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Winterizing Your Wash

It’s September, the kids are back in school, days are getting shorter and the thoughts of another winter season are not far off.

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It’s September, the kids are back in school, days are getting shorter and the thoughts of another winter season are not far off. No matter where your wash is located, seasonal checks are a must to prevent downtime, avoid costly repairs and dissatisfied customers. Here are a few things you can do to avoid problems this upcoming season.

In-Bay Automatic and Self-Serve:

  • Check floor heating units. Check the thermostat for proper operation. Set to optimum setting and make sure timers are operable and properly set. Make sure all valves open and close properly. Check for leaks and tighten fittings if required.
  • Weep systems are vital in cold weather to prevent damage to the wash equipment and plumbing due to freezing. Make sure they are functioning properly and are timed correctly.
  • Make sure doors are operating properly, free of debris and timed properly. Many systems can be set to operate according to outside temperature as well as time of day.
  • Check all other fittings throughout the system for leaks and loose connections. Check for proper water and air pressure. This is so important to ensure that your wash is operating at peak performance.
  • Check nozzles out in the wash to be sure they are free from debris. Replace any that are worn or damaged and make sure they are properly sized for optimum performance.
  • In-Bay Automatic: Check blower operation. Make sure air flow is proper. Check for cracks in fan blades and make sure that oscillating units are unobstructed and move freely.
  • Make sure to run a test wash after maintenance is completed and make any necessary adjustments.

In addition to the above, check these points in tunnel operations:

  • Check all arches to make sure they are functioning properly. Inspect motors, bearings and rotating arms to identify worn or damaged parts to be replaced.
  • When checking conveyors, make sure the chain is tight. Check hydraulic fittings for leaks and add fluids as needed.
  • Check the condition of wraps and replace worn or damaged material. Ensure rotation is in alignment with manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure wrap unit resistance is set appropriately and that it swings freely.

Once adjusted and tested, your wash will be ready for a season of service.

Now is also the time to think about chemicals you will require for the season to offer your customers a great wash experience. Products with added antifreeze for the winter months are crucial to winter operations. Make sure snow removal equipment is on-site and in good condition. If you use a service for snow removal, be sure to call and confirm your agreement so your wash will be ready after that first big storm.


Taking the time to make a detailed check of your wash in advance of any season is the smart way to run your business. Winter can offer special challenges and a wash that is prepared and at peak performance will keep your customers satisfied.

Mark Brock, Vice President of Marketing, Lustra Car Care Products
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