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Typical self service facility

Types of Car Washes


Self Service



Self Service washes cater to consumers who like to wash their own vehicles.  They typically offer a variety of services from the high pressure gun such as soap, rinse, and wax.  Low pressure services such as presoak, tire cleaner and bug remover offer the ability to clean a wide variety of soils and surfaces.


The self service wash is the simplest to operate in terms of maintenance.  Most stand alone self service facilities have no attendant, and are cleaned once or twice daily by the owner or part time attendant.


The self service wash is the lowest cost to build and is ideal for markets with oversize vehicles and rural markets.

Automatic car washes or 'rollover' machines allow consumers to have a machine wash their vehicle.  Automatic washes come in a wide variety from simple machines with a few functions to premium machines that do everything.


A facility can have a stand alone automatic(s) or combine them with self service and tunnel facilities.  They do require more maintenance than self service operations, and at busier locations will typically be attended during the work day.


Automatic washes are more capital intensive, but can bring higher returns.  They offer ease of use and convenience to the customer.  Automatic washes can fit on almost any size piece of land and can be profitable in a variety of demographics.


Conveyorized Tunnel washes come in a variety of flavors including Express, Express Exterior, Flex Serve and Full Serve.


Tunnels allow a higher throughput of vehicles compared to self service and automatic facilities.  More services can also be made available from additional equipment.


Of all the different types of washes, tunnels are the most capital-intensive to build and the most work to operate.  That said, they can also be the most profitable if located correctly and managed optimally.


Tunnels can be built in a variety of sizes from 45 feet to 300 feet long depending on the capacity.




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