Innovation allows operators to gain an advantage by means of being different, reducing cost, or prospecting new markets and segments. Let’s examine some of the more recent car wash innovations.

Mark VII/WashTec’s SoftLine Linear technology is intriguing because it is said to improve results by allowing brushes to follow the entire vehicle contour to guarantee more impact time spent on the front and rear. SoftLine also has a closed-system conveyor and a contour high-pressure, air, and textile drying. Brush media is a mix of foam, soft-cloth, and polyethylene.

Belanger has made a splash with its SpinLite® brush system that is said to offer a better clean, better experience, and better way to attract business from the street. ShineMitt® media has a self-supporting design that allows the wheels to operate at one third the speed of conventional brushes, providing up to nine times the cleaning and shining of foam media. Noise is also reduced dramatically.

WashTec has entered the express in-bay segment with its SoftCare Takt which has two gantries placed in series that allow two vehicles to be washed and dried in tandem. This design enables up to 20 washes an hour and reduces waiting times for customers.

Istobal’s express in-bay is the M’NEX27, which has two rollovers working in separate bays (wet and dry) making for considerable increase in throughput. MNEX27 has foam and shiny wax and a high-flow drying system that uses only 14 kW of power.

Oasis Car Wash Systems express in bay is the Eclipse™, which applies chemical and high-pressure to five sides of a vehicle at one time. While one vehicle is being washed another is drying, which allows for a rate of up to 40 cars per hour.

Petit Auto Wash’s express in bay is the Accutrac 360-I, which has patented profiling that measures vehicles and adjusts spray impact. Speed is doubled with dual spray arms that apply chemicals and high pressure in a single pass, which allows effective cleaning of up to 29 cars per hour.

In the chemical market, Simoniz USA advanced on its successful Hot Wax and Shine product with the Lava Shield program, which is a four-step online paint sealant.

Advances in buffing technology have included Sonny’s Car Wash Factory’s Buff-n-Dry™ and Peco Carwash Systems Gloss N Glow GNG 65 Polish Tunnel™. Buff-n-Dry wipes away residual water and buffs surfaces at high volume locations for a better shine. GNG 65 is a complete 65’ conveyor polishing tunnel with specially designed soft cloth.

Using RFID, self-pay terminals, and an automatic recharge module, DRB’s FastPass® is a wireless system that allows vehicle identification for monthly wash plans, loyalty reward programs, or selling prepaid washes.

What was once the finishing line area of a conveyor car wash operation is now occupied by self-service technology such as AutoVac’s central vacuum system with arches, stanchions, and LED lighting.

Given the past, the future might be a POS with integrated remote virtual assistant to reduce labor, super-cloth that cleans better and reduces soap application, online chemical that produces long-lasting “easy to clean” surfaces on vehicles, and a super-hydrophobic drying agent that reduces the number of air producers.

Bob Roman is president of RJR Enterprises – Consulting Services ( You can reach Bob via e-mail at