Inside a carwash

Washing a car takes time, effort and lots of water, so how do drive-throughs simplify the process?

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An automatic carwash is the fastest and most efficient way to get a car clean. On arrival, drivers choose a programme, typically from an automatic terminal, and position their cars on a central conveyor belt, which will carry them through the washing tunnel.

The wash cycle begins with arches that spray pre-soak chemicals onto the car’s body. Chemical tyre applicators aimed at the wheel arches spray more detergents to tackle these generally dirtier areas. Following this, large cylindrical rollers – which are known as wraparounds – rub the bumpers and sides of the car. At the same time, many carwashes will deploy a tyre brush to clean the wheels further; this is often located behind a mitter, a curtain of hanging, ribbon-like cloth.

Beyond that is often another set of wraparounds. High-pressure water hoses can be installed here to clean difficult-to-reach areas of the vehicle and floor-mounted undercarriage systems are also a common feature. A last set of rollers continues to lift the water, dirt and chemical solution and finally the car is treated with a drying agent and a ‘spot-free’ coat of filtered water with no salts, ensuring no residue is left on the bodywork.

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