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Cold Weather Car Wash Tips

Winter in the midwest: a dream for skiers, snowboarders, ice fishers, snowshoers, sledders… But a nightmare for vehicles! In fact, winter could be the busiest time of year for many car washes in the midwest because of how damaging road salt is to a car’s finish. Keep your car wash up and running with these cold weather car wash tips. 

Extra Heat

Installing extra heat in your tunnels, bays and entrances greatly reduce dangerous icy conditions within the car wash, as well as preventing system freeze-ups that can shut down your entire car wash. When installing additional heat, make sure you are using a product made for such environments as a car wash. A standard heater isn’t designed for the extreme environment of a car wash. Radiant infrared heating systems are a good choice not only because they are energy efficient, but also because they feature water-tight attachments. 

Winter Detergents & Chemicals

Switching to winter soaps makes a huge difference for your equipment’s performance as well. 

Antifreeze detergent helps keep your brushes from freezing. It can be more expensive than regular detergent, but usually is less than using a weep water system. Detergent is only used during a car wash, while the weep water runs all the time. Antifreeze detergent keeps your brushes pliable and typically works in temperatures down to 0 (check the manufacturer’s label for specifics). 

Winter triple foam offers the same benefits as regular triple foam (clean, shine, clearcoat), but with an added non-freeze benefit. Just because it’s below 32 degrees outside doesn’t mean your customers’ cars can’t look hot!

Salt neutralizer is perfect for midwestern winters. Salt neutralizers remove the salt and calcium residues from vehicle finishes, reducing the risk for rust. 

Central Vacuum Systems

There shouldn’t be any change in performance in your vacuum system due to the cold weather, so there aren’t any specific winterization steps needed. However, due to the increase in melted snow, ice, salt, and generally more moisture mixed in with the normal debris, it’s a good idea to check your vacuum system for frequently for clogs and loss of suction. 

This is the perfect time to clean or change out filter bags. Typically you’ll want to clean every three to four months, and replace every year. Check for leaks and if any are found, replace gaskets or apply fresh silicone, or call a technician if it’s more serious. 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line: your car wash works harder in the winter. Be sure to make the appropriate changes to ease the burden on your equipment. You will spend a little extra for the detergent or additional heating, but ask yourself if it’s worth it to save wear and tear on your equipment, as well as income lost from any car wash shut downs. No car wash, no profits! 

Contact Reliable Plus today to find out all the best cold weather car wash chemicals and equipment we offer. 

Cold weather car wash