Are doors really necessary? - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Are doors really necessary?

Seven reasons why doors are essential to a carwash business.

The cold weather has come early again this year, and it is not just affecting the Northern U.S. and Canada. Last year many carwashes across the country experienced periods of extremely cold weather prompting many owners and operators to consider the need for doors on their carwash bays. People purchase doors primarily to protect their equipment and customers from freezing cold temperatures. However,  many other advantages to having doors add benefits year-round. If you are unsure of whether purchasing doors to protect your wash bays is the right investment, here are a few other benefits to consider.

Cold Weather

Again, this is the number one reason. If you operate in a climate that is consistently around or below freezing throughout the winter, doors are a necessity. You have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in your carwash equipment. Carwash equipment utilizes water to clean cars, and water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It is critical that doors open and close quickly between cars to maintain an above freezing temperature inside the bay. A good door package not only opens and closes quickly between cars, but seals off the opening to eliminate any cold air from leaking into the bay when the door is down. If you only have cold temperatures for a few weeks in the winter, consider the revenue lost during times you need to shut down due to cold weather. This is additional revenue that could be gained by adding doors and staying open.


A polycarbonate door offers the same security as a steel-insulated garage door. Adding doors can protect your equipment from theft or vandalism. Closing off the bay when not in use will also keep noncustomers out who should not be in the bay.


A carwash bay with an entrance and exit opening can create a wind tunnel effect.  Proper application of chemical on the vehicle is the key to aptly cleaning the vehicle. Gusting winds can blow chemicals and water away from the vehicle and reduce the effectiveness of those chemicals to clean the entire vehicle. The chemicals are then also ineffectively applied to your equipment; it is not washed off and can cause maintenance issues down the road. In self-serve applications, having the ability to close one or both doors to eliminate wind provides your customers a sheltered environment to wash their cars, and it will be greatly appreciated. Vinyl rollup doors have become popular for eliminating the wind tunnel effect in bays.

Noise Reduction

Most busy washes are in highly populated areas. Many cities or counties have noise ordinances that must be adhered to when building a wash. Closing your doors during the wash process can greatly reduce the noise generated by your wash equipment and dryers. Most polycarbonate doors are constructed of a five-wall – 5/8-inch thick material. Having multiple layers greatly increases the amount of sound blocked by the door. A typical five-wall polycarbonate door will reduce the decibel level by approximately 12-18 decibels when the door is closed. Vinyl rollup doors are constructed of single layer panels. Most panels are either a 22-ounce solid vinyl panel or a solid clear PVC panel. Depending on the makeup of the panels, this style of door reduces levels from 10-14 decibels when the door is closed.

Traffic Flow

Have you ever had a confused customer at your location that did not follow the proper procedure for a wash? Maybe they thought they had entered their code and the wash had activated, but it was still waiting for authorization. That customer proceeds to enter the wash bay, but nothing happens. Now they are frustrated and they have caused some commotion and confusion for those waiting in line as well. With doors activated by the wash, the entrance door will only open when the wash has acknowledged the purchase and is ready for the vehicle to enter the bay. Opening the exit door at the end of the wash also signals the wash cycle is complete and that it is OK for the vehicle to exit the bay. This is extremely important for any automatic or tunnel bay application to maintain efficient vehicle traffic flow and eliminate confusion for customers. 

Water Retainage

Many cities have strict regulations against the water from carwashes flowing out from the facility into the city water and sewer system. Doors offer a way to keep the water inside the bay and into your own facility’s drainage system.


A well-maintained door can add to the appearance of your building. It is difficult to keep your bay and all of your equipment clean at all times, and doors can block all of this off from the customer’s sight when first approaching your facility. 

When cold weather hits your area again this winter, keep these benefits in mind while contemplating doors. Not only can doors protect you against the cold and keep your wash open during these cold snaps, but they can offer benefits year-round that will enhance customer appreciation of your wash and also increase your bottom line.

Josh Hart is vice president of Airlift Doors Inc. of Minneapolis, Mich. For more information on Airlift Doors, visit or call 1-888-368-4403, extension 106.

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