A Guide to Car Wash Maintenance

Your car wash tools and equipment need maintenance to ensure that they are always at their peak performance and you can deliver good results to your clients on time. Maintaining a car wash properly involves responding to and preventing issues.

This car wash maintenance guide provides the information you need to maintain your systems.

Why Is Car Wash Maintenance Important?

Your cash wash business mainly runs on the equipment and machinery you operate. After your staff, these equipment or tools are the most important assets of your business. Some reasons you should prioritize car wash maintenance include:

  • Reliability:¬†Car wash tools that are regularly maintained are reliable. You can expect the equipment to perform its functions with fewer breakdowns.
  • Safety:¬†You need to keep your employees safe, and one way to do so is by maintaining car wash equipment to prevent accidents.
  • Save costs:¬†Well-maintained equipment will last longer and save you the costs of adding new equipment frequently.
  • Professionalism:¬†Maintenance helps your equipment look clean and professional. You can make a good impression on your customers by keeping everything in working order.
  • Results:¬†Your clients expect to get the best car wash possible for their vehicles. You can ensure their satisfaction with equipment that operates at its optimum level. Even when your employees are highly motivated, faulty car wash equipment may hamper the results or delay the services, discouraging repeat business.

Failure to maintain your cash can lead to expenses in repairing damaged parts or the purchase of new parts and equipment. In addition, faulty equipment can lead to downtime and lost revenues.

Reactive vs. Preventative Maintenance

There are two main types of car wash maintenance ‚ÄĒ reactive car wash maintenance and preventative car wash maintenance.

Reactive Car Wash Maintenance

As the term implies, reactive maintenance is what you do when your equipment breaks down. In this scenario, maintenance aims to either repair or replace equipment parts that have already broken.

You’ll do this type of maintenance for unexpected breakdowns in the course of operation ‚ÄĒ when you react to issues as they happen. While this type of maintenance is cost-effective, it should not be your only maintenance approach. This is because reactive maintenance is not sustainable for expensive machinery in the long run.

Preventative Car Wash Maintenance

Preventative maintenance involves doing regular inspections and maintenance before breakdowns happen. While reactive maintenance is done after equipment is damaged, preventative maintenance is done before. Regular maintenance reduces the probability of future repairs.

One of the factors to consider when inspecting equipment is age. Old equipment will need more frequent inspections compared to a new one. Regular preventative maintenance includes cleaning, repairs, replacement, lubrication and adjustments.

Types of Car Washes

There are four main types of car washes:

  • Automatic cash wash system:¬†The system provides quick and efficient car wash service with minimal effort required from the customer. The main features include high-pressure jets, mechanized brushes and a conveyor system
  • Self-service car wash:¬†These systems allow your¬†clients to wash their cars themselves. However, you provide all the equipment at the site.
  • Handwash:¬†A handwash service is a personalized car wash experience by skilled technicians. This type of car wash focuses on detail and customer satisfaction.
  • Tunnel car wash:¬†This is an automatic crash wash on a large scale. Cars pass through different stages of a cleaning tunnel, making it possible to wash multiple cars simultaneously.

Some equipment may be specific to the type of car wash, so the type of maintenance you perform will also be different. For example, automatic car wash maintenance may have different approaches to self-service or tunnel car wash.

How to Properly Maintain Your Car Wash

Whether you’re doing reactive or preventative maintenance, the goal is to ensure that equipment performs at its peak when needed. Closing down your car wash on a busy day due to equipment failures can impede revenue and cause customers to lose confidence in your business.

car being washed by hose

Prioritize doing preventative maintenance over reactive maintenance to reduce the likelihood of unforeseen situations, such as car wash shutdowns. Keeping a car wash maintenance schedule can help in keeping track of your equipment maintenance needs. You should have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance routines.

Daily Routine

On top of the daily tasks you need to perform to manage your business, you should set aside some time every day to check over your machines and equipment. If you aren’t on-site, you can create an opening and closing car wash maintenance checklist for your employees to complete.

At the start of the work day, someone should inspect the ground for any standing water that might point to leaks. Then, run a test wash without a car to identify any problems with the machinery and lubricate the brushes. Look and listen for anything out of the ordinary.

You should also perform daily cleaning tasks, such as wiping or hosing down machinery and floors. You might also need to top up any cleaning solutions that are running low.

Weekly Routine

In addition to daily visual checks, your weekly routine on your site should include a thorough manual inspection. Specific items need to be checked on a weekly basis, such as:

  • Water lines
  • Conveyor belts
  • Air compressors
  • Drains
  • Heaters and thermostats
  • Nozzles
  • Brushes
  • Injector tips
  • Mounting bolts

It’s also a good idea to look for signs of chemical buildup and rust, and to perform a more thorough cleaning of all the equipment than you do in your daily checks. Greasing and lubricating the moving parts should also be a priority on your weekly maintenance checklist.

Monthly Routine

Some equipment that will need monthly maintenance and attention includes:

  • Blower
  • Friction curtains
  • Bearings
  • Electric motors
  • Foam generators

Yearly Routine

Each year, you should replace the filter on the hydraulic unit. You also need to grease all motor bearings of the blowers.

Some maintenance items are also climate-specific. For example, you may have to deal with snow at your site in winter. You need to¬†ensure that the heaters are working¬†properly. Don’t forget daily, weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance on your pay stations, too.

Keep Your Chemicals in Stock With JBS Industries

JBS Industries has been providing car wash owners with high-quality car wash and industrial cleaners since 1979. Maintaining your equipment on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis is vital for your business’s success. This means you need large quantities of maintenance supplies, and to minimize your expenses, you can buy in bulk. You can¬†contact us to learn more¬†about our top-performing cash wash solutions.

keep car wash chemicals in stock with JBS Industries


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