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Writing for friction carwashing
Simply put, there needs to be friction to get a car clean. I personally believe that with the outside factors and conditions changing from day-to-day - from temperatures of cars coming in, the temperature of the surface of the car, the temperature of the outside and weather - I think you really need soft friction to end up with a good quality product time after time.
The truth is that the chemistry, when you're only touch-free, is the only thing you have to rely on.
It's like trying to wash your hands without rubbing them together. You can stand there and put as much soap on your hands as you want, but if they don't come together your hands won't really come clean.Standardized washing
If you had a completely controlled environment, the temperature of the car came in at a set temperature each day and you were removing the same type of material on the surface, I think you could wash very successfully with just touch-free.
But with today's world of washing cars, with the different types of paint surfaces, the different types of cars, with everything changing day-to-day, I think it's extremely difficult to do that and maintain the quality that we need to maintain in our industry.Weighing the pros and cons
I think properly maintained solutions that use enough soaps for lubrication creates an absolutely is a positive experience for customers at a friction wash.
Some customers might be weary of using a friction wash, but when someone doesn't wash their car for three months then bring it through they immediately think the carwash is what caused a scratch that didn't notice before.
This is where it takes experience on the owner's and manager's part, and you simply need to educate the customer.
You just need to take the customer through the wash to let them feel the cloth and educate them on the process.
Having technology that doesn't touch the car certainly creates an advantage for touch-free users in this sense, but I think it's a lousy advantage considering you might be giving up quality.Looking at the numbers
I think a professionally run facility on a friction basis will out perform touch-free when it comes to the total cleanliness of the car.
When you try to wash a car at the speeds you need to wash at, I think it's physically impossible to get the same clean quality you can get with friction. Time after time it's clean, dry and shiny.
It's a wonderful industry to be a part of, and even if someone's running a frictionless carwash it doesn't make them wrong.
The difference is that we feel as though it's the best because we know the end product, and it meets the speeds and the volumes and quality at which we need to perform at. Over the 22 years we've been in business we've been able to define and refine those numbers.
I think there's room for every type of washing in this industry, but it really comes down to the type of washing that works best for the customers and that meets what the wash owner expects.
Mike Mountz is the owner of Cloister Car Wash & Lube, Ephrata, PA, a company that currently washes over 400,000 vehicles annually.