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Everything You Need to Know About Truck Washes for Big Rig Over-the-Road Drivers
September 8th, 2017

You’ve most likely nailed down your favorite truck wash in your home town, but what about when you are over the road? Where can you go to get a truck wash in a rush and in any state? The last thing you want to do is choose a shady wash that ends up leaving your truck in worse shape than when you brought it in. So, to help you out, we’ve dug deep to come up with a helpful resource of all the different options you have for accessing good truck washes OTR.

Benefits to Clean Big Rigs

Having a clean truck represents your driving company in a good light. After all, customers don’t want a dirty old rig to roll up hauling their $1 million in goods, do they? Also, there is some belief that if you have a clean truck, you’ll be able to get through DOT inspections much easier. When an inspector pulls you over, if your tractor and trailer are in good condition and, most notably, clean, they are getting a good first impression of your operation. If you keep it looking good on the outside, chances are you are also taking time to keep clean log books and records. This might be stereotyping, but it happens and is a way for inspectors to save time by judging a trucker by his truck. Additionally, when you keep your truck washed, it can make it a lot easier to identify maintenance issues, such as oil leaks or broken taillight covers.

Types of Truck Washes

Whether you want a quick wash down or you prefer the white glove treatment of hand washing your semi-truck, there is one need that all truck drivers have in common. You’ve got to keep your big rig clean. Speaking of truck wash types, here is a breakdown of what you can expect to find:

  • Hand washes inside wash bays
  • Mobile hand washes that come to you, wherever your truck is parked
  • Automated truck washes, similar to drive-thru car washes but obviously much larger in size

Depending on the place where you go to get a truck wash, you might also have the option of using an environmentally friendly power wash. This costs a few bucks more than a non-environmental power wash, and companies that offer eco-options generally also offer standard washes. So, you aren’t forced to get an eco-wash, unless this is required by your trucking company employer or important for you as a truck driver or OO.

List of Truck Wash Services

Additionally, there are different types of truck wash services based on what type of hauls you are carrying. These include:

  • Cattle and livestock trailer washout
  • Cement truck wash
  • Van trailer washout
  • Reefer trailer washout
  • Gasoline tanker washout
  • Flatbed trailer wash
  • Grain trailer wash
  • Gravel trailer wash
  • Auto carrier wash
  • Grain pup trailer with hopper washout
  • Tractor truck engine steam cleaning
  • Fifth wheel wash
  • Brightening wash for aluminum
  • Tractor wheel brightening polish

Generally, you will get your truck tractor wash. After all, most of the time when you are over the road, you aren’t going to have an empty trailer. However, depending on the type of loads you are hauling and what customers require for their own hauls, you may be required to wash out your trailer before picking up a new load while over the road. Typically, this happens when you are hauling produce or other such perishables in a dry van or reefer trailer. If you have contaminants, such as insects or mold, in the trailer from a prior load, this could jeopardize your latest load.

Pricing for a truck wash depends on the service. Clearly, getting a hand wash or a mobile wash will cost you more than a drive-thru automated truck wash. In general, you can expect to pay between $40 and $75 for a truck wash. This depends on whether you are getting a bobtail washed, or you want the full tractor trailer cleaned.

Commercial Truck Wash Companies

Below are commercial truck wash companies that operate throughout the US:

  • American Truck Wash Systems for automated truck wash services
  • Fleet Clean USA mobile truck wash
  • Superior Wash – an eco-friendly mobile truck wash using brushes, not power washers
  • Blue Beacon truck washes – one of the most popular with more than 100 locations in the US, open 24/7
  • TNT Services mobile fleet wash in the Midwest
  • Fleetwash – mobile truck wash services, washing trucks for more than 40 years, environmentally responsible,
  • Frontier Truck Wash – a locally owned business with three locations in the Southeast in Columbia and Duncan, South Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee

Truck Stops with Truck Washes

As a truck driver, you have likely seen truck washes at truck stops, and that’s on point. The world’s largest truck stop, Iowa 80, is an affiliate of TravelCenters of America. Iowa 80 has a fleet wash program called a Truckomat with 10 truck wash facilities. Note that the TAs, in general, do not have truck washes. Pilot Flying J has truck washes in select locations. This truck stop offers either full-service washes or automated truck washing. Otherwise, you might find a truck wash at a one-off independent truck stop. Yet the other big truck stops and national chains do not have truck wash facilities. Therefore, you’ll have to know where to find them to save yourself time over the road.

Apps for Truck Washes

The easiest way to do this is by downloading a trucking app that gives you information about truck washes. The most popular truck stop app for truckers is Trucker Path. You can get the free version or pay a couple of bucks to upgrade to the Pro, which eliminates ads. Using Trucker Path, you can filter truck washes only on your map. The app also provides truck wash reviews, as well as contact information about the facilities.

AllStays Truck Stops and Travel Plazas app costs $10 to download. However, you can access an extensive and constantly updated list of information about truck stops, including truck wash and tank cleaning facilities. Reviews of this app indicate it’s well worth the money as you can do a lot more than just check out truck washes near you.

Keep in mind any money you spend on searching for truck washes can be deducted on your taxes as business expenses. Same goes for the truck wash itself, so don’t delay and get your truck washed on the regular. You’ll look and feel a lot better when picking up and dropping loads, knowing your truck is looking its finest.

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