SSCWN - Fall 2018

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CONTENTS Letter to the Editor ...................................4


Looking Back: Fall 2000 ........................6 Fill in the Blank.........................................8

“The success of your journey and your destination all depend on who’s driving.” – Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run

Fun & Games .......................................... 13 Self-Serve Summit................................. 14 Quick Tips................................................ 17 Association Calendar & News......... 18 Tricks of the Trade................................ 24 Around the Wash..................................... 32 Signs that Win Winter Safety Tips from OSHA......... 38 Industry Dirt............................................ 48 Extra! Extra!............................................. 50 Innovations............................................... 54 Self-Serve Snapshot............................... 56 Around the Wash..................................... 58 The Math of Memberships Cover Story .............................................. 62 The Weight of Winter Darwin at the Carwash........................ 75

VOL. 45, NO. 4, FALL 2018 Publisher Jackson Vahaly Editor Debra Gorgos Design Katy Barret-Alley Editor Emeritus Jarret J. Jakubowski Editor Posthumous Joseph J. Campbell Editor Posthumous Julia E. Campbell Self Serve Carwash News is published 4 times per year and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly. Web address is All inquiries should be directed to:

Self Serve Car Wash News 110 Childs Ln., Franklin, TN 37067 Copyright 2018. 2 Dollar Enterprises/SSCWN. All Rights Reserved

For some reason, and I am sure this has something to do with miniature-sized Snickers® and warm cider donuts, Fall is becoming a popular and happy season. Years prior, thanks to daylight saving time, colder temperatures, piles of wet leaves, and the onslaught of sneezes and tenacious microbes, the season was a bit more loathed. Summer! The season of vacation and sun! Winter! Who doesn’t love a holiday? Spring! Look at those flowers! And, with Fall, besides the few days of multi-colored-leaf glory, didn’t have the same excitement. But, now, with cozy caricatures of Autumn bliss on TV, Pinterest pictures of pumpkin pageantry, and let’s not forget the pumpkin spiced latte obsessions, Fall has become a popular time of year. Sidenote: I saw Pumpkin flavored Cheerios in the store the other day— if anyone out there has tried it, please let me know your thoughts. One of my favorite things about this time of year was always the airing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Along with Charlie Brown’s holier than holey ghost costume and Snoopy’s foray into fighter pilot angst, the real beauty of the special is its showcasing of sanguinity and sibling compassion. Let’s start by looking at the fact that Linus sticks to his beliefs, ignores the mocking, the naysayers, misses trick-or-treating, and goes against conventional folklore all to try and prove that the Great Pumpkin exists. He sleeps in a pumpkin patch to boot. Then, in a moment that many don’t talk about, his usually snarky and compassionless sister, Lucy, goes out to the patch to retrieve him, puts him in bed and wraps him in blankets. Seriously, this holiday special is so much more than Halloween hullabaloo, it is darn near biblical! At least, that’s how I see it. Don’t even get me started on A Charlie Brown Christmas, I might need eight more pages of magazine. As for this issue’s cover story, I lucked out with getting great interviewees who know all about winterizing your wash. We already had some snow here in New York State and according to the Farmer’s Almanac, this winter is, “going to be a “teeth-chattering” cold one, with plenty of snow.” Zoinks! What exactly does that mean?

Here are the Almanac’s other findings: 33 Colder-than-normal conditions are predicted from the Continental Divide east through the Appalachians. 33 Above-normal snowfall predicted for Great Lakes, Midwest, New England, Pacific Northwest 33 Frigid weather is expected in midFebruary, which may also bring blustery and bitter winds, widespread snow showers, especially in the Northeast, Great Lakes/Midwest, and Southeast zones. 33 Winter will hang on with stormy conditions up through the official start of spring, especially for the East Coast. 33 Above-normal precipitation is also forecast for the Southwest region during December 2018, and for the Southeast in January and February 2019. The rest of the nation will see closer to normal snowfall amounts, although, as the 2019 Farmers’ Almanac suggests, a stormierthan-normal March could push snowfall totals to above normal over the northern and central Rockies and Plains. Well, that’s just lovely…. But, Self Serve Car Wash News is here to help and offers up everything you need to know for the winter (and spring) months. In closing, I want to thank all of you for introducing yourself to me at the recent Northeast Regional Carwash Convention in Atlantic City. It was a wonderful show, and I was really impressed by all of the new self serve car wash owners in attendance. A lot of people signed up for subscriptions, proving that the industry is alive and well. If you do not have a subscription, be sure to email your name and address to Publisher Jackson Vahaly at Also, be sure to “like” our Facebook page, and keep on commenting on If you have story ideas for me, or questions or comments, you can reach me at And, here’s to all of those Great Pumpkin believers and the siblings who are there for one another.

Until next time,


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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Ms. Gorgos, “LEGAL SCAM” Those two words contradict each other, but that’s the term used to describe what is happening to a number of selfservice car wash owners here in California, who have fallen prey to bogus lawsuits by disabled people in wheelchairs. I am writing to SSCWN because we are now victims of this “legal scam”. Here’s another term you may not be familiar with: CASp, which stands for Certified Access Specialist. And this one: ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act. Perhaps like me, you have some vague knowledge of these entities, but let me tell you, if you are a SSCW owner not in compliance with the ADA, you could be in trouble. Whether you have customers with disabilities, or to your knowledge have none, disabled people in wheelchairs, employed on a quota system by unscrupulous attorneys, are hired to troll for non-compliant businesses, take photographs, and file lawsuits. Locations are sometimes identified via Google map. In their lawsuit, they will claim to have been “wronged and humiliated” because (in the case of my car wash) “the coin meter was too high” and there were “no Handicapped parking spaces.” On the advice of an honest lawyer, I hired a CASp who explained this “legal scam”, evaluated our location as to necessary changes for compliance, and will certify it when the changes are made. It is a case of closing the barn door after the horse has run out. I’ve been in business over 40 years. My car wash in Los Angeles, built in 1983, is personally maintained by me on a daily basis. I am a Vietnam veteran myself. I have empathy for the disabled, and respect for those who are coping

independently. The implication and complaint against me, that discrimination against disabled persons is intentional, and blatant is simply wrong. Had there been specific provisions required for the disabled when my wash was built, they would have been met. But there were none. I would not stand a chance in court arguing that there are other options for the disabled such as full service, drivethrough, and hand wash facilities. Or that lowering a coin meter, bill changer, or vending machine will make washing a car from a wheelchair only slightly easier. But, I do question why any person in a wheelchair would attempt the task alone, except maybe to get free money at someone else’s expense. If accessibility is truly the goal, why not speak to the owner and give him or her an opportunity to make changes? California has more than twice the number of ADA Title III lawsuits than any other state, over 2100 just in the first six months of this year, according to Building Principles, a CASp company. Many involve gas stations and car washes. Most are settled out of court, and ignorance of the law is not a defense. It doesn’t matter that you may NEVER have a disabled person come near your business. If you have a service and are open to the public, accessibility for the disabled is required. I’m writing to send a heads-up to owners who may be unaware of the particulars of the ADA, unaware of the predators out to perpetrate a “legal scam”, and unaware that coin meters higher than 48 inches from the ground are a violation. Minimum penalty, $4000. I’d like anyone with a similar story or knowledge of this important and costly issue to make it known. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. I’d like to know if any of your readers have a similar story.

Thank you for your time,

Howard Higginson Howard’s Car Wash | Los Angeles, CA

Howard, First off all, thank you for your service. I truly commend, appreciate and am indebted to you. Also, thank you for being such a dedicated car wash owner. I don’t like to hear about any of you being scammed in any way, and I appreciate you using your unfortunate experience to educate and warn others. Let’s hope everyone will read this and get the proper certifications to avoid a similar fate. Also, I hope other readers will share their story. Thank you, Howard, and I applaud you. Sincerely,

Debra Gorgos, Editor


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FUN&GAMES WHAT’S DIFFERENT? Think these two pictures taken at a self serve car wash are the same? Think again! There are six differences. Can you spot them all? Answers are below. Answers: 1. Fence is shorter 2. Bolt is missing 3. Sticker is a different color

4. Hose is longer 5. Price sticker is larger 6. Cement bottom edge is different

NEED GIFT IDEAS? The holidays are months away, but if loved ones are looking for gift ideas, here are a few items you might want to put on your list. The following are all self serve car wash models and toys, ranging in price from $7.99 to $44.99!

FALL 2018 •


Back by Popular Demand:

The Self Serve Summit In 2017, over 50 self serve professionals from all over the country attended the first-ever Self Serve Summit. Hosted by the Western Carwash Association (WCA), the Summit was held in conjunction with the Arizona Road Show last November. Kristy Babb, Executive Director of the WCA said an event dedicated to self serve operators was well deserved. “The Western Carwash Association exists to serve its members, and about onethird of our members are self-serve operators. Providing a forum for selfserve operators to connect and exchange ideas is crucial to what we do,” Babb said last year. “We aim to provide top-notch education, but we know that so much of learning comes from networking with peers in the industry.” Deemed a success, the planning for a second Summit was soon thereafter put into high gear. After a year of meetings, planning and preparations, the second Summit is set to take place on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at the Embassy Suites Sacramento in California. It will once again be in conjunction with a Roadshow. This time the Roadshow will include Sacramento-based self serves and the tour will take place the following day on November 8. There will also be an annual membership meeting and breakfast before the roadshow on the morning of November 8. The keynote speaker for the event will be Patrick McGaughey, y, CPF, IOM is an international business speaker with a background of professional success in broadcasting and business association management. Larry Nelson, the owner and operator of two car wash locations in Skagit Valley, Washington, as well as a Western Carwash Association board member, attended last year’s Summit and was grateful for the opportunity and efforts by the WCA. “A substantial portion of the Western Carwash Association consists of self-serve operators and it was nice that a few hours were devoted towards the self-serve business model,” said of last year’s event. “It seems that the main focus of carwash shows as of (continued ...) 14

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MORE INFORMATION ON THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER According to his website, Patrick H. McGaughey, CPF, IOM, started out in broadcasting as an on-air personality in Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona. “His broadcasting career evolved into sales and programming management positions where he led the rebuilding of two radio stations featuring record sales and ratings. …As a business association executive where he led three Chambers of Commerce to membership and financial success. In Idaho, his Chamber of Commerce broke the 1,000 member barrier in a community of 24,000 and his annual events drew crowds of over 900 people proving that you can be big in any size community. According to the WCA, the keynote address is entitled: “Fish on!” Marketing for Attracting & Retaining Employees.

“In Psychology 101 we all learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs but many of us have forgotten to implement this knowledge into the attraction and recruitment of employees for our businesses. Many entry level jobs are considered menial without any real purpose so trying to attract or ‘lure’ people to this work is tenuous at best. So, is there an answer? Yes, and it’s not found in the job as much as it’s found in the marketing of the job and giving people real purpose in their work. Money motivates but purpose activates people. It’s a leadership thing. When you can give employees purpose they will give you performance.”

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! WCA’S SELF-SERVE SUMMIT This full-day program will provide you with hours of education on the most talked about self-serve topics, with a networking lunch and an interactive panel discussion. November 7, 2018 | 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sacramento, CA Embassy Suites Riverfront Promenade 100 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814 Reserve your room at the Embassy Suites by October 16th for the special rate of $179 when mentioning the Western Carwash Association. Become a better operator by learning from other operators and industry professionals. Presentation topics include: 33 The Future of Self-Serve Car Washing 33 Proper Maintenance for Vacuum Vitality: Ensuring Your Vacuums Don’t Suck 33 Secure Your Self-Serve – Measures to Take to Protect Your Bottom Line 33 Maximizing Profits through Tunnel Conversion 33 Attendant Excellence – Training a Top Notch Team 33 Plus – A special pressure pump demonstration

The Self-Serve Summit is free for WCA’s self-serve members or $79 for non-members.

In 2017, over 50 car wash professionals from across the country attended WCA’s first Self- Serve Summit. Now, the Self- Serve Summit is back and better than ever! 33 Sacramento Roadshow and Annual Membership Meeting Nov 7-8

The Self-Serve Summit will be held in conjunction with the Sacramento Roadshow and Annual Membership Meeting. Join us after the Self-Serve Summit at 5 p.m. for a welcome reception. On November 8th we’ll host our Annual Membership Meeting with breakfast and education, followed by a tour Sacramento Area car washes 33 $99 for members $129 for non-members

Please note registration is separate for each event. If you plan to attend both events, please register for both the Self-Serve Summit and the Sacramento Roadshow. Register today or call (800) 344-WASH SACRAMENTO 1800 J Street Sacramento, CA 95811

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FALL 2018 •


Back by Popular Demand: The Self Serve Summit late is the express model. It was refreshing to devote some time to the self serve concept, especially for me because I own both express tunnels and self-serve bays.” After speaking with self serve operators, experts, and past attendees, the WCA came up with the following topics to discuss at this year’s day-long event. Those topics will include:

or were simply not able to attend, do not worry, as Self Serve Car Wash News will fully cover the event and share all of the best talking points, key information, advice and intelligence that is shared.

ics that would be of interest, to securing speakers, there are a lot of details that go into making a great event. This Summit is not only a one day educational event, but will also be followed up the next day with a Roadshow.

• The Future of Self-Serve Car Washing, presented by Keith Lutz, Kleen-Rite Corporation


Marla Mayer is not only the Western Carwash Association president, she is also a self serve car wash operator with Weiss Guys Express Wash which is a successful chain throughout Arizona. Mayer answered four quick questions about the importance and the impetus of this year’s Summit.

What are you hoping attendees will take away? We are hoping that operators have an opportunity to learn how to run a better and more profitable wash. Some of the greatest education we can receive as business people is not only through industry experts like our vendors and suppliers, but from other operators.

