There are many factors in running a successful in-bay carwash, most important of all is producing superior-looking cars at a low cost per car. Creating customer-pleasing results requires good equipment, quality chemicals and ongoing maintenance and upgrades to both your equipment and facility.
Operators from time to time may discover that their cars are not coming out as clean and shiny as they know their wash can produce, and can become frustrated trying to figure out why, which is why we offer the following “5 Troubleshooting Steps for Cleaner In-Bay Cars”.
Step 1: “You can’t clean cars with cold water”
Your mixed water and presoak/detergent wash solution needs to be 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit at the nozzle to provide effective cleaning. Whether you use a hot water storage tank or a tankless “instant” hot water system, be sure to check the actual solution temperature at the nozzle to make sure you are in the effective range, and make any necessary adjustments if below that range. Note: in the summer you don’t need to heat the water as high, 80-100 degrees will work in hot temperatures, which can save you money.
Step 2: “Check your pressure!”
Your wash solution nozzles should be set at 1,000-1,200 PSI to create enough impact on the surface to generate the friction that helps wash off soils and grime. As nozzles wear, the pressure they create drops, which reduces cleaning. Replace your nozzles at least every 12 months, and at least every 6 months if you use a reclaim system.
Step 3: “Titration…what?”
Titration kits provided by your chemical manufacturer measure the pH of diluted car wash chemicals to determine the actual dilution concentration. Dilution tips can be inaccurate depending on water pressure, metering device, etc. so be sure to check that your actual dilution meets manufacturer recommendations for effective cleaning.
Step 4: “How’s your water?”
Hard water reduces cleaning effectiveness of most detergents, so check your water hardness to make sure your water softener is working properly. If you have hard water and don’t have a water softener look for a presoak/detergent designed to work in harder water.
5 Troubleshooting Steps for Cleaner In-Bay Cars
Step 5: “Dwell on it…”
Chemicals need time to sit on the vehicle surface to better dissolve soil and grime, ideally 15-30 seconds dwell time for presoak/detergents to work. Some equipment manufacturers and operators are pushing for faster wash cycle time, but be careful you don’t short change cleaning solution dwell time. Also, be sure you are using high-quality (and consistent-quality!) car wash chemicals. Going with a cheap product usually means you are getting less cleaning effectiveness!
These trouble shooting steps are invaluable in improving your wash processes, and should get you back on track to producing customer-pleasing clean and shiny cars!