Car washes and vehicle technology


Automotive technology can cause problems when a vehicle moves through a car wash.


We all appreciate the benefits of modern technology, particularly when they make for safer driving. Few, if any however, take time to reflect on what could happen if those systems ate compromised.


Commercial vehicles are no exception as they need to be well maintained so that your drivers are always safe, even after a simple vehicle wash. However, one visit to the car wash can wreak havoc. This is because advanced systems weren’t built with old-fashioned car washes in mind.


Experts offer the following tips to ensure that vehicles (yes fleets you control) make it through the car wash safely, and important safety systems remain functional afterwards:


  1. Fobs and lockouts

Modern cars have keypads or little buttons on the door handles to lock them. All it takes is the pressure of a big, heavy brush going by to automatically lock them. Now, the keys are inside and the car is running. Suddenly, your locking system has become a safety hazard.


  1. Collision avoidance systems

These systems were designed to help drivers avoid collisions with vehicles or objects in the roadway ahead. But at a car wash, if the technology is left on, the system detects heavy wet things, metal framework and even a sudsy vehicle a few feet away. It’s important to turn off this technology before entering the car wash.


  1. Cars that don’t move in neutral

People that work at car washes move cars around a lot. They don’t always use ‘drive’ and the throttle. But modern cars don’t necessarily want to budge. For example, it’s impossible to roll some cars forward with the door open — it will put a stake in the ground unless your seat belt is attached.


  1. Taping down automatic wipers

At a car wash, high-tech wipers sense moisture and that can put the wipers into motion. Now your wipers — a critical safety feature when on the road — are in a battle with several hundred kilos of machinery. They could easily get broken. The smart strategy is to use tape to keep the wipers from automatically turning on during a car wash.


So, take some time and if you operate vehicles with all the mod cons and make sure you inform drivers accordingly.


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