Car Wash Operation Models & Your Options 

It’s no secret that the costs of vehicles are on the rise. A recent study from Consumer Reports confirms that people are holding on to their cars longer. This is good news for businesses, like car washes and quick lubes, that help consumers maintain their valuable investments.  

As demand grows, so do the options for car wash owners. Learning all the new technology can be overwhelming, but understanding the various operational models and selecting the right one is easier when you have the right partner.  Our team at Micrologic breaks it down for you right here!  

Express Exterior – Engineering, Efficiency, and Economics  

 The most popular of all options is the “express exterior car wash,” where sophisticated engineering quickly (average is 6 minutes!) washes the vehicle’s exterior while the customer enjoys the ride. 

Most express exterior washes have barrier gates to efficiently control the flow of traffic prior to the tunnel entrance. Customers are directed to either an unattended terminal or attendant booth to purchase a one-time wash or monthly wash plan. At the tunnel entrance, customers are guided on to the conveyor or belt while automated equipment washes the car. During the wash process, featured products or special services, such as wax and tire dressing are added.  Most express exterior washes have high-powered dryers at the tunnel exit.  

The customer exits the tunnel without ever leaving their car and proceeds to the self-service free vacuums, which have quickly become a customer-satisfaction must-have.  

In-Bay Automatic – Customer Control

This option is a favorite for owners who don’t want to manage a team of employees. The customer pulls onto the property and drives up to and unattended bay. The customer then chooses their wash package and once payment is processed, the customer is instructed to move forward and stop their vehicle. Once they are in the correct position, wash equipment is activated which travels forward and backwards around their vehicle to clean it. Once the wash is finished, the customer drives forward to exit the wash or stops for a quick vacuum using self-pay machines.  

Full-Service – Expert TLC  

Full-service car wash operations offer the customer the most comprehensive clean by leaving the details to the experts. Greeters or attendants recommend services and the customer proceeds to the lobby to pay and wait. The vehicle is vacuumed and moved by an employee to the wash and sent through the car wash. After the vehicle is washed, an employee drives the vehicle to an area for additional services, such as towel drying and window cleaning Once the vehicle is finished, the wash team alerts the customer to retrieve their car. 

Flex – Customer Choice 

A combination of express exterior and full-service, “flex” offers the customer a chance to pick choose the car wash services that meet their needs.  At the car wash entrance, customers have the choice to wash the exterior of their vehicle only or to add interior or detailing services. The order of the services varies depending on the site so the interior services may be performed before or after the vehicle has been washed in the tunnel.  

The Right Products for Your Operation

Understanding the different operational models is important to the success of your wash. Once determined, the next step is to partner with the right company to provide the management systems you need. 

Let the experts at Micrologic help you determine the operational model and car wash systems that suit you, your customers, and your budget.  

From Express Exterior, Flex Service, Full-Service and In-bay Automatics, Micrologic provides complete car wash system solutions tailored to meet your needs. 

Reach out to us today at to schedule a live demo or stop by our booth at an upcoming car wash show!   

You can join us at The Car Wash Show in Nashville, TN for an In-Person Demo between May 9-11, 2022 – Booth #1401!