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Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Checking for Leaks at the Drive Section on the Conveyor

CarWash College™ Preventive Maintenance Tip of the Month

January 28, 2008
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At CarWash College™ we teach preventive maintenance. This month we are going to talk about a piece of equipment that often goes unchecked until it is too late. The Heco drive on the conveyor is the heartbeat of the conveyorized car wash operation, providing the movement of the conveyor itself. In this article we will talk about finding leaks on the Heco and how this could save you both time and money.

It is important to start the day by looking at the drive section of the conveyor for any signs of leaks before operation. At this time look for any hydraulic fluid that may be present on the Heco or surrounding areas. In addition, look for fluid that might be pooling on the pit floor just underneath the Heco. The next check that should be performed is checking the shaft seal while under pressure, as this is usually the first place on the unit that starts to leak. During this check, look around the hoses and fittings on the Heco to see if any fluid might leaking. During these checks, also follow the hoses that lead from the Heco to the back room. Often these hoses go through a chase from the back room into the pit. Look for any hydraulic fluid that might be running from the chase, as this could indicate a leak in a hose. Another indication of a leak is the presence of hydraulic fluid, during the day, floating on top of the water in the pit. The most important thing to do, in order to find any leaks in the Heco, is to keep this area of the pit clean by washing the pit with a pressure washer on a nightly basis. Having this area clean will allow the leaks to be more visible.

A serious leak in the Heco drive could potentially put the car wash out of business. Let's assume it's a busy day, that's when the breakdown occurs, and you are running 50 cars per hour. If there are no spare hoses in the car wash, it would have to shut down. At 50 cars per hour, if the car wash is a full service with a $13.00 ticket average, it would cost the car wash approximately $650.00 for every hour the car wash is down. So, by performing these quick checks on the Heco, finding and repairing the leak before it's too serious, the car wash could avoid any lengthy downtime.

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 or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.