A tonneau cover is an excellent way to protect the cargo area of your truck bed. But like anything exposed to the elements, it needs regular cleaning. Is it safe to use a pressure washer on a plastic tonneau cover? Or will the high-powered spray damage the material? Let’s take a closer look.
What are the different types of tonneau covers?
There are three main types of tonneau covers:
What is a soft tonneau cover made of?
Soft tonneau covers are made of fabric or vinyl materials. They roll up or fold for easy access to the truck bed.
What materials are used for hard tonneau covers?
Hard covers are made of materials like aluminum, fiberglass, or ABS plastic. These rigid covers lock into place and provide more security than soft covers.
What is a retractable tonneau cover?
Retractable tonneau covers are made of vinyl, aluminum, or powder-coated steel. As the name suggests, they retract rearward or roll up with the help of a mechanical system.
Is it safe to use a pressure washer on soft tonneau covers?
No, you should avoid using a pressure washer on soft vinyl or fabric tonneau covers. The high-powered water pressure can damage the material, causing tears or leaks. It’s best to use a mild soap and soft brush to gently clean soft covers.
Can you pressure wash hard plastic or fiberglass tonneau covers?
Yes, you can use a pressure washer on hard covers made of aluminum, fiberglass, or plastic. However, there are some precautions to take:
- Use medium pressure at maximum. Too much pressure can damage the cover.
- Keep the nozzle at least 1 foot away from the cover. Getting too close can tear the material.
- Rinse with clean water and completely dry after washing. Trapped moisture can corrode the cover.
- Check the manual for any specific cleaning recommendations.
Should you take retractable covers to automatic car washes?
It’s generally not recommended, especially for brush-style car washes. The brushes can get caught on the cover, tear the vinyl, or damage the retraction mechanism. A touchless automatic wash with pressure sprayers is safer, but even then, be cautious of using high pressure on retractable covers.
The bottom line on pressure washing tonneau covers
- Avoid pressure washing soft vinyl or fabric covers. Clean them gently with mild soap.
- Only use medium pressure on hard covers, while keeping the nozzle 1 foot away.
- Skip automatic car washes or use touchless washes cautiously on retractable covers.
Follow the manufacturer’s guidance for cleaning your specific tonneau cover. With some care, you can use a pressure washer to safely clean and maintain certain hard truck bed covers.