• Proper Maintenance for Vacuum Vitality: Ensuring Your Vacuums Don’t Suck, presented by JE Adams • Secure Your Self-Serve - Measures to Take to Protect Your Bottom Line, presented by Sam Furno, Western Carwash Insurance Program & Rick Diehl, Turbo Wash DVR • Maximizing Profits through Tunnel Conversion, presented by Robert Andre, Sonny’s The Carwash Factory • Attendant Excellence - Training a Top Notch Team, presented by Heath Pomerantz, Diamond Shine The event will also include a special pressure pump demonstration by Sean Cleary of Cat Pumps. Those looking for more information can visit And, for those of you who are not on the Western part of the United States, and/


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Please tell our readers about why the Summit was first held, and why a second one was deemed necessary. The Western Carwash Association has seen a continued need to provide specific education tailored for self-serve operators. We are proud that our membership includes a strong representation of the selfserve industry and wanted to provide an opportunity for self-serve operators to come together and learn about topics specific to their washes. How much work has gone into putting this Summit together? We have been planning this event over the last year. From putting together a committee of Board Members and WCA members to identify top-

How has the self serve industry evolved over the years and what kind of future do you think is in store for the self serve market? Through the improvement of technology we have been able to add more profit centers such as Air Dryers, Tire Shine, Tri Foam and even Dog Washes in our bays. With the new technology customers can now use not only dollar bills and coins, but tokens and credit cards. We are much more efficient and environmentally friendly to those customers that like to wash their own vehicles. There will always be a need in the car wash industry for self-serves.



Suggestion Connection Every business should consider having a Facebook page. From customer check-ins, to reviews, to being able to post specials, holiday hours, new equipment, etc., it is a free way to monitor and market your business. And, one feature many might not know about is the allowance to have your page suggested to Facebook users. According to, by enabling the Similar Page Suggestions feature you are allowing Facebook to suggest your page as a result in relevant searches. For instance, if a Facebook user likes a self serve car wash across town, Facebook will then automatically suggest your Facebook page as it falls under a similar category. This also goes into play if a user likes a nearby business, or one having to do with car care.


Don’t forget to check the wires!

The drawback, though, is that by allowing this feature, you’re also allowing Facebook to suggest other businesses to users when they ‘like’ your page. If you are interested in doing this, you need to follow these steps: 1. Click on Settings in the upper-right corner of your business page. 2. Then, click on Similar Page Suggestions.

Also, if you’re in a location where there are multiple languages spoken regularly, you might want to consider having your page posted in those languages. According to, you just have to check the Post in Multiple Languages box and your posts will be shown to your fans and followers in their language.

The following tips are courtesy of J.E. Adams Industries, Ltd. Routine maintenance is critical when it comes to your vacuums, and to keep everything running electrically smooth, be sure to follow this checklist.

Check all wire connections 33 Look for any wire wear 33 Look for any loose wires

Blow out all coin mechs and motors with compressed air Ensure you have the proper amp’s for all of your equipment 33 3 motors pull 24 amps requiring 30 amp svc 33 2 motors pull 16 amps requiring 20 amp svc

Do not attempt to do electrical work yourself and always use a licensed electrician for checking: 33 Proper voltage 33 Length of run 33 Proper wire gauge

GROUNDS KEEPING TIP Fertilize in the Fall While spring is the typical season to think

may be coming out of a drought-induced dor-

plication, Cook recommends a fertilizer formula

about lawn care and growth, the fall is the best

mancy, so you’ll want to give your lawn a shot of

of 13-25-12 at the end of October or early No-

season in which to apply fertilizer.

nitrogen to push blade growth. A fertilizer with

vember. “The push of phosphorus will stimulate

According to PBS mainstay This Old House, ap-

a formula of 20-8-8 will get it growing again. Al-

root growth through November and even into

plying the fertilizer in the fall will help strength-

ways follow the manufacturer’s recommended

early December. By helping roots grow before

en the grass’s roots over the winter months and

rate of application.” Cook also states that it is not

winter sets in, you are insuring that the lawn will

allowing them to thrive in time for spring. Ac-

necessary to treat weeds or even insects at this

green-up quicker in the spring and become more

cording to, host Roger Cook,

time, unless there is a history of major problems

resistant to disease and draught.”

“Grass is recovering from a long hot summer and

or an outbreak of some sort. After an initial apFALL 2018 •


Association 2018 CALENDAR News OF EVENTS OCT 30NOV 1 NOV 7

CAR WASH SHOW AUSTRALIA Melbourne, Australia


NOV 11 NOV 13


NOV 14-15 NOV 28 FEB 24-26 2019 MAY 13-15 2019 18

The International Carwash Association’s is offering a Women’s Leadership Experience event from November 14-15, 2018, at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in downtown Chicago. The two-day event is designed to help women in building their individual talents and will offer up lots of networking opportunities.

Embassy Suites Sacramento, California


NOV 14

ICA to host Women’s Leadership Summit

Crowne Plaza, Woburn, Massachusettes

2018 KLEEN-RITE CAR WASH EXPO Columbia, Pennsylvania


Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Chicago


Boar’s Head Resort, Charlottesville, Virginia

SCWA CONVENTION & EXPO Arlington Convention Center, Arlington, Texas


Music City Center, Nashville, Tennessee

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Here is the Agenda At-A-Glance: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14 6p.m.– 8p.m. Welcome Reception THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15 8a.m. Breakfast 8:30a.m. Attracting and Retaining Women in the Car Wash Industry 10a.m. Networking Breakout 10:15a.m. Communication, Body Language and Gender Differences 12:15p.m. Lunch 1p.m. Creating Your Village - Mentorship and Network Building 2:30p.m. Wrap up and Next Steps

CWONJ to address new ‘paid sick leave’ law New Jersey just became the 10th state to enact a mandatory paid-sick-leave law. This law requires New Jersey employers, of all sizes, to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to covered employees. Car Wash Operators of New Jersey is hosting a special meeting to address this new law on Monday, November 12, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Clark, New Jersey. Alvaro Hasani, an associate with Fisher Phillips in their New Jersey office, will be offering

up his expertise at the meeting. According to CWONJ Hasani represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law before federal and state courts, as well as regulatory and administrative agencies. He has published numerous legal articles that have been cited by the U.S. Courts of Appeals and his expertise on labor and employment law is frequently featured in the media. He recently authored “New Jersey’s Paid-Sick-Leave Law: What Employers Need to Know.”

NRCC numbers are in The 29th annual Northeast Regional Carwash Convention was declared a success by show organizers. According to the NRCC Facebook page, the event, which was held October 1-3, 2018, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, featured 320 booths and more than 1500 attendees. Also, details for next year’s show, which will mark its 30th anniversary, have been announced: The 2019 Northeast Regional Carwash Convention will be held on September 23-25 and will

once again take place at the Atlantic City Convention Center. It was also announced that Bob Katseff of Turnpike Car Wash in Massachusettes was honored with the NRCC Hall of Fame Award; Doug Rieck of Magic Wash in New Jersey received the NRCC Most Distinguished Person Award; and Jule Gapp of Hoffman Car Wash in New York received the first-ever Emerging Leader Award.

NECA honors Tom Rando The New England Carwash Association (NECA) has named its scholarship program the Thomas Rando Memorial Scholarship in honor of the beloved carwash owner. Rando, who passed away in his home, surrounded by family, on May 7, 2018, at the age of 90, opened his first car wash in Watertown and for over 54 years, he owned and operated Randy’s Car Wash in Watertown, Waltham, Medford and Melrose, NECA reported. “He had a passion for the car wash

business and was a mentor to many in the industry, always there to lend a helping hand. He was an innovator and established the first exterior car wash in Massachusetts. Tom was a founding member and President of the New England Car Wash Association and a Board member for the International Car Wash Association.” At the June 5th NECA Board meeting, members voted to name a $1,000 scholarship each year the Thomas Rando Memorial Scholarship.

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Association News WCA to host second Self Serve Summit The Western Carwash Association will be hosting another Self Serve Summit and Roadshow and this time it will take place in Sacramento, California. Last year’s Summit was held in Chandler, Arizona. The 2018 Summit will take place on November 7 at the Embassy Suites

Sacramento – Riverfront Promenade, followed by an Annual Membership Meeting, dinner and awards presentation and keynote address. On November 8 there will be a roadshow which will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online registration is available until November 5.

CCA Addresses Nation’s Legalization Of Marijuana The Canadian Carwash Association (CCA) has addressed the nation-wide legalization of marijuana and how it might impact carwash owners. Recreational cannabis became legal on October 17, 2018, and the CCA posted on its website that car wash operators and suppliers now face a new set of compliance challenges that will require them to update several of their policies and practices, including those on drug and alcohol use, code of conduct, fitness for work, accommodation of disabilities and progressive discipline. “...It’s essential for you to start assessing the

risk of employee marijuana use, updating your HR practices and providing your supervisors and managers with proper training on the new rules right away,” states the CCA. The Association urges car wash owners and operators to learn how to effectively update policies and implement best practices to comply with the new requirements on the legal use of recreational marijuana with a free special report, called “Recreational marijuana and the workplace” by First Reference which can be found at http://

IDA Offers New Merchandise Store, Website





• FALL 2018

The International Detailing Association (IDA) is now offering merchandise featuring the IDA logo. High-qualityhats, polos and shirts for men and women are available. Visit the IDA website at and then click Merchandise Store under the Members tab. The IDA is also excited to announce the launch of its completely redesigned website. The website has been specially updated to further increase the visibility of the detailing profession and continue our mission of “Promoting the success and growth of the professional detailing community.” With the vision of being “the lead advocate and premier source of information for the professional detailing community,” the IDA Board of Directors decided that a refresh was necessary to better meet members’ needs. The redesign was not only about changing the aesthetics of the website, but also the structure, responsiveness, and overall functionality. “A large part of the board’s decision for the redesign was to make it much easier for all the different parts of our industry – including operators, manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors – to have easy access to information,” says Jonathan Munsell, CD, who oversaw the committee in charge of the redesign. The redesign could not have come at a better time. According to Munsell, “The IDA has experienced incredible membership growth over the

past couple years, as well as a tremendous amount of interest in our website from all across the world. The redesign, which we consider to be a complete upgrade, is designed to tie the industry together as a whole and give us all one place we can go for the resources we need to be more successful.” One of the main proponents of the project was 2018 IDA President Justin Labato, CD-SV, RT, as it fit perfectly with the goals he has developed at the helm of the organization. “My presidential initiative has been around providing our members with tools to make their businesses better,” explains Labato. “The new web design certainly adds better access to those types of tools.” The new website was officially introduced at the end of August and has since been praised by members, who see it as a big step forward for the organization. The website redesign was accompanied by the release of the IDA Member Community. An exclusive members-only benefit, the community is a digital space for IDA members to connect with and learn from one another. Since these new components were released, members have received a series of communications explaining the changes and showing how the various features can best be used. These tutorials have all been archived on the website for members to conveniently reference when accessing a new feature.

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Presenting some of the best discussions from the Self Serve, IBA and General Discussions sections of Auto Care Forum. To view more posts discussing some interesting and common problems, as well as some of the best and brightest solutions, visit

(Note: Some posts feature minor edits for readability.)

Chemical dilutions? I have only been in the car wash business for a few months. I was wondering how you calculate chemical dilutions. For example, if I’m trying to get tire cleaner to a 90:1 dilution how do I calculate that? Is it based solely on the tip used on the hydrominder? Thanks! - Noob

MEP001: Since that’s your final dilution, yes, you just select the appropriate tip. NOOB: Thank you for the help. What about high pressure soap? Is it calculated based on the hydrominder tip plus the amount of gallons my pumps are dispensing per hour? For example, if I’m set up at 4 gallons per minute how does that affect it? MEP001: That’s a good question. You’d need a flow meter to get an accurate dilution. FWIW I don’t go much by recommended dilution, I just set it up where it cleans well. MAC: Just selecting a tip from the chart is a good place to start, but as always, there is more to it. Check the screen at the water inlet to the hydrominder and the rubber diaphragm should be replaced about every 2 or 3 years. Even then you are getting an average dilution ratio. The eductor sucks chemical the way old carburetors sucked gasoline. On a slow day the water pressure will usually be at its highest, but on a busy weekend when everyone is home and washing clothes and the car and watering the lawn, it can drop to half. NOOB: Can you guys tell me the benefit of heating water/ chemicals? I currently am not heating anything. Do chemicals clean better hot? Do you get a better yield when heating? Also I am trying to get prepared for winter. My equipment is heated and decently insulated. I also have weep. I do not have a trough or an attic. All my lines run through pvc pipe at the top of my bays. Should I try to insulated/heat those lines? Will it help save on water cost from weeping if I do heat them? I am in TN so my winters aren’t usually terrible, but we do have periods where it’s consistently below freezing. ROZ: Heating water is a big controversy. In general, I have been told that as long as the water is room temp (i.e. your equipment room is not too cold) the chemicals these days mix fine. Some 24

