Can Soft Top Jeeps Go Through Car Washes?

Jeep Wranglers are built for off-roading. Although driving on rough terrains and desert areas brings so much pleasure to the driver, dirt deposition becomes a headache. 

So many of us love driving with soft-top Jeeps as they can be easily removed during summer or rainy seasons, but the risk of dirt prevails. So, the question arises can soft-top Jeeps go through car washes?

Well, yes and no. I have given all the reasoning behind this diplomatic answer. So, let’s check out the details.

Also Read: How to Put a Jeep in 4-Wheel Drive?

Can you take a soft-top Jeep through a car wash?

You can take a soft-top Jeep to a car wash, but it is not recommended. A car wash has high-pressure nozzles and automatic brushes that can seriously harm your soft top’s durability. Although some of the car washes proudly state that they have soft cotton bristle brushes that won’t damage the top still, the bristles contract some small stones or hard dirt particles that could bring scratches to your soft top.

For a soft-top Jeep, the best way of cleaning is manual washing, where you can taper your pressure and avoid sensitive areas; however, if that is not possible for you, then a touchless car wash is a better option.

Can Soft Top Jeeps Go Through Car Washes

How to wash a soft Jeep?

When the Wranglers are driven in muddy areas, dirt sticks in various places, even underbody parts, including the suspension, eventually causing different issues and making a car wash mandatory. For this reason, if you have a soft-top Jeep, you can do it yourself, as handwashing is the best way. Otherwise, a touchless Jeep wash is preferred as it doesn’t cause any harm to the exteriors, especially the weather-strip seals.

Touchless Jeep wash

It is a brushless method in which high-pressure water is sprayed through micro-nozzles, forcing the dirt to wash off. Alkaloid solutions and scented chemicals are used in this process, ultimately keeping the low risk of paint chipping. Don’t worry if some water gets into your Jeep, as the car washes have quick-drying machines that complete the task in a few hours.

Hand wash (Recommended)

Since hand washing is the most effective and safer way to wash your soft-top Jeep, I will give you some simple tips and tricks to get it done by yourself in the minimal time possible.

Steps to follow while cleaning soft top:

  1. Make the soft top fabric wet by using water or a high-pressure hose (readily available at local markets).
  2. Cover the top with car shampoo.
  3. Now rub the surfaces with the help of a soft brush. You can use a brush with stiff bristles if the stains are too tough. 
  4. Clean the intricate parts and hidden corners with a small-head brush similar to the size of a toothbrush.
  5. Now rinse the soft top with water.
  6. Absorb any excess water with the help of a microfiber towel.
  7. Now, leave it to dry in the open air.
  8. When it is completely dried, spray the hydrophobic protective solution according to the fabric of the soft top.
  9. Make sure you seal the edges before waterproofing with masking tape.
  10. You can apply 2 to 3 coats of this solution for maximum protection but keep a 10-minute interval of drying between them.

Steps to follow while cleaning windows:

  1. Coat the windows with a car shampoo or some other benign cleaning agent.
  2. Rub a microfiber towel in straight motions to clean the dirt thoroughly.
  3. You can repeat this process until the dirt completely gets off.
  4. Now spray a sealing solution on windows to prevent rain or other weather elements from seeping inside.
  5. Now, wait five minutes, then wipe it off with a microfiber towel.

Types of Jeep Wrangler soft tops

A variety of soft top fabrics are available in the Jeep market. You can choose them as per your budget and type of use. Here is a brief guide about the options open.

  • Vinyl: They are the most opted choice for Jeepers due to their easy cleaning and low-maintenance nature. Vinyl tops were usually found on older YJ and CJ Jeep Wranglers.
  • Twill: It is a luxury fabric designed to keep the internal environment of the Jeep less noisy. This is a high-end fabric available at costly prices.
  • Sailcloth: It is also a high-quality fabric but less than twill. Sailcloth is generally put in two layers on Jeep Wranglers to minimize weather effects and road noise.
  • Denim: If you are looking for another budget option, then denim is a great choice. It gives a vintage look along with modern aesthetics. TJ and YJ Wrangler owners prefer them generally.

Jeep soft top car wash risks

Traditional car wash must be the last option for cleaning a soft top due to the following associated risks.

  • High-pressure water seeps in, damaging the electrical system.
  • Touch car wash might scratch windows
  • Peel off paint
  • Chemical cleaners ruin plastic windows and the top itself.

Also Read: Jeep Wrangler Gas Cap Warning Light – [Reset]


Is touchless wash not effective?

Yes, a touchless car wash is less effective than a high-pressure wash because some tough stains remain there even after the wash. Therefore, if you have a soft-top Jeep, I highly recommend you DIY wash them. If not possible, search for a car wash with actual people assigned to the job, as they will assist your car from start to finish and customize their efforts where needed.

Why is it important to wax your Jeep?

A thin layer of wax protects your Jeep from oxidation, scratches, and discoloration. It is highly recommended for subtle shine, especially when you have a black colored Jeep. Wax will make it look new and fresh from the showroom.

Final thoughts

Carwash is a mandatory step to make your Jeep look clean and tidy. However, DIY washes are highly recommended while doing it for soft-top Jeeps. Still, if you lack energy, time, or have some medical conditions, you can always opt for a touchless car wash. Or it will be a bonus point if you search for a car wash station with actual people to do this for you. However, that will be a little pricey option. Still, unfortunately, that is the price you need to pay for keeping these off-roading beasts, aka Jeep Wranglers.

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