Check On Carwash Doors During Summer Months

By Josh Hart

It is mid-summer.  How are the doors on your carwash performing?  If your response is, “How would I know, we leave them open all summer,” you would not be alone.  The vast majority of carwash owners have doors on their washes to retain heat in the winter months.  Therefore, they see no need to utilize them in the warmer summer months.  The only problem with this is that door packages consist of numerous moving parts that are designed to operate on a regular basis.  Therefore, you may actually be doing your door harm by leaving it idle for long periods of time.  Cycling your doors regularly will not only improve their overall long-term performance, but there are many other advantages of running your doors in the summer.

If you decide you do not want to run your doors between every car in the summer months, it is a good practice to cycle the doors somewhat regularly.  A good practice would be to close the door at the end of the day and open it back up prior to business hours.  If you run a 24-hour facility, make sure to cycle the doors a few times a week when you are doing other maintenance or when time allows.  This will keep the working parts lubricated and protect against components drying up or seizing over long periods of non-use.  

Using your doors year-round will not only result in better long-term performance, but it also has numerous other advantages as well.

Hopefully you are in a good neighborhood and you do not need to worry about theft or vandalism.  However, these things are fairly common occurrences with a lot of businesses.  Most theft or vandalism takes place during non-business hours.  If you close your business down overnight, it is a good idea to close your doors to protect the inside of your wash.  

More recently we have seen an increase in areas requiring doors for noise reduction.  If your bay has enough space to run the dryer with the doors closed you can significantly reduce the noise emitted into the surrounding areas.  Polycarbonate doors can reduce the noise level from the wash by approximately 21db.  A vinyl roll-up door, while not as thick as a poly door, can still have an impact reducing the decibel level by up to 15db outside of the wash.  

Closing your doors during the wash process will also result in a better chemical application to the vehicle.  Blocking the wind from blowing into the bay will allow the spray nozzles from the carwash equipment to direct the chemical directly onto the vehicle as designed.  High levels of wind can impact the spray and re-direct the chemical away from the car and possibly affect the overall result of the wash cycle.  Keeping your doors down during the wash cycle will also keep the excess chemical and water inside the bay going into the drains rather than running outside into the parking lot or streets nearby.

Traffic flow is another key component for utilizing your doors between every car.  Regardless of what type of wash you operate, your equipment is set up to accept a vehicle into the wash at a specific point in the wash cycle.  Most bays have signage to signal when the wash is ready, but we all know that signs do not always work as expected.  Having a door open at the appropriate time in the wash cycle will limit access to the bay until the exact moment the wash is ready to accept the next vehicle. 

With all of that said, if you are in the camp of people who choose not to use your doors in the summer or maybe just forgot to keep up with it, now is the time to start looking at gearing up for the busier fall/winter carwash months.  Mid-summer is a perfect time to perform maintenance, make any necessary repairs, or look at purchasing replacement parts for your doors and openers.  Do not wait until the first freeze to realize that your doors are not in working order for winter.  This is extremely important with current supply chain issues and longer industry lead times.  

Call your door service provider to do a general maintenance to get your doors winter ready or check your manufacturer’s product owner’s manual or maintenance guides to get started.  Some general things to consider that will be covered in the manual are listed below:

  1. Check your power and air supply.  This seems basic, but is a common factor with doors that have been idle for long periods of time.  Is the breaker turned on?  Is the compressor running properly and drained of excess moisture?  Are your safety eyes functioning properly?
  2. Lubricate any necessary wear parts.  This is extremely important for items such as springs, bearings, hinges, rollers and of course your garage door opener.  Refer to your owner’s manual for exact instructions on items to lubricate and what type of grease or oil to use.
  3. Check to make sure your door balances properly.  This can be done by disconnecting the opener and running the door by hand to ensure that you can open and close the door manually with little effort.
  4. Make sure your emergency open features are working properly.  With polycarbonate doors and pneumatic openers there is a reserve of air built up in the system so the door should open off of the open button in the case of power loss.  If you have a vinyl roll up door with a counterweight system you should test the pull rope on the motor to verify that the door will open when disengaged from the motor.
  5. Although it may be warm now, we all know the cold is coming.  Check all of your weatherstripping around the sides, top, and bottom of your doors.  Replace any missing, torn, or worn out weatherstrip to eliminate air gaps prior to the cold Winter months.  Weatherstrip is extremely important to keep cold air off of the door components and to retain heat in your bay.  With the increasing heating costs, this step is extremely important and may save you a lot of money.
  6. Clean your doors! Especially if the doors were up for a long period of time.  Excess chemical and dirt and debris will most likely have been floating around in your bay and landed on your doors over time.  Bring your doors down and clean both inside and outside to remove all of the buildup.  Refer to your owner’s manual for proper cleaning instructions based on the type of product you have.

Remember that your door is a series of components working together to make your door function properly.  Regular cycling of your door is essential to maintaining peak performance.  Proper maintenance is critical year-round, but especially important prior to the busier winter season.  Call your door service provider or door manufacturer for assistance or questions on proper door maintenance.

Josh Hart is the president of Airlift Doors, Inc. 

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