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Preventative Maintenance

Equipment maintenance is almost always brought up as a top concern for car wash business owners and operators. While strong performing equipment can help increase car throughput and enhance results, poor performing equipment can slow down and even shut down production.

One of the last things we want is equipment failure. Equipment failure can come in many forms and happen on just about any piece of equipment if not properly cared for. Some of these failures can shut your carwash down at the most inopportune times. Thus preventative maintenance is the key to doing our best to ensure these failures do not happen.

Any equipment that can cease overall operations needs the most attention when it comes to maintenance. Not only will it keep your carwash open during peak times, but it will also set the tone for what customers come to expect. The reason a customer comes back to a business is because they liked what happened last time, so we want to continue to set these high standards for our customers.

In order for your customers to get the same experience every time you have to avoid shutdowns. A shutdown at your car wash in turn will shutdown profits. Car wash owners and operators must take time to implement an effective maintenance program to safeguard their facilities from profit-hindering downtime and ensure prolific operations.

Creating a system of checks and services will keep equipment working like new for years to come for any business. Furthermore, car washes should start their maintenance program as soon as the equipment is purchased and installed. When the equipment is new, or you’re doing a good job of maintaining it you don’t see any problems and you tend to forget about it. The key is to never stop with maintenance. Once the maintenance stops it’s only a matter of time before the problems start.

Another key parameter for preventative maintenance is having an all inclusive Team effort towards maintenance. Once you have an effective maintenance program established you want to have all team members involved in the process to create a work environment where everyone is responsible. As an owner or manager, your biggest challenge is often keeping your team on course with the required checks and maintenance. So it’s not solely about having a system in place but also ensuring there is follow through and the required checks are done and consequences when they aren’t. Let’s face it maintenance is not particularly flashy or exciting but by continuing to motivate and praise employees when they successfully perform necessary maintenance tasks provides them with added intrinsic motivation. Be sure to tell your team what a good job they are doing when you do not have any breakdowns or maintenance issues.

The result of an effective maintenance program means more uptime. Establishing a team-driven maintenance program is not the only consideration car wash owners and operators must keep in mind regarding their wash equipment. Today factors such as current drought conditions and a more on-the-go customer base are driving more and more cars to commercial car washes. This influx in business can take a toll on the wash equipment. Manufacturers are looking for innovative ways to make wash equipment last longer and many are also working toward producing products that can extend the time between service intervals, thus creating more uptime for car washes. Uptime is one consideration that should weigh heavily when deciding to purchase new equipment. Loss of sales from downtime associated with poor maintenance or under-performing equipment could be avoided by installing long-lasting equipment geared toward optimizing uptime.

In addition, you should evaluate the availability of parts for the equipment you plan to purchase. This can play a big role in the ongoing cost to maintain the equipment. After all, malfunctions and failures can cost car wash owners and operators hundreds and even thousands of dollars, to repair and/or replace the equipment.

Lastly keep an eye on the small things. Even a small problem like a loose nut could cause the shutdown of operations for the day, costing you thousands of dollars and that’s the last thing we want. “Prevention is better than the cure”

Here are some tips for creating a successful maintenance program:

Maintenance tips

  • Identify the pieces of equipment that need to be maintained and determine their average lifespan. Design your schedule of maintenance around this time frame.
  • Be sure all employees tasked with maintenance duties have access to the manuals applicable to each specific piece of equipment.
  • When performing maintenance on some of the more common items (i.e. swivels, nozzles, hoses, etc.), it is often a good idea to replace them all simultaneously.
  • Keep your maintenance log in a convenient and easily accessible location. Something as easy as a composition book hanging on each piece of equipment will work.
  • Categorize items by daily, monthly and annual service checks. This will create an easy-to-follow schedule of maintenance for all equipment.
  • Have a list of the items you order most and have the ordering list handy with part numbers when you place orders.
  • Be prepared for emergencies before they arise. This means stock up on spares by having an extra one on the shelf. By adding one or two items to each of your orders, you can build an inventory of the most critical items that cost you when you are down. When the spare is used, get a back up for the shelf on your next order.
Contact our friendly staff at Prowash if you require any maintenance tips


© Prowash Australia
Author: Liz Reisman
Date Published: 1 December 2015