Like in most car-related services, the first steps in getting a carwash are usually the most crucial in getting the desired results. If the drive-in and soap up steps are botched in any way, the carwash staff will have an issue on their hands!
We have to emphasize first that these steps pertain to the cloth friction wash, such as in Autobell, although many of these are also applicable in the touchless systems. In a touchless carwash, only the strong detergents and high-powered water jets come in physical contact with the vehicles. In a cloth friction wash, a soft cloth will be used against a vehicle’s surface although strong detergents and high-powered water jets are also used.
The Drive In
Your car will be placed on a specially-designed conveyor track. Here, a correlator made of a series of rollers or wheels allow your car’s wheels to slide sideways until it’s exactly aligned with the conveyor.
Your car’s engine should be turned off and placed in neutral. The small rollers pop up behind the wheel and push it forward, thus, causing your car to roll through the tunnel. The tunnel is actually a long bay used in full-service systems and exterior-only services.
As soon as your car enters the tunnel, it passes through two sensors that emit an infrared beam; these sensors are called the eyes. Actually, the eye on one side emits the infrared beam while the other eye picks it up. When there’s an interruption in the beam, such as when your car cuts it off, the digital control system of the carwash activates the automated soap up phase.
Every inch of your car’s exterior will be washed, thanks to the accuracy of the digital control system. It measures the length of your car and adjusts the automated system.
The Soap Up
Your car will undergo a pre-soak, an arch with several small nozzles spraying a special pre-soak solution on your car’s exterior. The solution itself wets the car and loosens the dirt on its exterior.
Your car’s tires may also be sprayed with a special solution formulated to remove brake dust and make the tires’ black rubber shine. The solution is usually sprayed from tire applications set near the ground.
Your car then passes through a series of long and soft strips of cloth known as the mitter curtain. The curtain itself hangs from a frame connected to a motorized shaft. The shaft moves the frame in up-and-down motions and in a circular pattern. The mitter curtain then rub back and forth across your car’s horizontal surface, particularly on the hood, roof and trunk.
Your car will then be subjected to the cleaning effects of a foam applicator that applies a cleaning detergent. The foam applicator has nozzles that apply the deep-cleaning foam and, thus, removes the dirt, dust and grime from your car.