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will argue that customers like the feel of the hot water through the lines when working outside in the winter, but your gas costs will be high. Hot water is not a substitute for weeping a line as your water will freeze in the middle of the night or whenever not in use for a long time. We have floor heating and have an extra floor heating line run through the trough. You can also wrap your lines with electrical heating tape on a thermostat to help reduce the risk of freezing lines. I purchased an industrial strength heating tape that is better than the Home Depot version. Heated floors or the lack there of are the real business killer. Before we redid our floors this summer we had to close our SS bays whenever temps were below freezing since the floors posed a risk to customers slipping. 2BIZ: As Mac explained, there is a lot more to get correct soap and wax dilutions without throwing $$$ down the drain. You might try the suggested hydrominder ratios listed on your product based on your water hardness. I would assume there are needle valves on the solenoids for fine tuning.... Do you use soft water? Water hardness plays a huge roll with your settings and the amount of soap and wax you will use. The only functions I heat are soap and wax. I use cold water for all the hydrominders. I think this is pretty typical of a lot of the washes out there if they heat water at all. Do you have a weep mizer? If you don’t, profits are going down the drain below 36°... It always helps the more you insulate and heat the trough, but that doesn’t replace weep water. If you heat your trough, you might get by with less weep, but you won’t eliminate it. I have a loop from my floor heat going through the trough and also Raychem Heat Tape. The key is to not let any outside air in the trough. My trough has a 2” wide slot down the entire length for ease of maintenance. I cut 8’ strips of insulation and stuff it in the trough to completely

seal it up. Since doing that, I have never had a freezeup...Before I did that was a different story... JGINTHER: The only answer is yes. Heating makes the molecules move faster in a liquid (same for gas or solid). Cleaning with soap is a matter of aligning up the molecules of soap around the oil (or dirt) in such a way as to create a micelle. The faster they move, the faster they get in the correct location to make it work. It’s basically supercharging the way soap works. Have you ever tried to get grease off of your hands with cold water, then tried hot? Same thing basically. NOOB: 2biz I do have a weep mizer that is set up to weep my guns and my FB. This is my first winter in the car wash business and I am trying to figure out if it is better to weep the FB or shut off the FB weep and use winter soap? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have not tested my water yet but will be doing



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Chemical dilutions? continued ... so tomorrow. I’ll let you know the results when I find out. My initial guess is that it is going to be fairly hard. If I wanted to install flow meters is that possible with my current setup? My solenoids are in very close quarters to my T valves mixing with my rinse water. As far as heating water does anyone have experience with immersion heaters? My tanks are fairly small so I’m not sure this would or would not work. I believe that if I soften my water or heat my water I’ll have to do some replumbing. Right now all of my functions are fed from one main supply line. EARL WEISS: Your profile says you are in Tennessee, how cold does it get? Do you have trough heat? Anti freeze foam brush soap helps keep lines from freezing but it’s important for those in a cold climate to keep the foam from freezing on the car as well. I am in Chicago so I do both AF foam brush soap an weep the FB with the weep mizer. You need to vary the FB AF Soap dilutions by temperature and if you are hoping to do this to keep the lines liquid that would require you changing dilutions and purging the lines as temp dropped which is not realistic. (Or always

run at max concentration which is expensive). MEP001: I’m in central Texas with very mild winters it rarely stays below freezing all day. It’s convenient enough for me to add a few gallons of cheap washer solvent and a shot of blue foam brush detergent so I can manually purge the bays. The tank is huge and I keep the float set very low so once that antifreeze mix is gone it goes back to usual. 2BIZ: I agree with the others concerning Methanol Soap for FB...I tried it for a few years and it was rather expensive. It was also a pain switching back and forth between cold and warm spells...Weep water is expensive, so I couldn’t imagine weeping the FB’s... HP wands is bad enough. I pay close to $20 for 1000 gallons for water and sewage, so you don’t want to waste it. I opted to install a blowdown/washer fluid injection system for the foam guns and FB hoses.... Works great and costs about $50 to winterize 8 hoses during the winter. NOOB: One last thing. My chemical line to the hydrominders keep leaking chemicals back into the chem

tank and they have huge pockets of air in them. I know I’m not getting a consistent dilution. Is this a foot valve problem? Could be there be a problem like a small hole in my chem line? Our winters here are not terrible we may have a few days at a time when temps drop below freezing, but usually not long periods of time. I don’t think I have time to set up a new purge system this year, but I would like to do it for next year. 2BIZ: Yea, you have a foot valve either not holding or its leaking around the hose and barb at the foot valve. Whenever I change a FV, I always replace the hose too. The hose will become hard and not seal around the barb. …when installing a FV. I make up the hose and FV assembly, put the FV in a bucket of water, and try blowing back through the hose. If it’s leaking either around the barb or the FV seal, it’s much easier to fix than after its been in the chemical. MEP001: I just replaced a bad foot valve and hose, and the new one was seeping by around the barb. I had to put a really tight cable tie around the barb.

Do you post your prices? Who posts time for $? I noticed recently that Starbucks has removed most of their drink sizes & prices from their menus, just showing the middle priced drink. Made me wonder… I post the time/$ on both, but wonder if customers really care.... - Roz MAIN STREET CARWASH: I just post start price for both. I have digital display timers on both as well, FWIW. PAULLOVESJAMIE: I’m a grumpy old guy who didn’t have much $ most of my life. As a result, I don’t buy things if I don’t know the price. Perhaps it’s a generational thing or cultural/demographic, but most of the people I’ve asked, and I think most of my customer base feels the same way. (Remember, I’m the guy who can list a dozen businesses in town that are cash ONLY.) I post both price and time. 2BIZ: I post both price and time on vacs and bays. The Led 7s verify both. No surprises to my customers.


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CHAZ: I post all prices and times. It’s the law here and it’s the right thing! I also have digital displays on all timers MEP001: I don’t post either price or time. I let the Dixmor advertise start-up. Posting time isn’t required and almost no one around here does it. WAXMAN: I just post price. I find it works for me just fine. If a customer complains (which is rare) about not enough time, I add tokens from my pocket and re-start whatever equipment they are using. No big deal. MAIN STREET CARWASH: I have probably been to every carwash within a 30 mile radius of where I live (dozens) and have never seen time given posted at any of them. Maybe it’s because the prices are so low here in Texas....

SLASH007: I don’t post time. Might have 2-3 people a year that ask. SWAMPDONKEY: I post time & price in increments of $1, $5, $10, $20 above the coin box. I’m $3.25 for 4 minutes in bay & $2 for 4 minutes on vacs. KIMBERLY BERG: I clearly post prices and times on all my wash bays ($2 for 3.5 minutes), vacuums ($1 for 2.5 minutes). Customers still ask me, but they appreciate that the signage is there. No hidden surprises and no complaints.

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Soap sprayed into meter box I was getting calls that one of my Ginsan 12 button Lumitouch stopped working and when I reviewed the cameras I saw a customer spraying high pressure soap directly into the coin slot for quite a while. What would you do? Call the cops and insurance? Ginsan says some of my buttons have probably shorted out but I haven’t figured out which one(s) yet. If the only issue is the buttons - a pack of 5 buttons is $150. - Overachiever ERIC H: Call the police. They vandalized your equipment and should be held responsible for the repairs. there is NO WAY that anyone can consider it to be reasonable behavior to spray water directly into the box! I had a video of a guy hitting my meter box with the spring wand on the gun. He damaged the credit card reader, rotary dial knob and decal. Told the cop it was about $300 in damages which is over the $250 for a felony charge. The cop asked if I wanted the money or if I wanted him arrested. I only wanted the guy to pay for what he damaged. The cop went to the guy’s house and told him to contact me and pay for the damages OR he would come back and arrest him. Guy called me that day and paid me a couple of days later. Cop made a follow up visit when he saw me at the wash to make sure I got paid. GREG PACK: If you’ve got a tag number it’s worth fol-

lowing up with. Laws vary from state to state. OVERACHIEVER: For whatever reason I thought the police might not see it as vandalism. I had his plates and reported him... we’ll see what happens. They didn’t give me the option to just try and collect the money from him, they really wanted to arrest him. JMMUSTANG: I have my hose lengths cut so that the gun is just short enough that the customers cannot spray into the boxes, but can reach the dial selector for that exact reason.

GREG PACK: You might need to follow up with the officer and see if there is any action you need to take. In my state it has to be over $2500 for a felony. Anything less than that is a misdemeanor. Around here you have to go to the magistrate and swear out misdemeanors yourself, police do not pursue them.

MEP001: That reminds me of a guy with a 2-bay wash, he had a problem with people spraying high pressure into his bill changer and shorting it out. I wondered how they were reaching the changer until I went to his wash, his bay hoses were something like 22 feet long. I suggested he replace them with 16 feet, and later he said his customers were thanking him because

MAC: Most likely the reason he was doing this is that with many meter boxes, when you spray into the box, the 24 vac on the terminal strip would short out to the coin impulse also located on the strip. It used to be on YouTube showing how to do it. Most used tire cleaner because it conducted better. The solution is to remove the coin impulse from the strip.

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they weren’t tripping over the extra length anymore.


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When & where to use soft water The site I am rehabbing has super hard water. Would it be better on my equipment to use soft water on everything on SS and the IBA? Or does it really matter. 25 grains just seems really hard. - APW SOAPY: Hard water is fine for the rinse cycles with no added chemicals. You will lose your shirt if you try to use all soft water. Spotfree rinse will need to be soft first then through your RO. MAC: Here is what we have been doing for quite a while now. First off, 25 grains is really hard. Use the soft water to mix all of the chemicals and to feed the spot free unit. If this is city water you will also need a charcoal prefilter to the RO unit to remove the chlorine that the city puts in. For the softener I recommend a single tank unit with a metered head, as opposed to one that regenerates from a clock. The softener should be around $700 to $800 and the charcoal unit will be slightly under that. If you are going to get quotes from someone local tell them that your maximum flow will be around 10 gallons per minute. APW: I’ve already installed an alternating twin 2” fleck system. I’ve got all chemicals on SS and IBA plus my RO on soft water with a carbon tank. I was just thinking with the water being so hard if I should plumb the high pressure on SS and the IBA with soft water. Didn’t know if soft water would help with the longevity of the pumps. MJWALSH: Since 1968 we have always maintained soft water for all of our initial 3 bay & now 6 bay self service for all the functions including rinse. I do agree that bypassing the softener for our laundromat rinses, toilet use, & sink use was wise though. I really do believe it has helped our Cat 310 pumps by having only soft water going through them. We have a dual Fleck Softeners with 1 brine tank setup. On hot summer days, we cool the laundromat & dog wash with city water going through fans attached to copper exchangers. That water that flows there on its way to the domestic hot water (now pre-heated) is also soft. With that much hardness ... my guess is that in the long term you are better off & less likely to lose your shirt by routing even your rinse water as soft. PAULLOVESJAMIE: My actual cost to operate my softener is around $4 per regeneration, once per day average year round. (Yes that can mean 4 or 5 regens on those weekends we all pray for.) Fleck 9000 dual reciprocating unit, 68,000 grain tanks. Note: small rural self serve, all water is softened. That’s a quickie calculation based on my fully loaded actual water + sewer cost, measured water hardness (25 grains), daily average water usage, actual cost of salt, estimating 120 gallons per regen. I’d have to check, but I think I set mine


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to use the recommended 75% of resin capacity. I’ve always intended to have the rinse & washdown water bypass the softener, but for the savings I just never get around to it. I suppose that if I saved half of my softening costs, that would be maybe $5-600 / year? Yeah, with an IBA I’d definitely bypass the softener for the rinse cycles. Btw, this is a timely thread — my softener caused a severe water pressure drop this weekend, I think it’s been 10 years since I replaced the resin, so bad on me — I’m betting that was my cause. But the softener control head is somewhere between 30-40 years old, so ... Considering a new unit, or just replacing the control head & resin. Currently bypassing the softener, checking prices this week. (fyi: one of my tanks has a patched leak that started leaking again last week,hence considering a new unit.) Yes, bypassing the softener makes a significant noticeable difference in the soap cycles. I should really tweak up my soap until I get the softener project done. SOAPY: My water is 20 grains of hardness. I have 2- 300,000 grain softener tanks at 2 locations and 2-100,000 grain tanks at another. It is not unusual for me to use 250,000 gallons or more per month per location. I soften all the water except the high pressure rinse in the SS bays and the HP rinse in my touchless automatics. It would help if everyone would post what water hardness they are dealing with as this is the only way to compare cost to soften the water. BR549MS: I am guessing by using grains to measure hardness, you guys are simply taking the ppm in TDS and dividing by 17.1 to get grains? is this correct? let assume your city water is 300 ppm with a TDS meter, 300 / 17.1 = 17.5 grains. My issue is the TDS may be comprised of other solids besides lime or calcium. Are you actually checking calcium levels? Water “hardness” refers to the level of unwanted minerals, principally calcium and magnesium, found in your water supply.

Water hardness is measured in “grains” per gallon, in milligrams of calcium (Ca) per liter, or water hardness may be expressed in ppm - parts per million. Table of Degrees of Water Hardness Soft water 0-17.1 mg/L of minerals Slightly hard water 16.1-60 mg/L of minerals Moderately hard water 61-120 mg/L of minerals Hard water 121-180 mg/L of minerals Very hard water more than 180 mg/L of minerals - adapted from web search Wikipedia 01/31/2011 MEP001: The testing of “grains per gallon” is usually just measuring the magnesium and calcium that the softener needs to remove. PPM calculation isn’t accurate because even softened water showing zero grains can have a high PPM count. PAULLOVESJAMIE: To expand a little on what MEP says, Mg and Ca are the typical measures of hardness, usually measured in grains. These are the big ones for a car wash, because they have a significant effect on soap usage and effectiveness, therefore on how clean the car gets. I’ve used multiple test kits over the years, lately I’m just using (once a month or so) the Hach hardness test strips from Amazon, around $10. They are accurate enough to know if I’m in the ballpark or if I have a problem to deal with, takes all of 30 seconds to do a test. I also check the tds from my SFR regularly, again, so I know if I have a problem. I have the little battery powered tds meter for that, I think KR sells them? If you want more accurate, like to set/adjust your softener settings, get one of the “drop test kits”. OURTOWN: This is what we use and check daily: Currently everything is softened at our wash except the outside hose bib, bathroom sink and toilet. MEP001: I like seeing someone else who checks their soft water every day. It’s a really good idea because it will help you catch problems early, for example if you have a twin alternating softener and one side has the resin break down and fail early, you’ll know because the water will start showing hard before that side regenerates. Checking for chlorine in the RO reject is also good maintenance. Most kits are meant for checking pools and spas and don’t read small amounts in supply water, but chlorine will be concentrated in the ROs reject and will show up more easily.

