Who is responsible for damage to a shark fin antenna?

Who is liable if a shark fin antenna is damaged by the drying installation in a car wash? A German car wash has to deal with this issue. The entrepreneur’s insurance claims it is the customer’s own responsibility, who should have removed the antenna. The fact that removal is not possible with such an antenna does not appear to be relevant. A legal battle is the result.

Shark fin antennas are standard on many vehicle models today. In a car wash rollover in Grafrath, Germany (near Munich), such an antenna was damaged during the drying process. Local media noted that the damage amounts to around 3,700 euros. The owner of the car assumed that the car wash operator’s insurance would pay for the damage. Insurer Generali, however, refused to pay out and points to the customer’s own responsibility. The car wash advises customers to remove the antenna before washing. It turns out that the shark fins cannot be removed at all.

At first, the rollover operator had no doubts that it would be insurance work. The case subsequently turned into a legal dispute and the client’s attorney has little hope of it being resolved soon.

No extra risk

The equipment in the car wash comes from Christ Wash Systems. CarwashPro checked with the manufacturer whether more problems have been reported with this type of antenna and whether there is an increased risk of damage.

Stefan Bernhard of Christ Wash Systems customer service says that cars with a shark fin antenna can go through the car wash. “The vehicles are used extensively and are flawlessly cleaned and dried tens of thousands of times a day in rollovers and car washes,” assures Bernhard. He stresses that in the drying circuit of a rollover, the drying fan is locked several times and that there is no contact with the vehicle surface during normal use. According to Bernhard, several scans follow the contour of the vehicle surface and follow it without making contact. “In addition, for even greater safety, there are safety cut-outs that initiate an override or even a stop of the system technology if the roof sprinkler gets too close to the contours of the vehicle. As a result, the contour of the vehicle is scanned as well as possible by the roof sprinkler.”

Cause unclear

From the point of view of the manufacturer’s technical assessment, Christ cannot explain the damage pattern in this case. “Of course, as a manufacturer, we cannot understand why the shark fin antenna was damaged in this particular case.” In any case, Christ Wash Systems sees no reason for a general restriction on vehicles with shark fin antennas.

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Author: Michael Van Wijngaarden

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