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Do Trucks Fit in Car Washes? (Read Before Washing!)

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So, you recently got a truck for the first time, and you’ve just driven it through muddy terrain. Now it is super dirty and needs a thorough washing, but you do not have the time to give it the wash it needs, so you consider taking it to a car wash.

However, before you take it to the car wash, a question pops up in your head: “Can my truck fit in a car wash?” Well, we have the answer you need.

Do trucks fit in car washes?

Most pickup trucks fit in car washes. Pickup trucks are one of the most common vehicle types in the United States, so it is a no-brainer for car wash makers to tailor their car washes to contain most of them.

Nonetheless, knowing the measurements of your truck before taking it to a car wash is prudent. Sometimes, trucks can be bigger than car washes, depending on some factors.

Wondering what factors can make trucks bigger than a car wash? Wonder no more! In this article, we give a thorough overview of what you should know before taking your truck to a car wash.

Do Trucks Fit in Car Washes?

In most cases, pickup trucks will fit into car washes just fine. A sizeable number of vehicles in the US are pickup trucks, so it is common that manufacturers build their car washes to contain pickup trucks.

Generally, if a truck has at least 4 inches of ground clearance and is no more than 84 inches tall, it should fit into an automatic car wash.

Besides, the typical bay height for car washes for semi-trucks is 12 to 14 feet – way higher than the height of most pickup trucks. So, you should have no trouble fitting your pickup in one.

Sometimes, pickup trucks may not fit in a car wash. This happens when you’ve added modifications to the pickup truck and when the car wash is just too small. But then, car washes typically indicate the size of vehicles they can take. So, you will know if your truck can fit beforehand.

What You Should Do Before Taking Your Truck to the Car Wash

If it is your first time taking your truck to the car wash, you should do the following before driving in:

Know the Dimensions of Your Truck

big pickup truck outdoor

As we said earlier, car washes sometimes indicate the size of the vehicles that can fit in them. But if you do not know the size of your truck, you wouldn’t know if it meets the requirements or not.

So, before going to the car wash, acquaint yourself with the dimensions of your truck. Know the length, height, and width, and record the values. You may get these values by measuring the vehicle with a tape measure. Alternatively, you could check the dimensions on the manufacturer’s website.

But to be sure, measure the truck yourself, especially if it has modifications.

Empty the Truck Bed

Before taking your truck to the car wash, you must clear the bed out. Do not leave anything in the bed because it will get soaked if you do.

Besides getting soaked, the intense pressure in the wash may send the items in the truck bed flying around. If this happens, those items may get damaged, the truck may get damaged, and the car wash equipment may also get damaged.

If unable to empty your truck bed before going to the car wash, you can cover its contents with a truck bed covering. This will shield the items in the truck bed from getting soaked and knocked out of the bed.

Select the Appropriate Car Wash

When choosing a car wash, you want to ensure that you opt for one with the appropriate equipment. For one, you should avoid car washes that still use brushes. Opt for a touchless car wash or a car wash that uses non-bristle cloth instead.

It is common to find older car washes using brushes. Unfortunately, the brushes may scratch paint off your truck, and you obviously do not want that to happen.

Apart from that, the design of old car washes fits smaller vehicles. So, your truck will most likely not fit in. While some old car washes have upgraded their facilities, some have remained unchanged. Take note of these when choosing a car wash.

Besides checking for the absence of brushes, ensure the cloth washing implements and other equipment are easy on vehicles. You do not want your car disfigured after a washing session at the car wash.

Then, of course, pay attention to the size limit of the car wash. Ensure you select a car wash that your truck can fit in.

You will benefit from a car wash whose attendants manually wash the tailgate and back window. So, if you find one, consider it.

While selecting a car wash, observe how effective the car wash is by watching other vehicles go through it. If the cleaning outcomes are satisfactory, you may choose the car wash.


What You Should Do at the Car Wash

If a Muddy Vehicle Goes in Before You, Wait a Bit

The sand grains and dirt from a dirty car may scratch paint off the car that comes after it. So, if a muddy vehicle goes into the car wash before your truck, wait a bit before driving in.

While you wait, the sand grains and dirt will dislodge from the washing equipment. This way, your truck’s paint will not suffer the cruel fate.

Roll Your Windows Up

Never forget to roll your windows up before the car wash starts washing. If you do, you and your car’s interior will get soaked.

Fold the Side Mirrors

Before going into the car wash bay, fold your side mirrors in. Sometimes, side mirrors extend too close to the car wash mechanism, preventing the truck from fitting. So, to avoid this situation, fold the side mirrors before going in.

Examine Your Truck After the Wash

After the wash, go around your truck and examine it thoroughly. Look for dents and scratches that were not there before you got in the car wash.

Speak with the manager if you notice any scratch or dent so they can compensate you for the damage.

Now, most car washes display a sign that they are not liable for damages in the car wash. But sometimes, the car wash machinery may be faulty, hence, the dent.

So, if the car wash manager refuses to discuss the damage the car wash did to your car, try contacting the company owners.

What You Should Not Do at the Car Wash

Do Not Let Them Wipe Down Your Truck After the Wash

Man wiping rubs a car after washing , car wash concept

The attendants may try to wipe your truck down after washing, do not let them. Wiping down a pickup truck after washing is unnecessary because the fans will do that.

Besides, as you drive home, the truck will air dry.

Apart from the above, there is a chance that the attendants will try to wipe your truck down with the same cloth from the last vehicle they wiped. This can be a problem because the cloth may still contain dirt from the previous car.

If they wipe your car down with this cloth, it may scratch your truck’s paint or make the pickup dirty.

Do Not Allow Spray-On Wax

The car wash may offer to apply spray-on wax on your truck. But your vehicle does not need one.

Spray-on wax from a car wash does not offer UV protection like wax applied by hand. Besides, car wash spray-on wax is typically applied unevenly around trucks.

If you believe your truck needs a wax, you had better apply one yourself.


Many people use pickup trucks in the United States. So, to ensure they serve a large part of the market, car wash makers typically design their car washes to allow trucks to fit in.

But even at that, some old car washes are not big enough for modern trucks. Also, if your pickup has modifications, it may not fit into regular car washes for trucks.