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Around the Wash

Signs That Win! By Perry Powell A properly designed and executed sign is a visual acuity device and is for the express purpose of impacting profits and revenues of the advertised business. It is not an art form but is many times purchased on the basis of its good looks and not its revenue-generating capabilities. This is folly! It is imperative that your sign can be seen by the passing public. It must compete effectively with its environment and stand out from all that surrounds. The sign must be conspicuous in order to complete the next stage in effective communication. IT MUST BE READABLE AND PEOPLE MUST READ IT! Many sign companies and business owners collaborate in designing signs that look good on paper, twenty inches from your nose, but they often fail to deliver the goods. Most consumers see your sign in the street, while fighting traffic, putting on

mascara, having lively conversation with their spouses and children, and gabbing on their cell phones. Failure to consider these human factors will result in a sign which under performs. Sign underperformance can be directly linked to lost capture rate, sales and profits. The highway department maintains highway safety standards and tracks the performance of their sign programs by studying the human factors and crash rates. If crash rates are high in a particular area of the highway the solution most often utilized is more signs and traffic control devices! Scientific research data, that your federal and state tax dollars have paid for, along with studies funded through the corporate sector, have given us a very specific method of designing signs which are productive for the specific environment in which they are placed.

This environmental/human approach allow businesses to purchase signs which give a business employing these known factors a strong competitive advantage. After employing this method, one wash owner reported that a location, which had a nice sign that had been replaced using this method, had received an increase in revenue between 50–60% after 20 years of marginal performance. The science of signage cannot be conveyed in an article as brief as this, but we can examine some of the common mistakes which are made, as well as, suggestions for correcting them. Let’s begin with a series of questions and answers.

WHY MUST MY BUSINESS HAVE A SIGN? Signs are our introduction to the passing motorists. It is our hand shake with the public. Signs index the street visually and without them there is no announcement to the passing motorist that you are ready, willing and able to serve their needs. Also, signs are necessary to institute site branding. By site we mean a specific business address. Unlike products which may be distributed

through many different outlets, such as soft drinks or candy, a car wash must be purchased at a specific site where the equipment is located. Failure to brand that specific site with bold, beautiful and informative signage will negatively affect the impact of the business’s capture rate and will also reduce the effectiveness of other advertising you do.

SHOULD MY SIGN BE SEEN OR SHOULD IT BLEND INTO ITS ENVIRONMENT? Once, while driving through Louisiana, I almost missed the exit where I knew there was a Starbucks. The sign, which is green and white was camouflaged in a grouping of pine trees. I was at the exit divided line and had to make a bold maneuverer to make the exit. 32

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This example shows how we must consider the driver’s vision and prospective in order to effectively communicate. The failure to design a sign which stands out and is not obstructed will cost dollars every business day.

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Around the Wash - Signage


DOES MY SIGN CONVEY MY BUSINESS MODEL AND VALUE PROPOSITIONS? Each business has a particular model it needs to convey to the public. The most creative way to do this is to develop ‘value propositions’. Value propositions should be designed to communicate, in creative ways, the way the business differentiates itself from other business in its competing area. Unique items such as “Spot-Free Rinse” or “Pollen Remover” should be included, correctly, in the street and building signs. It is important that the public be able to discern the business model from the street. Owners may want to emphasize speed or quality as competitive advantages. Effective design will allow a business to communicate effectively without looking like an over-crowded business card. Including too many items such as a phone number, obvious menu items, or other non-advertising information is unnecessary. Also, keep it simple stupid! Use terms the public outside the industry is likely to understand.

Pretend you are not familiar with the industry. Does our sign really convey the concepts they are meant to convey to the public who has never been schooled in the car wash vernacular? Industry thinking can become myopic and we begin to communicate in ways which outsiders — our consumers — fail to understand. The problem is systemic within the industry. We fail to correctly define terms we use. Some words have more than one meaning.

EXAMPLES: EXPRESS: Do I go through a rollover wash, or does it mean I can quickly wash my car in a bay, or both? HAND WASHED: Is it hand washed by people in a

conveyor or by the customer in a self serve bay with a wand? Our signs, menus, and employees need to speak the commonly understood language of non-informed consumers.

CAN THE SIGN BE READ AT AN APPROPRIATE DISTANCE TO ALLOW FOR SAFE ENTRY? Sign copy must be one standing inch of letter height for each 25 feet of distance to be read. The

formula for determining the reading distance is:

Velocity (W * .033 + DT + MT) = Minimum Required Legibility Distance or MPH Or Feet Per Seconds {Velocity} (How Many Words To Be Read) (.033 Time It Takes To Read One Word) + Decision Time 4.02 Seconds + Basic Manuever Time 4.00 Seconds.

EXAMPLE: 30 MPH = 44 FEET PER SECOND Thus: 44 (13 Words And Symbols * .033 + 4.02 + 4.00) = 385 Feet Mrld. Thus: 385 Divided By 25 Feet Per Standing Inch = 16.11 Inches. The sign requires a minimum of 16.11 inches of copy height to be read and responded to by drivers. This is not the only consideration, in the 34

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copy size, but gives us an idea of how precisely the size of copy and therefore the sign cabinet should be planned.

If you’re looking to install, replace or improve a sign, there is an International Sign Association (ISA), found at, that offers up lots of great tips and information. Here are a few takeaways from the website: According to the ISA, businesses report an average sales increase of 10% when a sign is added, replaced or updated. Leasing your sign is a good option for a business that wants to avoid large initial, up-front expenses. By making smaller monthly payments, you can still get the sign you need. Often the increased revenue a good sign generates pays for the lease itself. While you may not own the sign, there are leases with buyout options. In the United States, electric signs must comply with the provisions of the National Electric Code Article 600 and Underwriters Laboratories 48 Standard for Electric Signs. In most communities, installing a new sign requires the sign, graphics and visual communications company to seek a permit. Some communities require this step for temporary signs and banners, too. The permitting process ensures that the sign is legal in the community and location where it will be installed. The permit application may receive two rounds of approvals: An administrative approval, based on analytical criteria, such as whether it meets the standards of the sign code. A design approval considers aesthetics, such as how the sign relates to the proposed site. You want a sign that is built to last, easy to maintain and conforms to all local and national codes and standards. Ask your sign company for a list of signs it has installed in the area and visit them in person.

FALL 2018 •


Around the Wash - Signage

DO MY LOCAL REGULATIONS PREVENT ME FROM PROPERLY COMMUNICATING WITH THE PUBLIC? In this day of ever-increasing and difficult sign codes, it is important to capitalize on every opportunity a sign code may leave open. Science should be the underlying foundation of the design. Neither the sign code or the art employed in the creative side of the design should impugn the science dictated by the site. Sign codes may force creative use of the sign area. When signs are reduced to sizes too small to be read effectively, there are a number of ways to compensate. First, one must consider using science to present a hardship to the local board of adjustment. Pleading for a larger sign is no match for using known scientific data to accomplish the mission at hand. Setbacks imposed by the city may also reduce sign effectiveness and must be appropriately considered. The set back from the driver’s center of vision measured to the leading edge of the sign may also reduce the readability of our sign and must be adjusted for within the sign design.

One of the most creative ways to overcome restrictive sign codes is to use architecture to create larger signs that the codes allow. Recently, a car wash owner was denied the right to have a street sign on the basis that a billboard existed on the property prior to use approval. After discussing the options, we presented a new architectural feature to be added to the building— a wing wall projecting from the building toward the street was approved as an architectural feature. After the approval, we then applied for a new sign permit using building signs on that feature. The strategy worked and fantastic building signs made up for the sign code. Adding large colorful features to a building and strategically placing signs on the feature can give the impression that a larger sign, than otherwise allowed, is in use.

Careful and thoughtful consideration of your sign program is a necessary part of succeeding in business. Whether a new sign for a new site or a replacement one for an existing site, utilizing all of the strategies necessary to create the sign best matched to your site and business model is good business. Perry Powell is a sign consultant specializing in fitting businesses with the appropriate sign specific to their site. He can be reached through his website:, by phone at 817-307-6484 and email at


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• FALL 2018

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Winter Safety Tips from

OSHA Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow can cause exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks. During snow removal, in addition to following the tips for avoiding cold stress (see: What is Cold Stress?), workers should warm-up before the shoveling, scoop small amounts of snow at a time and where possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. The use of proper lifting technique is necessary which is to keep the back straight, lift with the legs and do not turn or twist the body.

Snow Blower Safety Do not overload the snowblower; let it operate at a modest speed. Snow blowers (and all powered equipment) needs to be properly grounded to protect from electric shocks or electrocutions. When performing maintenance or cleaning, equipment should be guarded and disconnected from power sources. Snow blowers commonly cause lacerations or amputations when operators attempt to clear jams with the equipment turned on. Never attempt to clear a jam by hand. Instead: 1. Turn the snow blower off and wait for all moving parts to stop

2. Use a long stick to clear wet snow or debris from the machine 3. Keep your hands and feet away from moving parts 4. Refuel a snow blower prior to starting the machine 5. Do not add fuel when the equipment is running or when the engine is hot

Falls in the Wintertime Falls cause most of the deaths and severe injuries that occur during snow removal operations. OSHA standards require employers to evaluate hazards and protect workers from falls. Employers are instructed to: • Train workers on fall hazards and the proper use of fall protection equipment, as required by 1910.132(f)(1) and 1926.503(a)(1). • Provide and ensure that workers use fall protection equipment if they are removing snow in areas that are not adequately guarded (e.g., with a guardrail system or cover) as required by STD 01-01-013 and 1926.501(b) • Instruct workers who wear personal fall protection equipment to put on their harnesses 38

• FALL 2018

and buckle them snugly before mounting the roof. • Have a plan for rescuing a fallen worker caught by a fall protection system, as required by 1926.502(d)(20). • Remove or clearly mark rooftop or landscaping features that could become trip hazards. Information on Fall Protection Personal fall arrest systems and guardrails are among the most commonly used forms of fall protection for work on roofs. • Typical personal fall arrest systems involve an anchor point, a full-body harness, and a connector, such as a retractable lifeline or a shock-absorbing lanyard.

• Anchor points must be able to support at least 5,000 pounds for each worker attached to it (1926.502(d)(15)) or maintain a safety factor of at least two (twice the impact load) under the supervision of a qualified person (1926.502(d)(15)(i) and (ii)). • OSHA believes that anchorages available on the market will meet the strength requirements if they are installed as per the manufacturer’s instruction. • Guardrails must be 42 inches high with a midrail (1910.23(e), 1926.502(b))

Pull money out of thin air • Keep 100% of revenue • Eliminates theft and collection • Real-time on-line reporting • Credit / debit – cashless transactions • Wireless – no wires, no mess • Free air check attracts more customers • 25’ coil or wire braid hose • Wall, pedestal or vault mount • 1.25 HP high-output, continuous use (HOCU) industrial compressor

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Clearing Snow from Roofs, Heights Employers must evaluate snow removal tasks for hazards and plan how to do the work safely. Layers of ice can form as the environmental temperature drops, making surfaces even more slippery. A surface that is weighed down by snow must be inspected by a competent person to determine if it is structurally safe for workers to access it, because it may be at risk of collapsing. Snow covered rooftops can hide hazards such as skylights that workers can fall through. Electrical hazards may also exist from overhead power lines or snow removal equipment. Employers can protect workers by determining: • Can snow be removed without workers going onto the roof? • Are there any hazards on the roof that might become hidden by the snow and need to be marked (skylights, roof drains, vents, etc.)? • How should the snow be removed, based on the building’s layout, to prevent unbalanced loading? • What are the maximum load limits of the roof and how do they compare with the estimated total weight of snow, snow-removal equipment, and workers on the roof? • What tools, equipment, protective devices, clothing and footwear will workers need? • What type of fall protection will be used to protect workers on roofs and other elevated surfaces? • What training will workers need to work safely? • How will mechanized snow removal equipment be safely elevated to the roof? • How will you protect people on the ground

Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice

Employers should clear walking surfaces of snow and ice, and spread deicer, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of injuries: • Wear proper footwear such as insulated and water resistant boots with good rubber treads. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months. • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.


• FALL 2018

from snow and ice falling off the roof during removal operations? Evaluate Load Bearing on the roof or structure before workers access a roof or other elevated structure, the employer should confirm that the workers’ weight and any equipment used can be supported by the roof or structure without causing a collapse. Workers should always use caution by remaining alert to unexpected sounds or movement around surfaces that have been weighed down by snow (or water from melted snow), because these surfaces could collapse. Shoveling or raking a roof without using the proper procedures can also increase the risk of roof collapse by creating an unbalanced load on the roof. To prevent unbalanced loading during snow removal, workers should:

• Remove snow uniformly across the roof. • Avoid making snow piles on the roof. The weight of the snow will vary depending on its water content. Snow load on the ground can provide a rough indication of roof snow load, but roof snow loads also depend upon factors such as melting and re-freezing of snow and ice, drifting, roof slope, type of roof, and design features. The amount of weight that a roof can safely support is based on local building code requirements and should be available within the design specifications for your building. If the structure or roof has structural deterioration, the roof might support less weight than would otherwise be expected.

How to Avoid Electrical Hazards Workers may face electrical hazards such as electrocution and electric shock from power lines or snow removal equipment. Be sure to: • Use extreme caution when working near power lines. Always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated. • Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from any power line, as required by 1910.333(c)(3). • Make sure that all electrically powered equipment is grounded (third prong on a three-prong plug is not missing) and includes a groundfault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in the circuit, as required by 1910.304(b)(3), 1910.334(a)(3), and 1926.404(b)(1)(ii).

