Professional Carwashing & Detailing

How to start a carwash: Picking the right door for your in-bay automatic

August 15, 2013
If you’re looking at information about doors in your carwash venture then you’ve come to the right place. Professional Carwashing & Detailing spoke with Tom Zimmerman, national sales manager for Wynd Star Doors by Rytec about the ins and outs of carwash doors, specificallly dealing with in-bay automatic doors. Rytec has manufactured Wynd Star since 2005. In 2010 Rytec acquired the manufacturer.

Starting a carwash: Where to start

What should someone starting a carwash look for in a door? What maintenance requirements are associated with the different materials?

Customers should consider the door’s function, curb appeal, operation, reliability and maintenance. 

  • A high performance vinyl door offers protection, reliability and corrosion-resistance in all car wash environments.
  • Vinyl (door panels) and fiberglass (frame construction) are ideally suited for wet, corrosive environments.
  • A high performance vinyl door offers a faster opening and closing speed, but are designed to break-away upon a vehicle strike and then reset on the next open and close cycle.
  • The clear vision panels allow light and visibility into the bay for added safety and security.
  • High performance vinyl doors have the advantage of offering color options; a wide range of colors allow operators to entice the driving public and compliment the facility or brand identity.
  • The maintenance of vinyl doors is quite simple; cycle it open and close on a regular basic. A vinyl door can be kept clean and clear with regular cleaning with a vinyl cleaner. 

How to start a carwash: What's the differece between doors?

What are the differences between your different types of doors? Why which door would be best for an in-bay automatic carwash?

The two most common types of carwash doors are high performance vinyl doors and solid panel polycarbonate doors. The flexible vinyl doors provide protection, visibility and light. They require only minimal maintenance, are easy to operate and inexpensive to repair. Polycarbonate doors have been in use longer and have a lot of market acceptance, offer more security and a higher insulation value. The rigid polycarbonate panels are prone to cracking, breaking, poor sealing, and will require downtime and repairs if hit by a vehicle. Overtime, aluminum oxide corrosion may cause the aluminum framing to dull, pit or exhibit a powdery white color. A high performance vinyl door is the best choice for an in-bay automatic due to its excellent seal against wind and ability to hold heat in the bay, the trouble-free operation in lightly attended in-bays, and low need for security in the building.       

How to start a carwash: What is the best door for security?

A high performance vinyl door offers protection but is not a security door; it can be used in conjunction with a security door when security is an issue. The vinyl door can be mounted on the exterior of the building or behind an existing secure door where needed. This allows for the secure door to be insulated in cold climates offering a much high insulation value than a standalone polycarbonate door.

In a vast majority of in-bay automatics, the security needs for the doors are very low as the most appealing item to a thief is the coin box outside. With the added cameras and alarms, most criminals don’t find it worthwhile to break into the wash bay.

What is the best door owners starting a carwash in the various climate types?

All car wash doors are suited for cold weather climates. There are vinyl doors operating in Maine, Vermont, northern New York, the upper peninsula of Michigan, and all across Canada. We have seen growth in the south and west for doors where freezing is not an issue, for control of wind through the wash, keeping the chemicals within the wash, and abating noise from the equipment. In colder climates the seal of the door keeps the heated air inside the bay and the cold wind outside. 

For someone starting a new carwash, how easy are the doors to install? Do you install them? Can a contractor install them easily?

Vinyl doors are uncomplicated and easy to install by your contractor. They use much less space in the bay so there are fewer conflicts with car wash equipment. Taking only 14” X 14” above the header, the doors can fit and fully function in bays where other doors cannot. To ensure a quality installation and proper interface with wash equipment, suppliers usually offer a national network of qualified installers.