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Can A Dodge Ram 1500 Go Through A Car Wash?

Dodge Rams are made for hard work and getting dirty, but these can leave your truck looking less than stellar. 

Occasionally you’ll need to wash your Ram 1500 but won’t have the time or energy to do it by hand.

If you don’t want to handwash your Ram 1500, it’s fine to go through an automatic car wash. Just empty the bed and remove any excess mud before entering the wash bay. Double-check that the car wash can accommodate oversized vehicles if you have extended side mirrors, roof lights, or dually wheels.

Things To Know Before Taking A Ram 1500 Through an Automatic Car Wash

A view of a car washing machine with multicolored rolls and three traffic cones in front of it.

Automatic car washes are great.

They offer everything your truck needs, from a soapy wash to a wax coating that protects your paint. 

Any standard vehicle can get a hands-free wash, but there are a few rules and things to check before going in.

Additionally, you should review any specific guidelines posted by the car wash operator. 

Generally speaking, though, automatic car washes are safe for most vehicles and won’t damage your Ram 1500 unless you have a recently applied or specific type of paint or wrap. 

Confirm your truck will fit in the wash bay before attempting to enter.

Any vehicle with at least 4 inches (10 cm) of ground clearance and is 84 inches (213 cm) tall (or less) will fit in a standard car wash.

If your truck has a lift kit, you might need a roof measurement to verify it isn’t too tall.

The newest Dodge Ram 1500s are close to the 84-inch (213 cm) height limit, so if it’s raised any higher, it could be an issue. 

You likely can’t use an automatic car wash if you’ve installed roof lights.

They add height and aren’t designed to be scrubbed or flooded with water. 

Any accessories that make the truck wider can also be a problem.

Extra-large or extended side mirrors are helpful for towing but add extra width and can be damaged by a car wash that isn’t equipped for them. 

Before using a hands-free car wash, ensure your truck bed is empty.

Loose items can get damaged by or cause damage to the automatic wash machinery. 

Also, remove any clumps of dirt from your Ram 1500.

The car wash is designed to clean off street grime, but large chunks of mud and debris can clog the machine. 

During the wash, keep your doors and windows closed.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with soap, water, and gunk inside the truck. 

Is Hand-Washing Better For My Ram 1500?

There’s a lot of debate about whether hand washing or machine washing is better for your truck in the long run. 

Some believe automatic washers can harm your paint by grinding dirt into the vehicle’s surfaces.

They think hand washing is the better option because it’s gentler and more thorough.

Unfortunately, most vehicle owners don’t own the correct cleaning agents – if they do, they often don’t use them properly. 

Washing a vehicle without knowing what to do doesn’t protect your paint.

It actually makes it easier for the color to fade or get damaged. 

When it comes to handwashing your Ram 1500, never use dish soap, wash your truck in direct sunlight, or skimp on the water.

The same is true for manual washing facilities that provide cleaning supplies.

Coin-operated hand wash bays are excellent, and you can take your time washing every inch of your truck, but you still have to do it right to avoid ruining your exterior.

Just be aware that a pressure washer at a hand-wash location can dent the truck’s body or damage the paint.

Moreover, when you use the scrub brushes available, you smear the grime from the last person’s vehicle onto yours.

To prevent any damage, rinse your truck carefully and thoroughly before driving home.

Ultimately, however, automatic car washes are no better or worse than a hand wash.

The likelihood of damaging the truck is extremely low, and they don’t require any effort on your part.

How Often Should You Wash Your Ram 1500?

A worker washing a blue car in the car wash.

You can look at recommended service routines to keep your truck in its best shape.

Generally, a wash every two weeks is ideal for protecting your paint and removing contaminants that cause rust and other surface damage. 

If you often get the truck muddy or live somewhere with a lot of salt in the air, you should wash it more frequently. 


Taking your Ram 1500 through an automatic car wash is totally fine. 

They’re perfectly safe as long as you confirm your truck fits in the bay, have no loose items in the bed, and knock off excessive amounts of mud before going in. 

When it’s your turn to enter an automatic car wash, align your wheels with the tracks provided and select your wash package.

Drive into the bay slowly, and once you’re inside, all you need to do is sit back and relax.

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