• When using snow rakes, use extendable, nonconductive poles and designate workers as monitors to maintain 10 feet from snow rakes to overhead power lines. • When using aerial lifts, maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet away from the nearest energized overhead lines, as required by 1910.333(c)(3). • If servicing equipment becomes necessary, isolate the energy following lockout/tagout procedures (for example, one method is to disconnect the spark plug wire and ground it against the machine), as required by 1910.147 and 1926.417)


How to Avoid Overexertion

Warning? Watch? Advisory?

Employers should train workers on how to recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that can lead to cold

How to tell the difference

Blizzard Warning: Issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below 1/4 mile; these conditions should persist for at least 3 hours. Wind Chill Advisory: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure. Wind Chill Warning: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure. Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, bliz-

stress. Also, employers and employees need to:

zard conditions, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin. Winter Storm Watch: Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm. Winter Weather Advisories: Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life threatening situations.

• Monitor workers’ physical conditions. • Schedule frequent short breaks in warm dry areas, to allow the body to warm up. • Schedule work during the warmest part of the day. • Use the buddy system (work in pairs). • Provide warm, sweet beverages. Avoid drinks with alcohol. • Provide engineering controls such as radiant heaters.

(From: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA))

Dressing Properly for the Cold

The following can help protect workers from cold stress:

Wind Chill Temperature:

A Guide for Employers It is important for employers to know

• Wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing. Layering provides better insulation.

the wind chill temperature so that they can

o An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic (polypropylene) to keep moisture away from the body. Thermal wear, wool, silk or polypropylene, inner layers of clothing that will hold more body heat than cotton.

how to safely do the work. This is especially

o A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation even when wet. o An outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.

gauge workers’ exposure risk better and plan important with new workers who are not used to working in the cold, or those returning after spending some time away. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio is a nationwide network of stations broadcasting continuous weather informa-

• Tight clothing reduces blood circulation. Warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities. Insulated coat/jacket (water resistant if necessary)

tion from the nearest NWS office. It gives

• Knit mask to cover face and mouth (if needed)

term used to describe the rate of heat loss

information when wind chill conditions reach critical thresholds. Wind chill is the

• Hat that will cover your ears as well. A hat will help keep your whole body warmer. Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.

from the human body, resulting from the

• Insulated gloves (water resistant if necessary), to protect the hands

ture is a single value that takes both air

combined effect of low air temperature, and wind speed. The Wind Chill Temperatemperature, and wind speed into account.

• Insulated and waterproof boots to protect the feet FALL 2018 •



What is cold stress? OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, but employers have a responsibility to provide workers with a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards. Cold stress factors can vary across different

IMMERSION/TRENCH FOOT Trench foot is a non-freezing injury of the feet caused by prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions. It can occur in temperatures as high as 60°F if feet are constantly wet. Injury occurs because wet feet lose heat 25-times faster than dry feet. Symptoms include: • Reddening skin • Tingling, pain

areas of the country. In regions that are not used to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for “cold stress.” Increased wind speed also causes heat to leave the body more rapidly (wind chill effect). Wetness or dampness, even from body sweat, also facilitates heat loss



Frostbite is caused by the freezing of the skin and tissues. Frostbite can cause permanent damage to the body, and in severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures. Symptoms include:

Hypothermia occurs when the normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to less than 95°F. Exposure to cold temperatures causes the body to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up the body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or immersion in cold water.

• Reddened skin develops as gray/white patches in the fingers, toes, nose, or ear lobes • Tingling, aching, a loss of feeling • Firm/hard, and blisters may occur in the affected areas

• Swelling


• Leg cramps

1. Follow the recommendations described for hypothermia.

• Numbness • Blisters FIRST AID

1. Call 911 immediately in an emergency; otherwise seek medical assistance as soon as possible. 2. Remove wet shoes/boots and wet socks. 3. Dry the feet and avoid working on them. 4. Keep affected feet elevated and avoid walking. Get medical attention.

from the body. Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature, and eventually the internal body temperature. When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur, and permanent tissue damage and death may result. Types of cold stress include:

2. Protect the frostbitten area, e.g., by wrapping loosely in a dry cloth and protect the area from contact until medical help arrives. 3. DO NOT rub the affected area, because rubbing causes damage to the skin and tissue. 4. Do not apply snow or water. Do not break blisters. 5. DO NOT try to re-warm the frostbitten area before getting medical help, for example, do not use heating pads or place in warm water. If a frostbitten area is rewarmed and gets frozen again, more tissue damage will occur. It is safer for the frostbitten area to be rewarmed by medical professionals. 6. Give warm sweetened drinks if alert (no alcohol)


• Uncontrollable shivering, which should not be ignored • Although shivering indicates that the body is losing heat, it also helps the body to rewarm itself. • Moderate to severe symptoms of hypothermia include: • Loss of coordination, confusion, slurred speech • Heart rate/breathing slow • Unconsciousness and possibly death. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know what is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it. FIRST AID

BASIC LIFE SUPPORT (WHEN NECESSARY) Co-workers trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may help a person suffering from hypothermia that has no pulse or is not breathing:

• Call 911 for emergency medical assistance immediately. • Treat the worker as per instructions for hypothermia, but be very careful and do not try to give an unconscious person fluids. • Check him/her for signs of breathing and for a pulse. Check for 60 seconds. • If after 60 seconds the affected worker is not breathing and does not have a pulse, trained workers may start rescue breaths for 3 minutes.


• FALL 2018

• Recheck for breathing and pulse, check for 60 seconds. • If the worker is still not breathing and has no pulse, continue rescue breathing. • Only start chest compressions per the direction of the 911 operator or emergency medical services* • Reassess patient’s physical status periodically. Chest compression are recommended only if the patient will not receive medical care within 3 hours.

1. Call 911 immediately in an emergency: 2. Move the worker to a warm, dry area. 3. Remove any wet clothing and replace with dry clothing. Wrap the entire body (including the head and neck) in layers of blankets; and with a vapor barrier (e.g. tarp, garbage bag) Do not cover the face. 4. If medical help is more than 30 minutes away: • Give warm sweetened drinks if alert (no alcohol), to help increase the body temperature. Never try to give a drink to an unconscious person. • Place warm bottles or hot packs in armpits, sides of chest, and groin. Call 911 for additional rewarming instructions.


winter_foam_brush_ad_2.indd 1

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Carwash Boom Assembly MODEL 203 Zierco’s Original Swivel and Boom Assembly, with New Rebuildable Cartridge

MODEL 203 FEATURES • Feather light rotating action • Twin compression springs are tension-adjustable for a variety of hose and gun weights • Swivel rotates 360˚ - 12 ft. diameter

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• FALL 2018

Carwash Boom Assemblies

MODEL 204 and 206 FEATURES • Twin compression springs are tension-adjustable for a variety of hose and gun weights • Swivel rotates 360˚ - 12 ft. diameter • Temperatures to 280˚ max., pressure to 2000 psi • Longer hose life as spring prevents kinks • Ruggedly built, satisfaction guaranteed • Optional stainless steel components

Zierco’s Easy Service Swivel and Boom Systems with Full 360

• Proven performance with over 50 years service in the field (Since 1962)

Degree roTATIoN

Booms are Available with 3 Different Mountings STYLE B Flat Plate


Mounts directly to the ceiling or beam.


STYLE C Swivel Base

Easy to Use -"Feather Light" rotating action

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To Convert Model 203 to a 204 Assembly

Remove boom body from hinge plate

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Replace O-Rings






DRB acquires assets of Sage Microsystems

DRB Holdings, LLC, DBA DRB Systems (“DRB”), a provider of technology-enabled devices and software solutions to the car wash industry, has acquired the assets and intellectual property of Sage Microsystems, Inc. (“Sage”). Sage’s flagship QuickTouch and NexGen product lines offer comprehensive point of sale and workflow-enabling software to the quick lube industry. Dan Pittman, CEO of DRB, stated in a press release, “Bob and Joan Sampson have built a great team and an amazing product. We are truly excited to welcome the team into the DRB Systems family. We pride ourselves in best-of-breed applications and support for our segments — this partnership gives us a great position in the lube and light repair space.” “The car wash and quick lube industries are a natural combination. A unified solution with our two top brands will be powerful,” said Bob Sampson, CEO of Sage. “DRB’s company culture matches Sage’s perfectly, as does their commitment to excellence. We are excited to work with them to take Sage to the next level.”

NCS partners with TSS National Carwash Solutions (NCS) of Grimes, Iowa, a provider of car wash systems, cleaning solutions and maintenance services announced its strategic partnership with TSS Car Wash Services (TSS), a press release reported. TSS is a customized carwash design solutions supplier located in Warren, Michigan. TSS provides the car wash consultations, including LED lighting, creative design, customized signage and systems, wash package solutions and marketing services to their car wash customers. National Car Wash Solutions is the parent company brands including MacNeil, Ryko and Clean Touch. NCS has also partnered with car wash distributors in North America including Hi-Performance Wash Systems, Auto-Clean, Arizona Car Wash Systems, Complete Car Wash, NuLook and Badger Land. TSS recently tripled the company’s footprint moving into a new 100,000 square foot facility to accommodate increased demand and future growth. TSS also invested into new technologies to continue to offer worldclass innovation. TSS will continue to provide the same great sales, service and support to all customers as they have since 1990, according to the press release. “We are constantly looking for the right strategic partners to join the NCS family” Michael Gillen, CEO of NCS stated in the press release. “TSS is a perfect fit to our brand portfolio. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with such an innovative company... TSS has made a long-term commitment to quality custom products, resulting in over 28 years of continued growth. We’re very excited to join with TSS and their management team.” 48

• FALL 2018

Kleen-Rite to host Expo, tour The Kleen-Rite Learn More, Earn More Expo will be held November 14, 2018, at the Kleen-Rite warehouse in Columbia, Pennsylvania. Visitors will be able to enjoy exhibits and seminars, meet with manufacturers on a large trade show floor, take advantage of deals, enjoy a free buffet lunch, tour a Kleen-Rite warehouse, and enter to win door prizes.

An additional event, The Car Wash Experience, will be held on November 13. This extra day event will tour three central Pennsylvania car washes and include roundtable discussions with a networking lunch.

Towels by Doctor Joe merges with Kleen-Rite Towels by Doctor Joe® are now available exclusively from Kleen-Rite. The Doctor, who has curated a line of high quality car care towels that ensure a shiny, lint-free result from top to bottom, had this to say about the merger: I’m happy to announce that Dr Joe’s has merged with KleenRite Corp. Kleen-Rite, the number one supplier of towels, parts, equipment and supplies for the car wash industry will now serve Dr. Joe’s customers. With Kleen-Rite’s huge buying power, we can serve you even better. You can continue to call the same phone number you’ve always called and the friendly folks at Kleen-Rite will be happy to help you. Thanks for your continued business, Dr. Joe

The L. L. Clean Company doing business as Towels-By Doctor Joe was incorporated in 1995 by Doctor Joe and his lovely wife as a New Jersey corporation. What began as a very small company that shipped its customers’ orders out of the garage at the family residence grew into a 32,500 square-foot warehouse and sales office in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Prior to starting Towels-By Doctor Joe, the good Doctor spent 30 years working in all aspects of the textile industry.

LSI Industries unveils reorganization plan Visual image and engagement solutions provider LSI Industries announced its plans to reorganize operations to better serve customers’ needs across market verticals with integrated, innovative business solutions. The alignment with customer needs will offer strategic markets: • One source for solutions designed to enhance retail and commercial environments. • Coordinated lighting, graphic and technology products and services, including new product development, to optimize and advance functionality and performance.

• Distinctive approaches for developing, implementing and maintaining the customer experience in the physical environment. “Over the years, LSI has grown rich with solutions for retail and commercial environments, from products to support brand image programs, such as graphics and lighting, to technology solutions to increase engagement, like digital signage, controls, proximity marketing and analytics. All of these products and services, as well as market expertise, are converging to help clients implement and maintain the customer experience…like never before. And now these implementations can be achieved with one source and one streamlined solution,” said Crawford Lipsey, President & COO LSI Industries.






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3 DAY FALL 2018 •





Presenting the news stories featuring self serves car washes

Are Self Serve Customers Aware Of Wildfire Ash? If you’re a self serve car wash owner in the Northwest region of the United States, you might want to warn customers (and potential customers) about the dangers of wildfire ash. Wildfire ash, according to My Northwest, is made up of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium,

and calcium. And, if it gets wet, you have a “a serious risk of chemical etching” on your car’s paint job, according to Mike Rafael of Mr. Detail, which is based in Seattle, Washington. Now that cooler air is there, along with a lot more moisture, the ash will be wet. Rafael does point out

that dry wildfire ash will not harm a vehicle. Rafael said even fog can mix with ash left on a car which will turn into calcium carbonate or potassium hydroxide. “[It] can have the same corrosive characteristics as drain cleaner,” Rafael said in the story.

Zip Expands on the East Coast

OSHA Issues Better Protection Rule

Mammoth Holdings acquires Marc-1

Zips Car Wash has acquired four Wash Wizard Car Wash locations in Charleston, South Carolina, according to a press release. Zips now operates 12 stores across the state and 28 locations up the Eastern Seaboard. Zips’ acquired the following Wash Wizard Car Washes: • 5506 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC • 2727 N Highway 17, Mt. Pleasant, SC • 3955 Ashley Phosphate Road, North Charleston, SC • 501 North Highway 52, Moncks Corner, SC Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, Zips now operates 136 locations in 14 states including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in an effort to protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular individual. It will also remove provisions of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule, according to a DOL press release stated. OSHA believes this proposal will reduce the burden of complying with the current rule. “The proposed rule eliminates the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to maintain injury and illness records. These establishments would be required to electronically submit information only from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).” OSHA is not currently accepting the Form 300 or 301 data and will not enforce the deadlines for these two forms without further notice while this rulemaking is underway, the press release stated.

