It was after a busy day in the South Florida heat and humidity that my mom’s expression, “There’s nothing that a broom to the backside can’t fix,” came to mind.

I was running a busy full-serve wash. It was closing time, and I was looking forward to getting out of the wash and getting in front of a cold beverage. Just then, the assistant manager popped in the office and said he had everything shut down but that the drying agent arch was still running.

That was when my mom’s line popped in my head. “Where’s the broom?” I asked. By the look on his face, I’m sure my assistant thought I had lost my senses. With broom in hand, I went to the equipment room with my assistant manager trailing behind me to attack the problem … literally!

This wash tunnel was built in the ‘60s, and even after a few remodels, it wasn’t the most organized carwash, so I had two choices. I could trace the tangled wiring and poly flow and possibly take hours to identify the offending solenoid, or I could start beating them with a broom, one by one, until the problem arch stopped flowing.

I brought the broom back there for a reason, and It was after only a few attempts that we located the bad solenoid and the arch stopped running. The magic broom struck again!

After identifying the bad solenoid, we removed it and cleaned it out. Inside, we found all kinds of dirt and debris, more than I had ever seen accumulate in a solenoid. It was then that my assistant told me that on my day off, the city had been working on the water main out front. They repaired what was described as a “minor leak.” Well, that “minor leak” caused an unknown amount of sediment to get into our water source and then our solenoids.

Armed with this new information, I knew what needed to be done. The last thing I wanted to do at this point of the day was take apart all the solenoids and clean them, but that’s what we did for the next few hours.
While none of them were currently a problem, we knew it was only a matter of time until we had another one sticking.

I left that night knowing that the wash was ready to open the next day without any issues from sticking solenoids, that the magic broom had once again come through and that mom would have been proud that I didn’t need a broom to the backside to get me to stay late after a grueling day.

We’ve all heard the line, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I think it should be rewritten as, “If it ain’t broke, maintain it!”

By getting ahead of potential problems, hopefully we can keep the brooms off our backsides….


Luis Hernandez has 18 years industry experience and is an instructor at CarWash College™. 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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