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Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Cleaning the Equipment

CarWash College™ Preventive Maintenance Tip of the Month

March 25, 2008
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At CarWash College™ we teach preventive maintenance. This month we are going to talk about the importance of cleaning the equipment in the car wash. Having the equipment clean can do a lot for your business. The equipment being clean is always good for the customers to see, and it has its benefits for the car wash as well.

When most people think about cleaning the equipment, they automatically think of the car wash tunnel. For the car wash to benefit, problems become easier to spot and fix in a clean environment, both in the tunnel and the back room.

So let's start with how to clean the equipment in the tunnel. This process might be shorter or longer depending on the last time it was done. First, a cleaner for the equipment is needed. In most cases, an aluminum brightener is used and it is usually an acid-based product. This usually needs to be diluted, so check the original product strength and dilute accordingly to about 50/50. The next thing you need is protective equipment. The minimum needed is rubber gloves and eye protection. However, an apron and face mask are not a bad idea. Apply the cleaner to the equipment in the tunnel. I prefer some type of way to spray the product on the equipment, as this makes the process easier, but it can be brushed on. Pay special attention to any problem areas and scrub those with a stiff bristle brush if needed. Work on one piece of equipment at a time and work from one end of the tunnel to the other. After applying the chemical, be sure to rinse the equipment thoroughly, usually with a prep gun, making sure to get all the chemical off the equipment. Chemical left on the equipment may cause continued corrosion. After cleaning the tunnel be sure to spray bolts and bearings with WD-40 or a similar product. For the back room of the car wash there is usually not as much grime on the equipment, so a spray bottle and all-purpose cleaner can be used. Spray the cleaner on, allowing time to work and then remove with a rag. If the build-up is bad use some type of scrub brush to remove the build-up.

As stated above, keeping the equipment clean can help you find problems quickly and cut the repair time in half. Let's look at the facts. If a bearing on the wrap goes out, the equipment is dirty, and bolts are seized, it could take as much as three hours to fix. On the other hand, at a clean and well-kept car wash it takes as little as forty-five minutes to do the same repair. The benefits to you are huge in time savings. The benefits to the customer are huge, since a clean car wash always makes for a better car washing experience. So keep the equipment clean for you and your customers.

Robert Andre is the Director of Classroom training for CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.comor call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.