How does an automatic car wash work?
From horse-drawn carriages to Ford’s Model T to
self-driving vehicles, technology has made leaps and
bounds over the last century. As cars have evolved, so
has our process for keeping them clean. Gone are the
days of spending countless hours washing your car
entirely by hand. Fully automated car washes allow us to
enjoy the luxury of a clean car without lifting a
finger. Let’s take a deep dive into the Take 5 Car Wash
tunnel and examine exactly how our automatic car wash
How Does An Automatic Car Wash Work?
Before entering the tunnel, you’ll first need to pick
what type of wash you want at our automated pay
stations. These kiosks are user-friendly and allow you
to browse a menu of wash options and upgrades. After
selecting your desired wash, you’ll be guided to our
tunnel entrance. This is where our team starts the car
washing process with a pre-wash by hand, giving extra
attention to the bumper, wheels, and grill. This loosens
up and preps the surface of your vehicle for the
automatic car wash.
Next, you’ll be guided onto our conveyor belt. Most
automatic car washes utilize either a conveyor belt or
roll-over track. At Take 5 Car Wash, our automatic car
wash uses a conveyor belt to push your vehicle through
each part of the wash. All you have to do is put your
car in neutral, keep your hands off the wheel and feet
off the pedals, and our machinery will do the rest. All
the equipment within the tunnel is controlled by an
advanced computer system that employs infrared sensors.
Once your wheels are properly aligned on the conveyor
belt, these infrared sensors detect your car and send a
signal to the main control system to begin the wash.
Our automatic car wash starts with a pre-soak. As your
vehicle slowly passes through the tunnel, metal frames
fitted with small nozzles release a specially formulated
cleaning solution designed to loosen dirt and grime.
You’ll find these metal frames at different points
throughout the tunnel. Each frame in our drive through
car wash serves a different but equally important
function, whether it is applying foam and wax or rinsing
After the pre-soak, you’ll encounter the first round of
mitter curtains. These are long strips of cloth material
that hang from the top of the tunnel. Mitter curtains
travel over your vehicle while swinging back and forth,
agitating debris in its path. After passing through the
mitter curtains, an ultra-concentrated foam wall is
sprayed all over your vehicle. This patented foam
formula is a biodegradable soap mixture perfect for
cutting through stubborn messes. You’ll know you’ve
reached this part of the automatic car wash when you see
fun, brightly-colored foam on your windshield (this
happens to be our favorite part).
The next part of automatic car washes are the vertical,
paint-safe scrubbers. These are strategically positioned
in pairs on either side of the tunnel and rotate in
place to create a foam lather. Our cloth scrubbers are
tough enough to remove gross residue yet gentle enough
to avoid damaging your exterior. Once all the dirt has
been scrubbed away, high-powered pressure washers rinse
away any remains. While all these motorized parts work
together to clean the body of your car, spray nozzles
placed on the ground simultaneously target your tires
and undercarriage. Depending on the wash type you’ve
selected, this might be your last step before the dryer!
If you’ve selected anything more than a quick rinse,
you’ll travel through another series of metal frames,
mitter curtains, and scrubbers that deposit and buff wax
onto the surface of your car.
Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel — our
jet-powered dryers! The last step of our automatic car
wash blasts warm air onto your vehicle and instantly
evaporates water. This ensures a spot-free, glossy
finish every time.
How Long Does a Car Wash Take?
After exploring the ins and outs of our automatic car
wash, you might be wondering, “How long does a car wash
take?” From start to finish, the entire process takes
only a matter of minutes — not even a fraction of the
time it takes to wash your car by hand! Our automated
system is also more convenient and thorough than
handwashing. Plus, it offers a practical way to
regularly maintain a clean exterior. So, the next time
you need an express wash, swing by Take 5 for the
closest automatic car wash near you.