive into a touchless car wash, ground-level rollers guide your vehicle through the process. Typically, touchless car washes start with a pre-soak stage where specialized nozzles spray a solution that loosens dirt and helps the detergent adhere to your car’s surface.
Next, your Jeep goes through a foam applicator stage, where large heads dispense an ample amount of detergent all over your vehicle. The detergent reaches every nook and cranny, effectively loosening any dirt and grime that may be trapped in hard-to-reach areas. Unlike contact car washes, touchless car washes don’t rely on scrubbing mechanisms. Instead, high-pressure water jets forcefully remove the detergent and dirt from your Jeep’s exterior. In areas with heavy snowfall, these jets may also clean the underside of your car.
The final step is the rinse stage, where water sprays in an arch, thoroughly covering your entire vehicle and removing any remaining residue.
How can a contact car wash damage your Jeep?
Contrary to touchless car washes, contact car washes employ various devices that may pose a risk to your soft-top Jeep. One such device is the mitter curtain, which consists of long, soft strips that move in a circular pattern. The purpose of these strips is to rub the pre-soak solution all around your car for better penetration. However, these strips can potentially damage your soft top.
The most hazardous part of the contact car wash process is the scrubbers. These large spinning cylinders contain cloth strips that rotate at high speeds. While your soft-top Jeep may not show immediate signs of damage after one pass, there’s no guarantee that it won’t sustain harm in the long run. Additionally, the plastic windows on a soft-top Jeep are prone to scratching, and the abrasive detergents used in contact car washes can further exacerbate this issue.
Numerous forums and discussions caution against taking soft-top Jeeps to automated contact car washes. Most business establishments will not assume responsibility for any damages caused to your car, especially soft-top Jeeps.
Is it normal for a soft-top Jeep to leak during a car wash?
Jeep Wranglers, including the soft-top models, have a reputation for leaking, even during car washes. Whether your Jeep leaks water or detergent into the interior depends on various factors.
Firstly, if your soft top is old, check it for any tears or holes that may be causing the leaks. Regular inspections are essential, especially if your Jeep is exposed to long hours of sunlight. If you discover any damage, you can repair it with the right tools. However, keep in mind that some damage may be beyond repair, and you may need the assistance of a specialized store or technician.
Another crucial aspect to consider is the condition of the weather stripping. This rubber material lines the edges of doors, windows, and the roof of your Jeep, providing a seal against leaks. Over time, weather stripping can deteriorate, especially in extreme weather conditions such as scorching heat or freezing temperatures. Shrinkage of the rubber material can create gaps, leading to leaks.
Ironically, the detergents used in many car washes can dry out the rubber material, causing it to crack. This further compromises the seal and increases the likelihood of leaks. In case of damaged weather stripping, it’s relatively inexpensive to replace, and a specialized shop can swiftly perform the procedure.
Considering the multitude of factors that can affect a soft-top Jeep, washing it by hand proves to be the best option. By handwashing, you can regularly inspect for any signs of damage and ensure a thorough clean. With your personal touch, you can use the appropriate tools to avoid puncturing the soft top or damaging the seals.
While strips used at a contact car wash are generally soft, their spinning motion can still cause damage to the plastic windows or fabric. Moreover, handwashing allows you to choose the least abrasive detergents and soaps after researching the best options for your Jeep. Additionally, after washing your Jeep, you can wipe it down with scratch-free cloths to prevent any potential damage.
Lastly, for black Jeeps, it’s advisable to apply high-quality wax to maintain that glossy shine.
In conclusion, it is possible to take your soft-top Jeep to a touchless car wash without significant risks to the fabric or plastic windows. However, there is still a slight chance that the high-pressure nozzles used in touchless car washes could cause damage. If you have the time and want to ensure the utmost care for your Jeep, handwashing is the preferable choice. By handwashing, you have complete control, can choose suitable cleaning products, and periodically check for any damages. Remember, your Jeep is built for adventure, so don’t hesitate to explore the unknown. Just make sure to give it the love and care it deserves when you return.