Clean up the confusion around carwash doors

Clean up the confusion around carwash doors

Selecting the right carwash door is a nuanced decision with significant implications for security, functionality, and customer satisfaction.

Selecting the correct door for your carwash may seem like a simple decision. However, there are plenty of style options available and factors to consider before making your final choice.

Choosing the correct door

The door you choose will significantly impact various aspects of your carwash operation, including security, functionality and customer experience. Take the time to consider the factors before finalizing your decision. These are the most popular types of doors used in carwashes.

1. Sectional doors

Sectional doors are composed of hinged-together panel pieces that move vertically along tracks when you open or close them. These offer excellent insulation and durability, making them suitable for harsh weather conditions. 

Insulated doors can boost energy efficiency to reduce utility bills and overall energy consumption.1 Sectional doors are available in various materials — including steel, aluminum and fiberglass — allowing for customization based on specific requirements.

2. High-speed doors

High-speed doors are ideal for facilities with high traffic volume or where efficiency is essential. They feature rapid opening and closing speeds, reducing customer wait times and improving operational efficiency. 

They’re also equipped with advanced safety features like motion sensors and auto-reverse mechanisms to prevent accidents and ensure smooth operation.

3. Roll-up doors

Roll-up doors are the most popular choice for carwash facilities due to their space-saving design and ease of operation. These have horizontal slats that coil above the entrance, allowing for maximum clearance and unobstructed access. The slats are usually 2 5/8 inches high, so most roll-up door heights increase in 2 5/8 inch increments.2

They’re ideal for locations with limited ceiling space, or where rapid opening and closing speeds are important. The rollers may become stiff, so it’s essential to keep them well-lubricated and in optimal working condition.3

4. Sliding doors

Sliding doors move horizontally along tracks, providing a sleek and space-efficient solution for carwash entrances. These doors are great for locations with limited headroom or where traditional overhead clearance isn’t feasible. They offer a smooth and quiet operation, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor carwash facilities.

5. Folding doors

Folding doors are also known as bi-fold or accordion doors. They consist of several panels that fold vertically when you open them. These doors are space-saving and provide a wide opening for vehicles to enter and exit smoothly. They’re commonly used in carwash facilities with limited room or where a wide entrance is required by overhead clearance.

Consider these factors when sizing

Door size may seem like a minor detail, but it’s crucial for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of your facility. Choosing the right size can impact everything from security and functionality to customer satisfaction and operational costs. 

Before deciding, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure the size aligns with your specific needs and objectives.

1. Assess the dimensions

Before even considering style or functionality, it’s crucial to assess your carwash bay’s dimensions accurately. Measure the width and the height of the entrance to determine the best size for your doors.4 Remember to account for obstructions such as overhead pipes or electrical fixtures that may impact the installation.

2. Consider the vehicle types

Consider the type of vehicles that will pass through your carwash. Are you primarily servicing standard-sized cars, or do you anticipate larger vehicles such as trucks or SUVs? Selecting doors with sufficient clearance is essential to accommodate a diverse range of cars and prevent potential damage during a carwash.

3. Focus on safety and security

Safety and security should be a top priority when selecting the right door. A properly sized one protects against harsh weather and potential security threats. A door that’s too small will leave gaps or inadequately cover the entrance, creating vulnerabilities. These gaps could allow unauthorized access, or even compromise the safety of staff and customers.

If the door is too narrow, it might not fully close, leaving the premises susceptible to break-ins or vandalism during off-hours. On the other hand, an oversized one might pose safety risks during operation, causing accidents or damage to vehicles and property.

Therefore, meticulously assessing the dimensions and requirements of the facility ensures the selected door size optimally balances security concerns with operational needs. Additionally, investing in features like robust locking mechanisms and advanced security systems provides added peace of mind.

4. Prioritize functionality

Ensuring optimal functionality is essential to maintain smoother operations and streamline customer service. Adequate doors must operate seamlessly to allow vehicle entry and exit while minimizing disruptions and delays.

Doors that are too small can obstruct traffic flow, causing congestion and inconvenience for customers and staff. Vehicles may struggle to maneuver through the opening, leading to bottlenecks and potential accidents. It may also limit the types of cars you can accommodate, excluding large trucks or SUVs from using your services.

Conversely, oversized doors may accommodate a wide range of vehicles, but they can be cumbersome and may result in unnecessary energy consumption. Additionally, they’ll likely require more extensive maintenance and repairs, leading to increased downtime and operational costs.

Your selected door should align with the anticipated traffic volume and vehicle types. By choosing appropriately sized doors, operators can ensure smooth traffic flow, minimize wait times and enhance efficiency.

5. Don’t neglect style

The door’s size and design contribute to the visual impression customers form when approaching the facility, influencing their perception of the brand and quality of the service. Properly sized doors should complement the architectural design and theme of the carwash facility. 

Whether it is a sleek modern building or a more traditional structure, the doors should seamlessly integrate with the overall look and feel, enhancing the curb appeal and attracting customers.

For instance, oversized doors can create a grand entrance, conveying a sense of spaciousness and sophistication. This look can be particularly appealing for upscale carwash facilities targeting clients who value premium service and aesthetics. On the other hand, smaller doors may be more appealing for carwashes, offering a personalized appearance.

6. Prioritize trustworthiness

Reliability is a crucial consideration, as it directly impacts the operation and long-term performance of the facility. Opting for appropriately sized doors engineered for reliability is essential to minimize downtime, maintenance costs and potential safety risks.

The selected doors should consistently perform their intended function with minimal disruptions or failures. Regarding size, they must be correctly proportioned to the entrance to ensure smooth operation and reduce the likelihood of mechanical issues. 

For instance, small doors may strain under the weight of heavy traffic, leading to premature wear on components such as hinges, rollers and motors. Conversely, oversized doors may experience excessive stress during operation, potentially causing malfunctions or structural damage over time.

Pay extra attention to the quality of construction and the materials used. Doors constructed from durable materials such as steel enhance their longevity and resistance to environmental factors such as corrosion, moisture, extreme temperatures or high winds.5

Avoid these common mistakes

Watch out for these errors to enhance the operational efficiency of your service:

  • Ignoring accurate measurements of the entrance dimensions
  • Failing to consider clearance requirements for vehicles of different sizes
  • Overlooking potential obstructions such as overhead pipes or electrical fixtures
  • Opting for doors that are too small, leading to congestion and traffic flow issues
  • Selecting doors that are too large, resulting in excessive energy consumption and operational inefficiencies
  • Neglecting to account for future growth or changes in vehicle sizes
  • Forgetting to assess the impact of door sizes on the overall aesthetic and curb appeal of the facility
  • Understanding the importance of reliability and durability in door selection
  • Overlooking safety considerations like clearance for emergency exits or compliance with building codes
  • Failing to consult with experts or reputable manufacturers for guidance and recommendations.

Enhance your operations

There are plenty of carwash doors on the market, but it’s essential to consider your service and priorities. By following these sizing tips and considering the unique needs of your facility, you can ensure a seamless experience for operators and customers.


Oscar Collins is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modded, where he writes about cars, car trends and auto news. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates on his work.

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