5 critical considerations for carwash parking lot upkeep

5 critical considerations for carwash parking lot upkeep

Neglected customer loading, exiting, vacuum and waiting areas can throw away business potential.

Before your potential customers experience your service, they have to go through your parking lot. A good first impression will ensure you attract valuable customers and keep them coming. It’s also wise to invest in maintaining your parking lot to keep it functional and safe for your employees and customers.

Neglected pavement can develop cracks and potholes, accumulating dirt and debris that might cause damage to vehicles. It might even place customers at greater risk of injury if you’re particularly negligent.

With that in mind, here are five things to consider for your carwash parking lot upkeep.

1. Preventative care

The first step to good preventive care involves consulting a trusted asphalt maintenance provider. The maintenance provider will send a representative for a visual inspection of the parking lot to identify repairs or preventative measures needed.

Thereafter, you will need to perform routine assessments to ensure the parking lot stays in good condition and gets repaired when any issue arises.

When you have your first visual inspection with a maintenance provider, go around with him or her so you know what to look for when performing routine checks. This makes communication between you and the service provider easier because you can alert the tech of any potential problems such as cracks, potholes, and other issues like faded stripping and gray pavement that signal asphalt deterioration.

If you’re a new carwash business owner, you will want to ensure you have a comprehensive budget for maintenance as needed.1 This will also help when you need funding for emergency repairs.

2. Maintenance and repairs

Asphalt ages, which can result in cracks and potholes. Water damage and oxidation may further harm your parking lot, leading to an unappealing and unsafe parking area.

Over time, the parking lot surface may fade and lose its color. This graying is caused by oxidation, which is caused by sunlight exposure. This decreases the aesthetic appearance of the parking lot and makes it more likely to undergo water infiltration and damage.

Water damage happens when water seeps into pavement through cracks over a long period of time. In addition to that, when water freezes and expands, it can lead to more cracking and asphalt surface deterioration.

To combat this, you will want to seal any cracks and apply a sealcoat. Sealcoating creates a protective layer to prevent oxidation, UV damage and water penetration.

Before sealcoating, ensure that all cracks have been filled. While small cracks aren’t a major issue, you should fill them immediately to prevent large cracks and holes. It’s much easier to fill cracks than to replace or repair a large part of the pavement.

You should fill cracks annually and get pavement sealcoated every three to five years to elongate the lifespans of a parking lot.2 According to this recommendation, business owners that get their parking lots crack-filled and resealed can see a parking lot last 30 years without replacement, compared to 15 years with no maintenance.

3. Regular cleaning

To increase the parking lot’s longevity, regular cleaning is essential. A mechanical sweeper can remove larger surface debris to maintain a presentable parking lot. When a parking lot is cleaned, the cleaner should pay particular attention to edges, corners and areas around structures or buildings prone to buildup.

When debris like trash, leaves and dirt accumulate, it affects curb appeal and presents safety risks for vehicles and pedestrians. Additionally, accumulated debris clogs drains, leading to water pooling that can weaken and deteriorate the parking lot surface.

If there are puddles or pools on your lot even after cleaning, it’s wise to check drains for blockages. Regularly checking the drains for blockages will aid in preventing long-term problems.

Regular sweeping is also important for dust control — which reduces equipment and vehicle wear and increases safety for your carwash workers and customers. Property owners and businesses can contact private street sweeping companies or public works departments to arrange regular cleanings.

Consider companies that use regenerative air sweepers for occasional deep sweeping. Regenerative air sweepers have 74% removal efficiency for medium and fine particles, which reduces dust and particle pollution released in the air from parking lot cleaning.3

Another reason you should clean a parking lot regularly is to prevent the accumulation of chemical pollutants such as car grease and gasoline from leaky engines. These chemical pollutants cause rapid deterioration by breaking down the asphalt binder that holds the parking lot surface together.

When an oil spill happens, spot cleaning with dish soap or an oil-destroying agent is effective, but regular cleaning will ensure these spills are removed properly.

4. Repainting

Repainting stripes increases curb appeal, but it can also help you to maintain the integrity and health of the parking lot. Each time the older stripes fade, paint new ones in different areas to prevent cars from driving and parking on the same spots repeatedly.

This can help to protect the pavement from deteriorating faster so that you aren’t constantly patching up. This can also help you maximize parking space and help customers park easily.

When you do repaint, use water-soluble paint, as other types of paint could result in chipping, cracking and peeling. Water-based latex paints work well because they dry fast and have minimal odor.

Suppose you have areas that require long-lasting paint, like parking spaces reserved for differently-abled individuals. In that case, 100% acrylic paint works best because it’s weather-resistant and isn’t easily removed by water.

5. Safety features

It’s essential to have safety features on your parking lot to reduce any accidents or confusion.

Ensure that painted direction arrows, clear signs providing instructions for customers and boards highlighting slippery surfaces or dangerous machinery are well maintained.

Keep your parking lot functional and attractive with regular maintenance

Create a consistent maintenance and preventative care plan to ensure your parking lot looks professional and safe for your employees and customers.

This plan should include regular upkeep from a trusted maintenance provider, consistent cleaning, filling cracks and sealcoating when recommended and finally repainting the asphalt surface when necessary.

Investing in parking lot upkeep will maintain the curb appeal and attract customers who stay.


1 https://modded.com/cars/how-to-start-a-car-wash
2 https://www.dbkrieginc.com/parking-lot-maintenance.php

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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