car wash

These are the seven most common mistakes made in wash bays

In self-service car washes, it’s the customer who is responsible for the washing result. Every so often car wash operators with jet washes find that customers make mistakes when using the box, resulting in a disappointing wash result. We listed the seven most common mistakes.

Mistake 1: Incorrect use of the pressure washer

To remove stubborn dirt, customers often reduce the distance between the pressure washer and the vehicle. This can lead to damage of the treated surface. The minimum distance should always be between 30 and 50 centimeters. Many washing facilities therefore have warning signs to inform customers of this.

Mistake 2: Wrong cleaning products

Sometimes you will see customers using cleaning and care products that are not meant for the job. They even grab the all-purpose cleaner meant for homes. It is much wiser to only use products that are specifically designed for cleaning and maintaining vehicles. The water treatment of a washing plant usually doesn’t like foreign substances. Many operators therefore restrict or even prohibit the use of products car owners bring in themselves.

Mistake 3: Improper rim cleaning

For many customers, clean rims mean a job well done. But to get shiny rims you will need dedication. Talking to the customer beforehand often leads to more customer satisfaction. If the customer really wants to dive into the rim situation, then a special rim brush can be recommended.

Error 4: Overdoing it with soap

Too much is often damaging. This is especially true of the chemicals used in car care. Customers who overly liberal soap and other cleaning products without prior knowledge can cause damage to their vehicle, if they for example use too much of it. While this is ultimately the customer’s responsibility, a negative wash result does often lead to discussions about liability. Again, the advice is: talk to the customer. After all: the car wash operator is the expert.

Mistake 5: Dried-in stains

Leaving bird droppings and dead insects on the car for too long can cause damage to the paintwork that only becomes visible after a wash. This sometimes results in liability discussions. Explaining how you -as a car owner- should deal with this is therefore a returning topic on many social media groups. The variety of stains is endless, the discussion about how to clean it too.

Mistake 6: Too hot to handle

With the start of the sunny season, customers regularly want to wash their car. Even though it is actually too hot for that. Heat causes the detergent to dry faster, changes the concentration of the chemistry and can even damage the paint. This topic is another thankful one for discussions on socials. Try to direct the customer to the cooler morning hours, when it’s usually also less crowded in the car wash.

Error 7: Skipping paint sealing

Customers who bailout on sealing after the car wash usually do so for two reasons: financial ones or out of ignorance. How to deal with that? Customers who want to save money on a paint seal often don’t consider the long-term consequences and depreciation in value of a poorly maintained paint job. The second group of ignorant customers needs to be informed about the purpose of a sealer.

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Author: Rene Passet

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