Atlanta-based express conveyor car wash Mammoth Holdings LLC acquired Birmingham-based Marc-1 Car Wash, a press release reported. Marc-1 Car Wash founder Marcus Kittrell will serve as senior vice president of operations and mergers and acquisitions for Mammoth. “I spent the better part of my life building my business, and joining forces with operators I trust and respect, who are as passionate about customer service and providing a great place to work for their associates as I am, was an easy decision,” Kittrell stated in the press release. In 2015, Marc-1 was named as one of Birmingham’s fastest-growing companies. Mammoth also acquired fellow Atlanta-based Wash Me Fast LLC. “We’ve brought several leading brands under one roof to create the first car wash acquisition platform formed by industry-insiders,” said Gary Dennis, Mammoth co-founder and CEO, in a press release.

Self Serves are Booming in Korea According to an investigative report by Tom White of, self serve car washes are extremely popular in Korean culture. “When I asked my contacts what sorts of activities are synonymous with Korean car culture, self-serve car wash was always one of the first things to come up,” White wrote. “Everyone lives in apartments, where it’s not just impractical to wash your car, it’s actually illegal.” White’s interpreter explained in his report, “We investigated the 24hr self-serve carwash phenomenon in Korea.” According to the Korean interpreter, “Cars park tightly together, and there’s no plumbing, It’s a real problem, we lost a lot of vehicles to flooding a few years ago.”


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After a few enquiries, White was invited to take photos and talk to the manager of a popular car wash chain, Wash Zone. “We’re told Wash Zone is the original doit-yourself carwash service in Korea. Founded in 1989, the company is now so successful it has developed its own machinery, like a no-contact auto-washing bay set to be rolled out across their operations soon… Under its previous name of Goldenself, the brand once operated over 800 self-washing businesses on the peninsula. Under its new premium brand of Wash Zone it’s added a further 87 to the nation’s total, and that’s not including the hundreds operated by three major competitors.” White asked the manager why self-wash was

overwhelmingly popular. He explained that self-washing is “simply a part of the Korean car ownership ethos.” Koreans take personal pride in their cars, the article stated. Many of the younger generation would rather own a nice, new car than try to save for expensive property in Seoul. The manager also stated that it is considered a social activity in Korea. Friends will gather together after work or on the weekends, wash their cars and hang out. Every Wash facility also has a Starbucks-style café that’s open most of the day.

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The MICROCOIN ® QL is a high speed, multi-coin, field programmable electronic coin acceptor that can be used in many applications in your car wash including your: WASH BAYS AUTOCASHIERS VACUUMS FRAGRANCE MACHINES CHANGE MACHINES Its features are many. Here are just a few: Quick Learn™ On Board Programming Single and multi-coin programming Programmable for Multiple Currencies Programmable for up to 12 different coins Universal size - one size fits all High speed, multi-coin acceptance up to 10 cps New, revolutionary coin discrimination techniques Highly critical and unique coin path design which virtually eliminates the possibility of coin jams. Maximum fraud coin rejection For more information on the MICROCOIN® QL contact Hi-Performance Wash Systems or one of the distributors listed below. Advanced Car Wash Systems – GA JE Adams – IA National Pride Equipment – OH Auto Wash Concepts – CA Jim Coleman Company – TX Ryko – IA Dultmeier – NE Kleen-Rite – PA U-Wash Equipment – IL Etowah Valley – NC Laurel Metal Products, Inc. – IL Water Conservation Services – CA Fragramatics – AR Mark VII – CO Windtrax - KS

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Water study from the ICA In the latest research release from International Carwash Association, a new study on Water Use, Evaporation and Carryout in Professional Car Washes is now available for download. A comprehensive study, as well as individual versions broken out for In-Bays and Conveyors, are available. The individual reports are a great tool to use in conversations with a water authority about water use. Demonstrating a carwash owner’s role as a water steward is increasingly important as drought continues to be an issue in municipalities. Being proactive in telling a story can lead to cost savings with the utilities, but also a partnership that will help protect a business when faced with drought restrictions. Water-powered brush from Brush Hero Brush Hero is a water-powered cleaning and detailing tool designed for easy, shop-quality DIY car care. It’s perfect for rims, tight wheel spokes, the engine bay and all the nooks and crannies on a motorcycle. It easily cuts through brake dust, grease and road muck. No batteries or electricity required, Brush Hero simply hooks up to any standard garden hose and scrubs with an impressive amount of torque. As avid cyclists and car guys, founders Glenn Archer and Kevin Williams were looking for a way to get at those wheel spokes without jammed up, scraped up knuckles. With a soft brush, a stiff brush and now an entire line of specialty brushes, soaps and accessories, the Brush Hero brand offers a fun, fast and efficient way to clean just about anything. While our mainstay is the automotive aisle, we’re delighted to see that customers are using Brush Hero to clean just about everything — boats, grills, garden tools, pottery, pumpkins, potatoes, koi ponds, lawnmowers, golf clubs, rain gutters, and vinyl siding.

Management tool from Sonny’s Sonny’s Enterprises LLC has announced the launch of OneWash Choice™ — the industry’s first and only turnkey suite of car wash business management tools rolled into a single subscription-based solution. For the first time, equipment, parts, controls, vacuums, training, comprehensive consulting and marketing solutions are conveniently accessible to OneWash Choice™ members in one place. Sonny’s OneWash Choice™ empowers car wash operators by offering them the tools and resources to operate their businesses comparable to enterprises benefiting from larger economies of scale. Members can streamline nearly every aspect of the car wash business by taking advantage of exclusive equipment and shipping discounts, expanded consulting services, unlimited hands-on training and access to meaningful reports offering a window into operational metrics affecting profitability — all from one partner.

New wash tunnel from ISTOBAL The ISTOBAL T’WASH30 tunnel offers maximum efficiency and throughput, as it can wash and dry up to 60 vehicles per hour with the 3-brush modle and up to 80 with the 5-brush model based on machine length and cycle speeds. With cutting-edge technology, it combines the versatility and technological level of the ISTOBAL M’NEX32 rollover ensuring maximum efficiency and a high throughput. It optimizes water use, dries the vehicle with high energy efficiency, incorporates the Drive Away safety system -which opens the vertical brushes in case of excessive pressure- and includes different devices for an optimum clean and dry of all vehicle areas.

Publication for Pressure Washing Launching January January 2019 will welcome a brand new quarterly magazine for the pressure washing industry! As the proud publishers of Self Serve Carwash News, we’re looking forward to expanding our grassroots approach to trade journalism into yet another exciting industry of independent entrepreneurs. We personally built a database of over 4,300 pressure washing operations across the United States, and will be mailing 4X per year. Please get in touch with Jackson Vahaly at ( if you’d like any additional information! 54

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NAME OF CAR WASH: Stampede Car Wash


Calgary, Alberta, Canada


TYPE OF CAR WASH: Self Serve/Automatic


5 wand wash bays, 1 automatic bay


HOURS/DAYS OPEN: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.





The fact that you can keep your customers happy just by a dollar.

LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT OWNING A SELF SERVE? When customers are not understanding and disrespectful when we are busy. 56 • FALL 2018

From coast to coast, we are profiling different self serve car washes and will showcase photos, business information, methods of advertising and what sets them apart from the competition.






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Our Flip-Tub station was specifically designed to maximize the usable area in self-serve car wash bays. It allows a vehicle to fit in the bay, while the tub is in its flip-up position. When the user is ready to wash their pet, the tub is placed in the flip-down position and the unit is ready for use.

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Converting a self-serve bay into an enclosed pet wash station is easier than you think and an excellent way to generate additional revenue while expanding the services your business offers.



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Around the Wash

The Math of Memberships In my Opinion: Your self serve car wash should be offering a monthly membership program By Jim Lanman

Membership and subscription-based business models are booming in America. A recent Forbes article, titled The State Of The Subscription Economy, 2018, states that subscription-based businesses have grown 100% per year for the past 5 years! Whether it is Amazon’s popular Prime membership, which now includes more than 100 million members, Blue Apron, the Dollar Shave Club, or that shiny new tunnel car wash down the street, they all rely on the appeal of monthly memberships. Memberships designed with the consumer in mind are convenient and very appealing for customers. Everyone loves to get a great deal and those deals boost their loyalty to particular brands, services and businesses. However, there are a couple of things that hold self-serve owners back from offering monthly membership programs. One is they might not know of a way to effectively administer and manage a membership program. Owners may wonder how they would sell memberships, manage the collecting of fees, etc. They also wonder how the member would start the wash once the membership was purchased. These issues are challenging, but perhaps the biggest reason that owners sit on the sidelines of the booming membership economy is that they fear that a membership gives away far too much of a discount and that it will erode their margins. But, this isn’t true. So, why do they feel this way? When you do the math, it will show that an owner can benefit greatly from regular car wash “members.” Here is one example of how many self serve owner think they will lose money: Bob sells washes for $10 each and if a member washes twice a week that is 8 times per month. Now, if Bob sells that person a membership for $29, he has sold the washes for $3.63 each. Bob thinks he cannot afford to do that as he will be losing money! Bob has calculated his costs and it costs him $3.95 every car wash. Bob believes he has to get more than that or he will lose money. There are several things wrong with this seem58

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ingly logical calculation. What membership businesses — including that shiny new tunnel down the street — know is that the value of a customer increases by 200%-400% when you convert that customer into a member. How? Because it translates into increased revenue for your primarily fixed cost business and that translates into more profit. Let’s take a simple car wash industry example: There are lots of places to wash a car in most towns. Your customers are likely washing a couple of times a month during part of the year and they are skipping long periods of time during other parts of the year and stopping at other facilities from time to time to wash their car as well. This person may end up averaging 1.25 washes per month when you factor in their full year habits. At $10 per wash that’s $150 of annual revenue for a solid customer. If you can convert that customer to a $29 membership you’re now earning $348 per year from this same customer. Let’s also look at the cost equation. In our example the owner who calculated $3.95 for every car washed has simply divided their total cost of doing business by the number of cars washed last year. The problem with this calculation is that most of his costs are fixed costs. Fixed costs are the things that aren’t going to change whether you wash 1 car or 100 cars on a given day. Either way you have your original capital investment in land, building and equipment. The property tax bill is fixed. Loan payment costs are fixed. Much of the labor cost is fixed. The phone bill and internet bills are fixed. Even some of the water, sewer, and gas bills are fixed to provide freeze protection in the winter, etc. If you truly calculate the variable costs (soap, water, equipment maintenance) you are looking at

a true variable cost of pennies per wash to provide that member a service that they feel is very valuable and are happy to pay a reasonable monthly fee to utilize. This customer will most likely wash their car more frequently, but it won’t be as drastic as you probably fear and the customer will be a more loyal, more satisfied customer who now feels a strong connection to your business as a member. Surprisingly, all of the membership activity at a wash is also likely to draw in additional customers even if they aren’t all members. When passers-by see that your wash is always busy they are much more likely to stop in to see what they are missing. Now, what about that original problem of how to manage the memberships? With the convenience of remote management apps and software programs, you can tailor membership programs that include any combination of automatic, tunnel, self-serve bay, vacuums, and dog washes, etc. There is no limit to how many memberships you can offer and each one can comprise of any number of different services each with their own limits and restrictions. Your customer can not only purchase the membership through the app but they can also start your self-serve bay, your automatic wash, vacuums, etc., right from their smart phone. Today’s technology can also collect the membership fees from the customer every month. It seems like a win-win and now is the time to join the membership boom that is sweeping the nation in multiple industries including the car wash industry. Jim Lanman is co-owner of Touch4Wash, a company which offers car wash customers the convenience of using their mobile phone to purchase and activate a wash, plus much more. Jim can be reached at or by calling 612-787-7287.

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Rowe bill changers are a safe option for locations because owners and attendants no longer need to carry cash. Our Model 400 & 500 units recycle a patron’s $5 bills as change for another patron without the owner or attendant handling bills. This boosts profits, increases security of currency and coins, improves cash flow and decreases labor costs- all benefits for store owners! Some models break large denomination bills into smaller bills, other models accept credit cards and dispense bonus tokens. There is a Rowe changer for every application, choose from compact, economy changers to heavy duty, robust, high capacity models.


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THE WEIGHT OF WINTER The iceman cometh, and he is bringing snow, winds, freezing temperatures, moisture build up, you name it. And, with his arrival also comes a whole different list of preventative maintenance checklists tailored to winter and the woes it can bring. To help in conveying the importance of proper self serve car wash winterization, along with offering up detailed tips and preventative suggestions, we turned to Drew Dressler of D&S Car Wash Equipment Company, Joe Anish of Vilco Supply, Jim Johnson of Airlift Doors and experts from KleenRite. From pumps to nozzles, to vacuums to doors, find out what needs to be done before the frost hits and during the ice-laden and coldest season of the year.

Before the Frost

Preventative Maintenance for pumps, foam brushes and weep systems By Joe Anish The winter season can be the most challenging time of the year for car wash operators. As a car wash operator for the past 19 years, as well as our family being in the business for 54 years, we have seen some very harsh winters and problems occur over the past half century. During that time, we have provided service calls from our maintenance 62

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company, Vilco Supply, for other car washes in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky. We also provide Cat Pump service, specializing in stainless steel inserts for Cat Pump owners across the USA and abroad. Having served customers from as far north as Alaska and the lower 48, we have seen the damage winter can inflict on the prepared seasoned operator as well as a new owner. So, the importance of preparing your pumps and equipment prior to the first cold snap is imperative.

START WITH THE EQUIPMENT ROOM Properly preparing your pumps starts with you preparing your equipment room before the first cold snap. Your equipment room is like the core of your body, everything outside of it is affected when the internal heat source is not properly functioning. Not only is it important to heat your equipment room but keeping the room at an even

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IS BACK AND STRONGER THAN EVER! Touch Free In-Bay Automatic The WORLD’S finest self service automatic continues to set the standards for CLEAN CARS and HIGH PRODUCTION. While our competitors claim their equipment is high tech because of its good looks and aesthetics that does not mean it will make you successful in the car wash business. This business is all about clean cars and happy customers. It is not about having the prettiest equipment.

