Some of the best camping adventures will require you to get a bit of dust and dirt on your RV. However, you can’t take your RV through just any car wash.
You need a building that can fit RVs and oversized vehicles. Luckily, semi-trucks and other big rigs also want to clean their rigs. Let’s look at whether or not you should take your RV through a truck wash.
Table of contents
- What Is a Truck Wash?
- Can You Take an RV Through a Truck Wash?
- Do Truck Washes Do a Good Job Cleaning RVs?
- How Much Does It Cost to Wash Your RV at a Truck Wash?
- Where to Find a Truck Wash
- What Are the Best Ways to Wash an RV?
- Finding the Best Option
What Is a Truck Wash?
A truck wash is similar to a car wash but built for semis and other large vehicles. You’ll often find them along interstates and other roads frequented by large vehicles. Truck washes usually have a crew of employees ready to spray and scrub off the dirt and grime from the road.
Like a car wash, these facilities typically offer multiple packages and cleaning services. Costs vary based on the size of your vehicle and what options you choose. However, these places can do in a matter of minutes what would take you all day. So if you’re short on time, consider using a truck wash to clean your RV.
Can You Take an RV Through a Truck Wash?
Truck washes handle big rigs. This means they can easily handle even the longest and tallest RVs. Many RVers choose to use truck washes due to the convenience and out of necessity. You can’t always carry the supplies needed to reach some areas on your RV.
While many truck washes offer services for non-commercial vehicles, it’s not always guaranteed. To avoid any issues, call in advance to confirm a facility’s ability to wash RVs and the cost.
Do Truck Washes Do a Good Job Cleaning RVs?
Truck washes typically clean RVs just ok. Much like a standard car wash, they don’t always do the best job, nor can they replace what hand washing provides. If you need a cost-effective way to wash the bugs and other dirt off your RV, a truck wash may work well.
However, set your expectations accordingly if you pay for a budget-friendly service. The results will likely reflect the price.
How Much Does It Cost to Wash Your RV at a Truck Wash?
Costs will vary from one truck wash to the next. However, they typically charge based on a combination of factors that includes the length of your RV and what services you request.
Many RVers will also ask them to wash their tow vehicle, which would be an additional charge. Depending on your rig and services, you can likely expect a truck wash to cost $50 to $100.
Pro Tip: Want your RV to look brand new? Find out What Is RV Detailing?
Where to Find a Truck Wash
You can typically find truck washes in places frequented by semis. If you need to wash your RV, here are a few places you might consider looking.
However, not all locations will have these, and it may take a bit of research to find them. You may find an automated or full-service station but it might only be available to commercial drivers.
Blue Beacon Locations
One of the most popular truck wash options for RVers is Blue Beacon locations. These are popular because they offer a wide variety of services and have locations all across the country.
Their prices typically range from $14 to $42, depending on the size and type of the vehicle. But they have several add-on services, including weather protectants, wheel washings, and washing towed vehicles. Some locations may offer special discounts or packages, but these will vary by location.
Private Truck Washes
You may find yourself in a location with no Blue Beacon or truck stop locations. However, you might find a more convenient or cost-effective private truck wash. These are typically independently owned and operated, and thus costs and services vary.
You can often expect full washing with appropriate chemicals, but they may not include roofs and undercarriages. By reaching out to a local private truck wash, you can usually get a free estimate on what it would cost.
Sometimes you can develop a relationship with a specific location by having your RV cleaned regularly. You can likely expect to pay $100+ for a standard-size RV at these types of establishments.
What Are the Best Ways to Wash an RV?
Due to the large size and labor required, washing an RV can become difficult and expensive. However, there are many options for keeping your RV looking good in the campground. Let’s take a look.
Mobile RV Detailing Service
If you want your RV in the hands of professionals, hiring a mobile RV detailing service is by far the best option. However, with premium service typically comes a premium price tag. These professional services will often clean your roof, awnings, and every nook and cranny.
You can expect to pay over $500 for this type of service, but they know what they’re doing. The results may have your RV likely looking better than the day you pulled it off the dealership lot.
They may even give it a protective wax as well. If you don’t mind the steep price tag, this is a great option for protecting your investment.
DIY High-Bay Car Washes
Because you can’t take your RV into just any car wash, you can find a high-bay car wash. This method lets you wash it yourself as much or as little as you’d like. However, you’ll likely pay by the minute.
The price can add up rather quickly, and you may find it difficult to bring other equipment to do a thorough job. If you have a longer RV, you may end up paying $100 to do a halfway decent job and well over $100 if you want a better clean.
When it comes to convenience and cost, it’s hard to beat a truck wash for keeping your RV clean. You can typically get your tow vehicle, and RV washed for $50 to $75. Truck washes typically use power washers with soap and water mixtures to spray and rinse your RV clean.
This can do a great job of getting bugs, dirt, and grime off your RV, but you may still get a better clean washing by hand. You may find them more convenient and easy to get into but sometimes provide inconsistent results.
Pro Tip: Once the outside of your RV is clean, keep the inside tidy as well with these Best RV Vacuum Options for Keeping Your RV Clean.
DIY At-Home Wash
While it’s not always possible, a DIY at-home wash typically provides the best results. While you may get a more detailed clean, it will take some supplies, a bit of your time, and a tremendous amount of effort. Depending on the size of your RV, thoroughly washing your rig can take all day.
You’ll likely need a ladder and other standard items for washing vehicles, but you’ll also need to verify whether you’re allowed to wash your RV. Your sub-division or local ordinances may have regulations that prohibit this, and most campgrounds won’t allow you to wash vehicles while camping.
The benefit of a DIY at-home wash is that you can control how good of a job you do and what products and chemicals you use. If you can regularly clean your RV and give it the TLC it deserves, this can protect it and keep it looking like new for years to come.
Finding the Best Option
As you can see, keeping your RV squeaky clean can pose a challenge, especially if you travel full-time in your RV. It can take effort and cost more than washing a normal vehicle. You may even have a bad experience after paying a lot for a wash with poor results.
Keeping your RV looking new is a great way to maintain value on your RV, especially if you plan to sell it down the road.
What’s your preferred method for keeping your RV looking new? Let us know in the comments below!
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