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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I wrote before that I'd bought a set of Thule load bars that clamp onto our 2021 Trailhawk's roof rails. Mostly/almost-exclusively for skiing, so I put on our old Thule ski attachments:

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We're going skiing next week for the first time this season, and we're taking the Trailhawk up for the first time in almost-winter -- Colorado Springs to Steamboat for a couple days.

These cross bars are on very securely, but it takes quite a lot of work cranking everything down high up on the roof (I've got a folding stepstool just for this).

While despersed camping with the Trailhawk last summer, with no load bars on, I'd always just take the Trailhawk through the car wash to clean off the offroad grime, on the way home right after gassing up.

Has anyone had any experience -- good or bad -- in going through an automated car wash with crossbars on? Thule of course says not to do it.

I'd certainly take the ski attachments off. And there's certainly a risk even with just the roof rails, that the overhead rotary brushes would get tangled up in those. I wonder how the cross bars would fare...

Ideally I'd like to be able to keep the cross bars on all winter...
 

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I have gone through the car wash with my cross bars installed. Touch free of course (no beater brushes). no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I have gone through the car wash with my cross bars installed. Touch free of course (no beater brushes). no issues.
Define "touch free"...

Because I've seen "touch free" car wahes that don't use those nylon bristle brushes, but fabric strips on those top and side rollers. Technically brush-free, but not quite touch-free...
 

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So, I wrote before that I'd bought a set of Thule load bars that clamp onto our 2021 Trailhawk's roof rails. Mostly/almost-exclusively for skiing, so I put on our old Thule ski attachments:

View attachment 2396352849

We're going skiing next week for the first time this season, and we're taking the Trailhawk up for the first time in almost-winter -- Colorado Springs to Steamboat for a couple days.

These cross bars are on very securely, but it takes quite a lot of work cranking everything down high up on the roof (I've got a folding stepstool just for this).

While despersed camping with the Trailhawk last summer, with no load bars on, I'd always just take the Trailhawk through the car wash to clean off the offroad grime, on the way home right after gassing up.

Has anyone had any experience -- good or bad -- in going through an automated car wash with crossbars on? Thule of course says not to do it.

I'd certainly take the ski attachments off. And there's certainly a risk even with just the roof rails, that the overhead rotary brushes would get tangled up in those. I wonder how the cross bars would fare...

Ideally I'd like to be able to keep the cross bars on all winter...
I have racks, a cargo basket and a ARB awning on mine and it goes through just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have racks, a cargo basket and a ARB awning on mine and it goes through just fine.
Really? I'm kind of surprised at that... That seems like an awful lot of stuff up there to potentially get tangled up.

And is the carwash type with some kind of things that actually touch your roof? Fabric strips...

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...or bristle brushes?

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I imagine it might make a difference. Of course, there are also true "touchless" carwashes that only use pressurized water; nothing actually touches the vehicle...

Our local carwash uses the bristle brushes. It's also got a guy or gal at the beginning using a power washer to pre-wash and put the conveyor into gear; I'm afraid they wouldn't let me go through with the crossbars because of liability concerns...
 

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Really? I'm kind of surprised at that... That seems like an awful lot of stuff up there to potentially get tangled up.

And is the carwash type with some kind of things that actually touch your roof? Fabric strips...

View attachment 2396352916

...or bristle brushes?

View attachment 2396352917

I imagine it might make a difference. Of course, there are also true "touchless" carwashes that only use pressurized water; nothing actually touches the vehicle...

Our local carwash uses the bristle brushes. It's also got a guy or gal at the beginning using a power washer to pre-wash and put the conveyor into gear; I'm afraid they wouldn't let me go through with the crossbars because of liability concerns...
I had to go look. I don't got that often even though it's right by my house. looks like bristle. RPM Express | Pullman's Only Express Tunnel Car Wash
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Only photo I took of it
OK, so load bars, to which your basket and awning are mounted. Your load bars are a bit higher than mine are. That's an awful lot of stuff going through a carwash with bristle brushes! But I'm glad to hear you haven't had a problem...

If I try this, I'll take the ski attachments off. They're just mounted into T-bolt slots in the crossbars; while my Thule crossbars are mounted to the roof rails with rubber-coated steel straps that have to be torqued down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, after our first ski trip this year last week (4-1/2 hours driving each way to Steamboat, on lots of packed snow and ice coming back -- treated with sand and magnesium chloride, by the taste of it :) ), I decided to just go to a local car wash that has manual pressure wands:

Sky Plant Cloud Building Tree


All the equipment looks new, and it seemed to do a really good job -- after I figured out all the settings. Only possible downside is, I'm not sure how well I got the undercarriage.

But I think this is what I'm going to do all winter, just leaving the crossbars and ski racks on the roof...
 

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On topic, kinda/sorta....I have to ask....If you are going camping, skiing, etc., put your cross bars on, your basket, etc. and have at it. When you get home, take your cross bars, your basket, attachment racks, etc. OFF the roof. What's the reasoning for leaving it on 24/7 ? Just for looks ? I can't see the benefit of leaving it on, reducing your gas mileage, making a little more noise, etc.. Did anyone ever have an emergency where the roof rack would be needed that with a little planning ahead would solve ?

I see a Renegade on my daily commute and it has a nice basket on top. Every day. Totally empty. And I wonder "Why ?" every time I see it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I have to ask....If you are going camping, skiing, etc., put your cross bars on, your basket, etc. and have at it. When you get home, take your cross bars, your basket, attachment racks, etc. OFF the roof. What's the reasoning for leaving it on 24/7 ? Just for looks ?
Well, good question; but I thought I'd explained that in the first post. No, not for looks at all in my case. In fact, I'd prefer not to have stuff on my roof.

These Thule load bars have rubber-coated steel straps that wrap around the roof rails, circled in red here:

Automotive tire Window Hood Motor vehicle Air gun


While the straps hold the cross bars on extremely securely, they're really hard to wrap around the roof rails. They then need to be torqued down with a special wrench. All this while reaching up on top of a rather tall vehicle -- even with the aid of a folding stepstool -- with limited clearance to the sides.

Plus there's the risk of damaging the roof or sunroof every time I put the crossbars on, reaching over from one side.

And then everything has to be done in reverse to take the cross bars off.

So it's not a trivial matter to put on and take off the cross bars every time I use or don't use them.

I'd considered taking just the ski racks off of the cross bars when not going skiing. The ski racks are held on to the cross bars with thumb nuts holding onto t-bolts that slide into slots in the cross bars. Unfortunately, even standing on my folding step stool, I can't even reach the nuts holding the ski racks over the center of the roof. So that's not going to work...
 

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I used to take mine through the wash with the spinning brushes all the time. Cargo basket and all. No issues at all with it.
 

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Putting them on and taking them off while solo would be a huge PITA. I'd tag in my neighbor to assist. My wife is too short to be of much help....

Maybe my logic is biased by my "use". If I packed enough camping gear (which I don't) to warrant a roof rack, and I camp once a year for a week, I couldn't see the value of leaving them on all the time. I may be Lone Wolf in that logic....lol.

I am considering getting cross bars, because the roof rails are pretty much useless without them. Will I use them ? Better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Sorry to hijack your post, the question popped in my mind so I had to ask....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry to hijack your post, the question popped in my mind so I had to ask....
No problem at all. I think's very applicable to the conversation.

If I needed a roof rack for camping once a year, I'd definitely be taking the rig off the roof the rest of the year.

But again, in my case with the ski rack, I need it every so often through the winter...
 
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