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High volume car washes that can deliver clean, shiny cars need to be a “WORK HORSE”, and that is what the TURBO WASH is often called. In fact, there are more units of the TURBO WASH basic design that are 10, 20 even 30 years old that are still out there washing cars. What other manufacturer can make that statement?

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THE WEIGHT OF WINTER temperature is important as well. Be sure to check your heat source prior to the first cold snap. Be sure the thermostat for your heat source is working correctly. If you are using gas heat with a pilot light make sure the pilot is lit. Also, check your thermocouple for proper operation. This can usually be tested simply by adjusting your heat setting at or above your equipment room interior temperature and be sure your furnace ignites and burns evenly. If your furnace will not light, check the gas source and be sure it is turned on, allowing enough gas to flow to your furnace. If the gas was shut off during the summer, the gas will take a moment to push the air out of the line while you have the pilot switch engaged. If your pilot light ignites but your furnace will not stay lit, you may need to replace your thermocouple. If you are not comfortable with working on your gas furnace seek help from your local gas utility company or a licensed technician. If your equipment room uses electric heat, follow the same thermostat procedures and be sure your electric heat comes on and

cycles correctly. It is always a good idea if using electric heat to have a back-up source like gas in case of a power outage. If you are in an area that requires your equipment to weep water during freezing conditions, check your weep system before the first autumn freeze. No matter what type of weep system you use be sure your thermostat is reading the exterior temperature correctly. You can do this by locating the bulb or sensor connected to your thermostat or weep control system. The bulb or electronic sensor can be checked by covering it with a bag of ice for at least 10 minutes. When the temperature reading reaches approximately 34 degrees F your weep system should activate. While the ice is covering the bulb or sensor check each spray gun tip to be sure you have sufficient water flow at the tip. Remove the ice bag after the system runs for at least 10 minutes, giving time to cycle if it is an electronic weep system. If you are using a bulb thermostat system you should allow the system to cycle several times to assure proper operation of


A Q&A with Drew Dressler, D&S Car Wash Equipment Company Eastern Regional Manager

When should a self serve car wash operator start the preparations for winter? Ideally you want to complete the process before the first sub-freezing weather arrives. This is for two reasons: The first is to avoid any problems should a fast-moving early-season cold front arrive in your area, and second because it’s easier to perform the tasks when temps are still comfortable.

Is there a checklist they should follow when it comes to winterizing? Yes. See page 70

What is one the biggest and/or costliest mistakes an operator can make when it comes to winterizing their wash? Frozen hoses outside, from the pump stand to the bays are costly to replace, making for down time and loss of revenue.

Do you recommend stocking up on glycol? Not really, the floor heat should be tested and usually only a small amount is required to be added to the system. Sold by the gallon or 5-gallon pails.


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Is a self serve wash in the warmer regions winterized differently than one in the colder areas during the winter? Usually the equipment operated in these regions do not have weep control or the need to prepare for freezing temperatures. Using anti-freeze chemicals may be all that is required to keep the bays open.

What can happen if an operator does not winterize their wash? The car wash environment is harsh even in the best weather, but winter is especially so. Virtually every component is subject to potential operational problems due to freezing temperatures. Some can be permanently damaged or destroyed, from the bay structure to pumps and motors, water hoses and vacuums. Some of the more common and costly issues are: Significant cracking in bay floors, frozen and bursting of pipes, cracked seals, stuck valves and clogged filters on water and chemical systems, excessive wear or performance issues on mechanical systems and components including meter boxes, vacuums, bay wands and nozzles.

your thermostat and solenoid. You can do this by covering and removing the ice bag from the bulb, allowing the temperature to fluctuate below and above the 34 degree F mark. This technique will activate the thermostat to open and close the solenoid. If your weep system is not coming on or shutting off, you should check your solenoid for proper electrical current. Remember a weep solenoid coil opens when the power is off. This allows the solenoid to remain open in case of an electrical outage. If you are getting the proper electric current to your solenoid coil and the solenoid is not allowing water to pass or you cannot stop the water flow, check your solenoid diaphragm, piston and disc assembly, depending on what type of solenoid you are currently using. Typically, a diaphragm type solenoid is used in a weep system. Often the rubber diaphragm inside the solenoid valve can become non-pliable or crack allowing water to pass through the diaphragm, no matter if the power is on or off. Replacing the diaphragm or a diaphragm kit is necessary and can be ordered from your parts supplier simply by giving the solenoid brand, model number and pipe size.

CHECK FOR LEAKS When checking your weep system, be sure to inspect your check valves for proper operation as well. Often, check valves can stick or not open and close correctly when not in use during the summer. This is also a good time to check your trigger gun and boom swivels for minor leaks under low pressure. If these swivels are leaking, less water will reach your trigger gun, wand and spray tip. Without enough water flowing through your spray tip you risk the chance of the tip clogging with debris or ice buildup, which will eventually slow the water flow enough to freeze the tip and stop the water flow completely, allowing the wand, hose, swivels, and boom to freeze. Having enough water pass through the trigger gun, especially during extreme temperatures is critical. If you are not sure if you have enough water flow it is a good idea to replace the trigger gun with a new weep trigger gun. If you need additional weep water, check with your supplier for what is called an “extra weep” gun. An extra weep gun allows additional water to flow through the pump, hose, boom, gun and tip. Although they use more water than normal weep guns, this may help your system from freezing during extreme temperatures. Now that you are sure you have no leaks in your exterior equipment and fittings, be sure to check the interior equipment room fittings and hoses as well. During temperature changes your fittings expand and contract, allowing the Teflon tape or pipe dope to gap between the fittings. Repairing water drips can save money and future problems from occurring. To repair water dripping from a fitting, simply unscrew your fittings and reapply Teflon tape or pipe dope or a combination of both to reseal the fittings. If a swivel is leaking, a repair kit can usually be installed or replace the swivel with a new one.

Replace or upgrade your ACW. Installs inside an existing ACW cabinet! Accepts Cash, Coins and Credit Cards The most economical 24hr Automatic Entry System! CryptoPay provides secure credit card processing that ‘Simply Stops Fraud’ Features CryptoPay Consolidation reducing Merchant Fees Compatible with CryptoPay In-Bay credit card system*

PayStation Features: l 4 - Selection Large backlit LCD display and voice prompts. l Accepts cash, coins and credit cards securely with CryptoPay! l Connect this Paystation CryptoPay to your existing CryptoPay system or add CryptoPay to your In-bay boxes for one complete credit card solution*. (*CryptoPay Coordinator is required for each car wash location) l Program up to 25 discount codes. Add an “optional” 2nd hopper to vend a bonus token that can be redeemed for a free vacuum or a discount on your next car wash purchase.

CryptoPay Security: Prevents credit card data from being ‘in the clear’ and at risk by encrypting the credit card data at the moment, and point, of the credit card swipe. CryptoPay provides secure credit card processing that ‘Simply Stops Fraud’. CryptoPay Consolidation: Reduces merchant and credit cards fees which are essential for small ticket purchases. Here’s an example of CryptoPay Consolidation: Imagine that a customer visits your carwash. He swipes his credit card at the PayStation and purchases an $8.00 wash. Ten minutes later swipes his card again at the vacuum, and is charged $1.00. CryptoPay combines these two charges into one $9.00 charge that is submitted to the credit card company, which results in only one merchant fee for the purchase. CryptoPay GoGreen Receipt Service: Allows your customers to get their receipts from credit card purchases made at your car wash. Receipts are available online 24/7, two hours after last usage. It provides end-to-end encryption delivering receipts safely online. American Changer Corp.

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Also, as winter approaches consider using winter formula foam brush soap or invest in a controller that works alongside your weep system that automatically changes your foam brush soap from a summer to winter formula. Separate holding tanks or an injector system can be installed to store or inject the winter formula as needed. A foam brush controller uses a thermostat or connects to your weep system and monitors the exterior temperature. When the temperature drops to around 34 degrees F the system will activate a solenoid connected to your air supply and blow out the summer formula foam brush soap from your equipment room to the foam brush head. Once the line is clear the controller activates another solenoid to open and pump the winter formula into your foam brush system. The winter formula has an anti-freeze additive allowing lower temperature operation for your foam brush system. The winter formula foam brush soap can withstand lower temperatures, most likely keeping your hose from freezing solid. These are just a few steps to prepare your pumps, foam brushes and weep system for the upcoming winter months. Doing a little preventative maintenance before the first hard freeze will save you time, money and a potential shut down for what can be a very lucrative season. If you have any questions or additional information, please feel free to call 888-255-4181.

The following tip has been provided by Kleen-Rite ( Winter foam brush detergent lets you continue to sell the extra services your customers buy, even in cold weather. The added methanol in winter foam brush detergent keeps your self-serve foam brush pliable. The free-rinsing capabilities keep the foamers in your automatic wash operating. You can buy methanol and make your own winter antifreeze soap. But, if the methanol and soap mixture is inconsistent, you may need to continually adjust the air or pump pressure on your foamy brush system. This is why we recommend buying pre-made antifreeze soap, since it guarantees the same mixture at all times. To winterize your system and change to winter soap, you will need to change the tips in your hydrominder. First, determine which

tip you need, as different tips are designed for different temperatures. There is a handy chart showing which tip you need in the anti-freeze section of the Kleen-Rite catalog. Next, take the hydrominder pickup tube off so you will be able to access the tip. Screw the current tip out and replace it with a new tip and put the pickup tube back in place. You can now manually turn the foamy brush system back on and see the antifreeze soap filling into the tank. The only thing you may still need to do is adjust the air pressure on the foamy brush system. You may need to add air to thicken up the soap, or take out some air to thin out the soap. Now that you know how to stop your foamy brush from freezing.

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SELF SERVE WINTERIZATION CHECKLIST Provided by Drew Dressler, D&S Car Wash Equipment Company Eastern Regional Manager



❏❏ Seal floors and repair cracks in floors or drains.

❏❏ Check fluid level and turn on circulator.


❏❏ Check circulator to be sure it is running, then lubricate.

Check lighting, clean lenses, set timers and clean photo cells.

LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS ❏❏ If bladder tanks are used drain liquid - pressurize them with air to 38 psi.

❏❏ Keep bay lights on during grey days. This will make your location look more inviting and let customers know you are open.

❏❏ Make sure gas supply is on. Turn on floor heat boiler. ❏❏ Light pilot light, if it’s not a self-igniting system.

❏❏ Inspect the foam brush anti-freeze system; put antifreeze solution on line. If required, change hydro pill and adjust needle valves.


❏❏ Turn up the floor thermostat to fire the boiler.

❏❏ Check all functions in bays and adjust as needed.

❏❏ Check the anti-freeze ratio in the floor heat system.

❏❏ Inspect for leaks.

Be sure your wash is well lit. It gets dark earlier in the winter so more people will be washing after the sun goes down.

❏❏ Clean the pits and flush the drains. ❏❏ Lubricate the wall mount booms only, one drop of oil.

❏❏ Turn on circulator and run the pump only for a day and then check fluid levels.


❏❏ Check the swivels and hoses for wear or damage (it’s no fun to change a hose when it is 10 degrees outside and the drip is on).

❏❏ Draw sample of liquid and test strength. ❏❏ Let system run to ensure that the boiler comes up to temperature.

❏❏ Make sure the weep system is turned on.

❏❏ Inspect trigger guns, flex wands and protector tips (leaky guns can freeze in the open position in severe weather).

❏❏ Light the equipment room heat if used.

❏❏ Make sure the supply water to the weep valve is on.

❏❏ Check the equipment room heater.

❏❏ Turn the control to activate the weep system or unplug to activate.

❏❏ Check the bay hoses for or wear. ❏❏ Inspect foam brush heads, handles and swivels. ❏❏ Replace nozzles for maximum pressure and fluid savings. ❏❏ Inspect wands holders, clean or repair as needed. ❏❏ Check signage. ❏❏ Check your inventory of spare parts for bays (especially the parts customers use frequently: Trigger guns, foam brush assembly, bay hoses, vacuum hoses, slug buster knobs, transformer fuses, rotary switchers.) ❏❏ Service overhead doors - oil wheels with AFT oil weekly. ❏❏ Spray terminal strip with WD-40® or better.

METER BOXES ❏❏ Check coin accepting device. ❏❏ Check rotary switch for excessive wear and lubricate shaft. ❏❏ Clean or replace decals as needed. ❏❏ Check meter heater. Reconnect. ❏❏ Clean meter; make sure screws are tight.

❏❏ Turn up temperature and let the system run to test fans. ❏❏ Reset temperature for desired room setting. ❏❏ Check that the trough heat system is on. ❏❏ Check fluid and circulator on thermostat. ❏❏ Check the heat tapes. ❏❏ Verify turn-on and turn-off temperature. In areas where it is cold only at night, you can use a time clock to turn off the floor heat from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. This could save considerably on gas bill, assuming you don’t have any late night customers.

WATER HEATER ❏❏ Start it up, if you turned it off for summer. Set temperature for winter operation usually 5 to 10 degrees warmer for self-service, 10 to 20 degrees warmer for automatic. ❏❏ Consider increasing the Wash or Pre-Soak temperatures to 10-15 degrees. ❏❏ Check circulator to ensure it is running and lubricate where necessary.

❏❏ Adjust the weep at the pump control to the desired flow.

