“In general, for all types of carwashes, [operators should have] an HD-capable eight or 16 channel DVR to base the system on,” notes Randy Jones, president of GNISEC, Gemco National Industrial Security LLP. “The selection of this unit is the most important piece of the puzzle, as you will be relying on the feature set that the DVR and its related remote software offer.”

Allen Spears, chief engineer from CarWashCameras.com, cites experience with his own carwash when recommending what equipment should be part of an effective security system.

“At my own in-bay automatics, there were commonly three types of damage that I had to deal with: damage to a customer’s car, damage to my equipment and problems or thefts from my pay stations,” he shares.

Spears advises cameras have at least two views of pay stations, the wash process and exits. He also says it is important to have exceptionally good views of the front and back of license plates approaching and entering bays.

Curtis Ray, vice president of Acquire Video Security, states that for in-bay automatic and self-serve washes, remote monitoring is important since they are often left unattended.

“A lower cost yet good quality analog or even IP-based system works best for these locations where adequately capturing pre-existing damage on vehicles isn’t necessary,” he notes. “These washes are generally smaller and do not require as many cameras as well.”

According to Jones, paying for monthly monitoring service is another option for ensuring a wash is observed at all times.

“A monitored system will cost a monthly monitoring fee, but unless the owner/operator wants to be on call 24/7, it is well worth the fee. These systems can be useful whether the carwash is open for business or not,” Jones states.

Jones shares that a waterproof/tamperproof day/night model with built-in infrared will allow monitoring during the overnight hours. “This is a very inexpensive general purpose camera format today, and will stand up to environmental abuse,” he continues.

For in-bay automatics specifically, Ray says owners should invest in systems with DVRs that have more channels to capture pay stations and the insides of bays.

Ray believes owners of tunnel carwashes should invest in high-quality equipment with commercial grade IP-based network surveillance systems and the best resolution possible.

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