Every car wash is different. There are the obvious differences i.e.; tunnels are different than in-bays, in-bays are different than self serves, etc.
Even if you have the same equipment package, in more than one location, installed by the same crew, there will be slight variations in placement, performance, and sound.
In CarWash College, we often refer to the “Car Wash Song”. The car wash song is the sounds a wash makes as cars are being processed from entrance to exit. Every wash’s song is slightly different but as a manager, or owner/operator, you know your song as soon as you hear it. You also know if anything is even slightly out of tune, what caused it, and more important, how to get it back to the tune you love. At least you should.
When I sold my wash back in 2002, the original couple I sold to quickly sold it again to an absentee owner that was in the laundromat business in Ohio. After owning the wash for a few months, he called and asked if I could meet him at my old site as he had recently remodeled the equipment and wanted me to see it. I agreed and met him there at the requested time on a Saturday morning.
This being a full service wash, the equipment room was adjacent to the customer hallway that led to the cashier area. As I stood in the hallway looking at the new equipment near the tunnel entrance, the equipment room was to my immediate left. I noticed the high pressure component in the tunnel was only producing a single stream of water on the wheels and I could hear a deep cavitating sound coming from the backroom from the high pressure pump. When greeted by the new owner, his first question to me was, “Well, what do you think?” Being the diplomat that I am, I believe my response was something along the line of, “What the hell is wrong with you, don’t you hear that?” “Hear what?” he replied. “The pump cavitating in the pump room, it’s out of water” “How do you know?”, “I can hear it” “You can hear that the pump’s out of water? That’s scary!”, “No, what’s scary, is that you can’t”.
I spent close to 14 years at that wash and knew my car wash song like the back of my hand. Even though the tune had changed with the renovation, a cavitating pump still sounded like a cavitating pump.
Call me a car wash nerd but there’s just something about a well-tuned tunnel that sounds like music! Mac valves firing, power packs humming, high pressure pumps drumming along. It’s a beautiful thing when running correctly, but throw a jammed roller into the mix and see how quickly the tune changes to a bad American Idol audition!
All employees should know your song. Empower them to shut down the wash if they hear something amiss. Being able to quickly identify the source of a potential problem can save damage to equipment and vehicles which, in turn saves us money and that, is music to all of our ears.
Bob Fox has over 30 years of industry experience and is an instructor at CarWash College™. Bob can be reached at [email protected] For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.
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