WATER, YARD & BUILDING ❏❏ Inspect pavement, fill potholes, seal blacktop, check striping and signage. ❏❏ Arrange for snow removal. ❏❏ Make sure you have tools for snow removal and an ample supply of ice melt and calcium. ❏❏ Driveway, vending area and vac islands, etc. must be free of snow and ice. Mix salt with calcium chloride (ice melt) when temperature is below 20 degrees. ❏❏ Bill changers - check heaters and clean hopper. ❏❏ Make sure your softener is working properly. Check with a tester for soft water. ❏❏ Plug eves or unnecessary holes in building. ❏❏ Make sure air vents are open and not allowing cold air to flow on water pipes or equipment.


❏❏ Lubricate locks; use WD-40® or equivalent to eliminate moisture.

❏❏ Check aquastat for water temperature setting.

❏❏ Clean safe heads and lubricate.

❏❏ Check the anode rod.

❏❏ Grease unit at all fittings.

❏❏ Check for any leaks.

❏❏ Lubricate drive chains inside gantry

VENDING & VACUUMS ❏❏ Clean vacuum bags (bags can freeze closed with too much moisture when dirty). ❏❏ Inspect doors seals and latches. They must be airtight. Seals should not be torn or squashed to the point where they do not spring back. ❏❏ Inspect vacuum hoses and nozzles. If hoses are worn replace. (New color?) ❏❏ Clean coin acceptors. Wash with soap and water, blow them dry (mechanical mechanism only). ❏❏ Lubricate mechanical parts of the machines (excluding the coin acceptors). ❏❏ Switch to winter formula on fragrance machine and carpet machine.


❏❏ Check mixing valve if the system has one.

AIR COMPRESSOR ❏❏ Check the oil and change it per manufacturer recommendations. ❏❏ Inspect belt. ❏❏ Drain any water from tank. This should be done at least weekly. Daily draining may be necessary in winter if you are using the compressor for air blow down. Automatic drains are available and recommended. ❏❏ Drain water from filter. ❏❏ Add oil to auto lubricator. ❏❏ Clean filter on intake of pump. ❏❏ Check for air leaks.


❏❏ Check drive chains tension. ❏❏ Check belt for wear and proper tension. ❏❏ Check H.P. swivels for leaks. ❏❏ Check all hoses for wear and broken braid. ❏❏ Clean and lubricate arch chains. ❏❏ Check eye heat. ❏❏ Check eyes for proper adjustments. ❏❏ Check spray tips for wear. ❏❏ Turn on blow down and check operation. ❏❏ Check arch and P.S. heat system if used. ❏❏ Set presoak heater for winter operation. ❏❏ Set presoak solution for winter operation. ❏❏ Check and clean entry menu sign, lubricate bulb sockets. ❏❏ Clean validation on automatic car wash.

❏❏ Change the pump oil.

❏❏ Check float valves.

❏❏ Inspect the belts.

❏❏ Check the supply hose and clean the screen in the hose.

❏❏ Check pressure.

❏❏ Change wash pump oil and check belt tension tighten all hose clamps.

❏❏ Check the system’s foot valves.

❏❏ Clean any supply filter screens (water, soap, wax) or filters.

❏❏ Drain air compressor completely and check oil.

❏❏ Check the metering tips to ensure proper mixing of concentrate.

❏❏ Check injector and solution if glycol injectors are used.

❏❏ Clean supply tank.

❏❏ Put the PVC tubing in supply buckets to prevent curling of supply hose out of concentrate.

❏❏ Check float valves and levels.

❏❏ Consider increasing the amount of chemical used per car, especially the Pre-Soak.

COIN CHANGERS ❏❏ Dump coins and clean hoppers. ❏❏ Clean and inspect validator; make sure rollers are clean. ❏❏ Check heater. ❏❏ Clean face and decals.


• FALL 2018

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FALL 2018 •



Don’t Let Out All the Warm Air! By Jim Johnson, General Manager, Airlift Doors, Inc As we are nearing the end of 2018, we have seen a significant increase in the number of self-serve car washes installing doors. While many places require the use of car wash doors because of extreme temperatures, there has even been an increase in the use of car wash doors being installed in warmer climates. As cold air or wind starts to move into a car wash bay, the first line of defense are the car wash doors. Besides the benefit of protecting the car wash equipment itself, these doors are protecting the customer, making it more comfortable to use a self-serve bay. It is our experience that when doors are installed on a self-serve bay, customer satisfaction increases and they are likely to become repeat customers. While temperatures start to fall, there are maintenance steps we recommend following to ensure optimum performance from your car wash doors.


• FALL 2018

STEP 1: The most important step is making sure all of the moving door parts get a coat of lubricant. This includes greasing or lubing the shaft line bearing, hinges, rollers and springs, (if you have them.) This important step increases the lifespan of these parts during harsher climates.

STEP 2: Another crucial part of winterizing your door is the weather stripping. By replacing the worn or cracked weather strip, you are creating a better seal against freezing temperatures and the corrosion that can build up on wet car wash equipment. This is a fairly easy and cost effective way to keep up your car wash doors. STEP 3: If you are thinking of installing a door, be sure to get one that is designed to withstand water and chemicals. One of the biggest mistakes car wash owners make is not buying a door that

image source:

is designed for the corrosive environment of a car wash bay. The water and chemicals can cause build up and corrode the working parts of an overhead door. Some insulated doors gain weight from water absorption, causing the door to become off balance. The door as well as all of its working parts should be able to withstand the harsh environment from a working car wash, including the hinges, track, rollers, shaft line and drums. It is crucial to do your research and buy the right door and opener for your application.



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The investment in security cameras pays off for carwash operators

(and the readers of SSCWN) with these mostly frustrating, sometimes funny -and always cautionary -- stories of Darwins Caught on Camera. Images of these criminals and/or their vehicles were given to police and the press. Many have been caught thanks to the prowess of security cameras.

Most criminals know not to return to the scene of a crime. And most definitely know not to return to a scene twice, especially when security cameras are involved. But, this section isn’t called, Smart Criminals, it is dedicated to morons. Even Fox 4 News of Kansas City, Kansas, used the words “knuckleheads” in describing the pair of men who unsuccessfully tried to rob a car wash… three times. Car wash owner Brian Underwood told Fox 4, “Determined they are for sure,” Underwood said. “And I think that’s why it is important these guys be identified and caught. If they are running around at five in the morning with a portable drill, coming back here three times, God only knows what else they are doing.” Apparently one of the suspects first tried to break open a coin collector lock with a drill. The box, by the way, contained about $8 in coins as (Underwood clears in out regularly). The thief failed, leaving behind

broken drill bits on the ground. This alerted Underwood and he checked his security footage. The next day, in the same car, the thief returned and this time, he brought a friend. Both were then caught on camera trying to break into the same coin collector box. Though unsuccessful this second time, the duo decides to take full advantage of their surroundings and they wash the car! Then, the two return 10 days later, in the same car, but this time they apparently notice the security cameras. “One of the guys looked up and realized there was a camera looking down on him and they burned out real quick,” said Underwood. There’s lots of footage of the duo. In one screenshot you can see that the car includes a cow printed cover on the front seat. And in this photo it appears as if a receipt is in the backseat. Must be a CVS receipt because it looks exceptionally long!

A man in Central, Louisiana was caught on camera dumping off a dead ...alligator. Eeks! This Crocodile Dundee wannabee was caught on camera washing his car … that is all fine and good, but now that same man thought it was okay to leave behind the dead alligator inside the bay at the Suds and Duds Carwash. And, while alligator hunting is legal in the area, as long as the hunter has the proper license, dumping a dead alligator is considered littering if the reptile is not tagged. According to The Advocate, this is the second incident of a dead alligator being found improperly dumped in the area. A larger alligator was found on the side of the road in Zachary, Louisiana, but it had been properly harvested, however, it was improperly dumped.

FALL 2018 •


There are lots of people out there who are scared to go through a car wash tunnel or in-bay automatic. Well, hopefully those people will not read this story because this even gave me the heebiejeebies! If you notice in the picture below, a man was caught on camera trying to break into a car going through a wash in Carurthersville, Missouri, KFVS reported. According to police, around 6:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, a man said he was in the automatic vehicle bay when he felt the driver’s side door open. “As he tried to pull the door shut, he says a man shoved a gun through the door and told him to ‘Give it up (expletive),’” the story said. The victim said the suspect then fired a shot into the truck. The victim was able to drive off and he told police he saw the suspect run to convenience store next to the car wash and get into a white Chrysler sedan.


• FALL 2018

This next one does not involved a crime, but it does involve a dumb person. According to, in West Midtown Atlanta, “an unlucky Mazda 2 driver got himself into one crazy car accident when his foot became stuck between the gas and brake pedals. The clumsy motorist, 63-year-old Stanley Clarke, then lost control of his vehicle and came full speed into a parking lot where he crashed through a gate and tumbled onto the roof of a chiropractic office.” And, it didn’t end here! Then the car rolled off

the roof and crashed in front of a car wash. According to the story, Clarke escaped with minor injuries, “though the same can’t be said for his car.” Video of the crash is available on YouTube. It has already been viewed by over half a million people. If you want to see it yourself, visit YouTube and type in: West Midtown Crash.

I will take this over an alligator carcass any day as a car wash owner in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, called police after a tree

You can’t mess with Texas. First we had a guy trying to cover up a camera with soapy water, and this time, a few notches above

stump was left behind at his wash. According to The Belle Plaine Herald, “officers were called after the owner of the car wash observed a male unload a tree stump at the car wash, wash his car, then leave. The reporting person does not want to press charges, just wants the stump removed.”

on the evolution scale, a man tried to cover up a camera with spray paint. And, while his attempt was a bit more intelligent, it still flopped big time as that same camera was able to catch him trying to break into a coin box with a crow bar. According to abc 12, 44-year-old Brian Keith Ruiz (not the famed Hollywood legend Brian Keith who stared in The Wagon Train and The Parent Trap) of San Antonio, Texas, was arrested after he was caught on camera (the same one he spray painted) attempting to pry open the coin-operated machine with a crowbar. “Authorities say he was picked out of a lineup and is also suspected of breaking into two other coin-operated machines as well,” the story said.

One activity which is becoming more popular are these “Break A Room” places where you pay money to go into a room and break things — perhaps to let off steam, or release some sort of inner temper tantrum, or bond with other people who like to break things. And, perhaps this guy should have looked up one of these places instead of damaging a car wash. A man who possibly has a Paul Bunyan obsession, wielded an axe at the Sudsy Springs Car Wash in Lubbock, Texas, causing $10,000 in damages. According to KLBK News, “the vandal actually wasn’t able to steal anything, but left [the owner] with a lot to fix. The burglar even tried to cover the security camera with water and soap, but that didn’t work. The owner and police have a pretty good picture of who destroyed the property.” Dude, it is called Celexa. Or meditation. Or a Break A Room. Try one or all three and calm the heck down.

My years spent at St. Michael’s in Vermont taught me many lessons, one of which is: Do not mess with a nun. That’s right folks, you know there are dumb criminals out there when they think they can try and kidnap a woman who is interlinked with the man upstairs. According to KTLA 5, authorities identified a man who allegedly carjacked a 70-year-old nun in line at a car wash in South Los Angeles. Security cameras show Gregory Brinson, 43, enter through the front door, of the car wash. “When he gets back to the front of the store, he grabs the wallet of a customer standing at the cash register. He then grabs other items off the counter

(continued ...)

FALL 2018 •


and tries to flee, but the clerk behind the counter locks the front door. [He] leaves through a back door instead, emerging behind the station where a line of cars is waiting to enter the car wash. He can be seen walking along the line of cars, pulling door handles, though none open.” Then, Brinson finds an unlocked door belonging to the nun, and he climbs into the backseat as it’s being washed. He then allegedly ordered her to drive and threatened to kill her if she didn’t follow directions. And, this is where it gets good. The nun then drove about five miles to a Carl’s Jr., stops the car, grabs her keys and runs out of the vehicle. Brinson also ran away, but was eventually caught and taken into custody.

Before working for publisher Jackson Vahaly, I worked in an office in which we were so heavily micro-managed and watched, and controlled I felt like I couldn’t sneeze without asking permission. Well, I wonder how this gentleman would have fared in that office? According to Arlington Now, 61-year-old car wash employee Rigoberto Folgar Hernandez of Arlington, Texas,

was sent home, after showing up to work drunk, stealing a customer’s car, and then crashing the car. Earlier that day, Hernandez had showed up to work appearing to be heavily intoxicated. He was sent home, but returned to the business a short time later, and took a customer’s vehicle off the property, proceeded to drive over a median and then drove into a concrete piling as well as a parked vehicle,’” According the report, Hernandez then exited the vehicle and went back to the car wash, where he was arrested shortly afterward. He’s now facing charges of grand larceny, motor vehicle theft, destruction of property, hit and run, and public intoxication.

I don’t wish illness on anyone… except maybe this guy. Why? Because he tried to abduct a woman who was washing her car at a car wash in Morgantown, Kentucky. But, little did he know that self serve car wash customers stick together! According to the Bowling Green Daily News, a man approached the woman and punched her in the side and tried to drag her away. She was able to break free and found safety with a nearby customer who was washing his car. Now, if this

were a Hallmark Movie, those two would fall in love and would now be married, but those kinds of details weren’t shared in the Bowling Green Daily News report. The assailant took off after he was not able to abduct her, and he ran to a convenience store, but, alas, surveillance footage helped in identifying him and, as it turns out he was wanted for other crimes. “A vehicle matching McDaniel’s Acadia was spotted … by a Kentucky State Police trooper in Madisonville, who stopped the vehicle and arrested McDaniel without incident. The trooper knew (the advisory) existed, recognized the vehicle and made the arrest,’ BGPD spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward said. In addition to pending criminal charges from the incident at the car wash, McDaniel was arrested on two additional warrants for unrelated drug and traffic offenses in Butler County,” the story said. Police said he was put in custody at a medical facility for health issues unrelated to the incident involving the car wash. And, the man will be transported to a jail to await a hearing.

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