Can You Take a Light Bar Through a Carwash?

Light bars are an excellent lighting source when we embark on a journey of off-roading. They can give us a day-like output at night that our headlights cannot manage.

So, naturally, they also come at a high rate. None of us want to see it damaged or filled with water after rainy weather or carwash.

Unfortunately, water is one of the biggest reasons behind the malfunctioning of light bars. But does that mean it is impossible to take them through a carwash without damaging them? Let’s find out the answer to that in this article.

Water Protection of Light Bars

Light bars on the market usually come with water resistance. Some of them can tackle more water than others. The way to measure their water and dust protection level is called the Ingress Protection, or IP in short. A higher IP means better shielding against those elements.

Introduction to IP Levels

If you are already not familiar with IP levels, let me explain it to you. The IP level is a showcase of the resistance to dust and water of any item. It holds two digits.

So, you may see it written as IP65 or IP68. So, how to interpret it? The first digit indicates the dust resistance, while the second one is for the water.

The dust resistance of any item goes from 0 to 6. Meanwhile, the water-resistance goes from 0 to 9. Almost all light bars come with a durst protection level of 6. But their water protection may vary from 5 to 9. But does that mean a higher water protection level means more survivability in a carwash?

Not necessarily. Let’s look at the meaning of different IP levels below, From IP65 to IP59.

  • IP 65- Protection from dust and water jet from a 6.3mm nozzle from any angle.
  • IP 66- Protection from dust and heavy water jet from 12.5mm nozzle from any angle.
  • IP 67- Protection from dust and water immersion under 15cm to 1m depth for around 30-minutes.
  • IP 68- Protection from dust and water immersion under 1m depth for a long time.
  • IP 69K- Protection from dust and high-pressure water jets from all directions and steam cleaning.

Looking at it, you can notice that IP67-IP68 indicates protection from immersion or submerging. But it doesn’t mean that the item can tackle water jets or rainfall. A high IP level on an item doesn’t indicate that it also has those traits of the low levels.

So, even if a light bar shows an IP 67 or 68 weatherproof, it doesn’t mean you can take it through a carwash. I often see people noticing these high ratings and taking their light bars through the wash, only to get frustrated after noticing water inside.

Which IP Level Is Safe for Carwash?

Going with the IP list, you can see that IP 65 and 66 indicate protection against water jets from a nozzle from any direction. The nozzle here has to be 6.3mm and 12.5mm. But when washing a car, we don’t simply use nozzles like that.

We also add soaps, detergents, liquid cleaners, and what not? None of those items are safe for a light bar.

If your light bar has IP69K, which is pretty rare, it may survive the water from the carwash. But that doesn’t guarantee any protection against soapy water or cleaners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are light bars waterproof?

Light bars are usually made from polycarbonate and are water resistant, but they are not waterproof. This means that they should not be placed in wet areas, especially those that have standing water. If the water is only a puddle, then they are fine. But if the water is running or in a stream, you should avoid placing them in such areas.

How do you get moisture out of a light bar?

You can use a hair dryer or a dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture from the light bar. If you have a large one, you can use a fan to blow out any remaining moisture. If the moisture levels get too low, the lights may not work properly.

Final Note

Whether you ask in an online forum or a mechanic, everyone will strongly suggest you not take your light bars through a car wash. I should also mention that many manufacturers fail to provide even the IP level they promise.

For instance, I tested light bars with IP66 by taking them under drizzling rain, and water still leaked inside.

In conclusion, I don’t recommend taking your light bar through a car wash. You don’t want to damage your newly bought bar.

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