• Customer Care

Which Type of Automatic Car Wash Bay Will You Choose?


Car wash equipment has come a long way over the years. Touchless automatic car washes began to replace many automatic washes that were damaging cars with hard brushes. However, some missed the better clean of a wash with brushes and so new materials were developed for use in wash bays that do not damage a car’s finish. Now, car wash owners have to choose between touchless and friction car washes. Here are a few things to consider when investing in a car wash business.

How Many Cars Will You Be Washing?

Car wash owners try to open new bays in areas where more people want an automatic wash. That means speed is an important factor in how many cars you can wash on busy days or during popular times of the day. While a touchless wash can only handle 10 to 15 cars per hour, a conveyor wash with cloth or foam brushes may be able to handle 50 cars an hour or more depending on the car wash equipment that is installed in the express bay.

Getting a Car Clean

Your customers are going to want the cleanest vehicle possible without taking damage. Touchless bays are obviously the safest option, but even with presoaking the car and using high-speed wash jets, a touchless wash can’t match up with the clean that you get from a friction wash. Plus, now that cloth and foam brushes make car damage a thing of the past, there’s really no need to give up the extra cleaning power.

Is There Ever a Time for Touchless?

In a few cases, a car may need a little more TLC. For example, a car with heavy damage from rust doesn’t need to be hit even with soft foam or cloth brushes while being sprayed with high-speed jets of water. There are also some car owners who baby their vehicles and simply won’t let even modern soft brushes strike their vehicles. In these cases, however, hand washing is far superior to a touchless automatic wash, and owners should be willing to pay extra for such a time-consuming service.

Establishment Costs and Profits

The biggest difference is that while a touchless bay can’t wash as many cars or get them as clean, they are also a lot cheaper to install. That’s why you still see them nationwide. An express wash with a conveyor and tunnel, on the other hand, can cost $2-3 million to design and install. At the same time, these washes can make $600,000 a year and begin providing a return on investment in just a few short years. So for both investors and car owners, modern express washes with a tunnel system are the way to go.

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