Can You Take a Convertible Through a Car Wash? Is It Safe?

can you take a convertible through a car wash

A convertible’s striking aesthetic and the fresh, cool air as you travel in it make for an awesome ride. But if you’re still thinking of buying one or already own one, you probably wondered, “Can you take a convertible through a car wash?”

It depends on some factors, such as the vehicle type, what the manufacturer suggests, and the car wash type. But in most cases, according to experts, it’s safe to take a convertible to an automated car wash.

Factors That Determine Whether You Can Take a Convertible to a Car Wash


Understandably, convertible owners may require an automated car wash sometimes. Well, you can take advantage of this service, given that you comply with some factors.

1. Type of Convertible

Convertible types can be distinguished by the roof design. Specifically, these types are the soft-top convertible and the hardtop convertible.

  • Soft-Top Convertible

Soft-top convertibles are typically designed with a canvas made of PVC and cotton for their roof. Such a roof most likely wouldn’t be able to withstand the high-pressure sprays, strong chemicals, and brushes in an automatic car wash.

What would most likely happen to a soft top in an automatic car wash is that the water would penetrate the roof and get into the vehicle.

Not only would the interior get soaked but the car’s electrical system and engine would also get damaged. The roof as well could get worn out and damaged.

However, some conditions would allow you to take a soft top through a car wash, which would be discussed in the latter part of this article.

  • Hardtop Convertible

Hardtop convertibles are designed with hard roofs made of metal or plastic. They are more durable because they’re just like the standard car, but with a retractable roof.

So it would be very much safe for them to go through an automatic car wash. Their roof wouldn’t get damaged or allow water to get in the vehicle.

You just have to make sure that the roof is closed when driving a hardtop convertible through the car wash. This way, the interior won’t get soaked and the electrical system and engine won’t get damaged.

2. Whether the Manufacturer Says It’s Safe

Earlier, it was mentioned that soft top convertibles go through car wash safely in some cases. In fact, you might be surprised to know that a Mercedes Benz, Buick, and Audi convertible car wash is safe to do.

That said, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s instructions first to avoid damaging your vehicle.

You can usually see in the owner’s manual whether your convertible can be cleaned in an automatic car wash or not. Another way to find out is by asking customer service.

3. Type of Car Wash

Before you run a convertible through a carwash, you must choose the right cleaning service to prevent any damage to your vehicle, especially if it’s a soft-top. See the options below.

  • Touchless Car Wash

A touchless car wash is an automated car wash, wherein brushes aren’t used for cleaning, only high-pressure water, detergents, and high-pressure air. Such an attribute makes this service safe for washing soft-top convertibles.

But before you take these vehicles to a touchless car wash, make sure that the roof doesn’t have any tear or damage.

Or else, water could enter through those cracks, which could also be made worse by the high-pressure sprays and spinning brushes.

  • Self-Service Car Wash

In a self-service car wash, equipment is provided for customers to clean their vehicle. Usually, the tools include a spray wand equipped with different settings for water, soap, and wax, as well as a foam brush.

In this car wash type, you get to control the pressure of the water and the use of chemicals, so through it, you can safely wash a soft top convertible.

If you have no knowledge about proper care for a convertible soft top or would rather not deal with it, you can have a professional clean your vehicle for you.

  • Traditional Automatic Car Wash

The traditional automatic car wash usually involves water and detergent spray applications, contaminant removal through spinning brushes, and drying with a blower. It would usually run through a conveyor or wash bay.

It would probably be safe to put a convertible through a carwash of this type if it’s a hardtop. Plus, for some soft-tops, it can also be safe.

Buick’s Cascada soft-top, for example, can go through an automatic car wash because of its tested water-tightness and its roof that’s rigid enough to handle spinning brushes.

But if you prefer to do away with top brushes, there are some car wash establishments that remove them upon request.

Some even offer packages meant for the gentle washing of convertibles. To ensure safety, you can find the right car wash by making inquiries beforehand.

What’s the Best Way to Wash Convertibles?


While it would be fine for a hardtop convertible to undergo the traditional automatic car wash, for a soft-top, it’s not the prefered cleaning method.

In general, the safest and best way to clean a soft top is by hand washing. I recommend using a lint-free microfiber towel and an upholstery cleaner. Brushes should be avoided. To know more details about cleaning your convertible car, check it here!


If you don’t clean a convertible top properly, its stylishness can be spoiled. Keep in mind the factors to consider for whether you can you take a convertible through a car wash, and you’ll have no problems with your vehicle.

And remember, when in doubt, hand washing is a foolproof choice. The best automated alternative would be a touchless car wash.

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