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A Look at Tunnel Car Wash Systems

Building a Tunnel Car Wash in Kansas City, MO

So you’ve decided that you want to open a car wash business. Now one of the first decisions you will need to make is what type of car wash you want to build? Generally speaking, there are three main types of car wash systems: tunnel car washes, automatic car washes, and self-serve. While there are benefits to each type of car wash system, we’ll dive into tunnel car wash systems today.


Tunnel Car Wash Benefits

A tunnel car wash is a great option for high volume washes. Not only do they work great for fleet services, such as a rental car operation or automotive dealership, but they also work great as a stand-alone business for public use.

A tunnel car wash works on a conveyor system. A conveyor belt pulls the vehicle through the tunnel where the various steps of the car wash are performed. All of the components of the car wash, from presoak to drying, are contained within the tunnel system. This greatly reduces the amount of staff needed or may actually enable customers to utilize your car wash 24/7 without the need for an attendant.

Depending on the length of the tunnel, you may be able to accommodate multiple cars at the same time, both decreasing wait-times and increasing the volume of cars able to be cleaned. More cars cleaned means more revenue for a commercial car wash!

NuLook Car Wash Systems partners with Istobal to offer a number of car wash systems to customize your car wash with equipment that is perfectly tailored to your needs. With the tunnel car wash systems Istobal offers you have the capability of outfitting one tunnel car wash bay that offers a touchfree car wash, a friction only wash, or a hybrid wash. Consumers are largely split as to their preference for a touchless car wash or one that utilizes brushes. This setup allows to you appeal to every consumer, regardless of their car wash preference.

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Car Wash Arches

With the wide variety of options in car wash arches you can customize the exact wash experience you want to give your customers. A few important points to consider when choosing your car wash arches for your tunnel wash are:

  • Be sure you are achieving a look that is cohesive. If the individual arches each have a very specific look to them it can give them customer an impression that you have cobbled them together.
  • Animated arches can initially give important instructions, such as; car in neutral, no brakes, windshield wipers off, etc. They can also give the customer piece of mind that they are getting what they paid for. Customers can be hesitant to purchase add-on, or additional, services because they aren’t sure they will actually receive them. Animated arches can provide visual cues as to what process or services are being applied to the automobile throughout the car wash
  • Animated arches can add to the visual element of the car wash. LED lights can be added to the arches and can include color changes, flashing, fading, spin, or chase. This light display can add a bit of entertainment for the customer during the car wash and also raises the level of sophistication of the car wash, which customers may be willing to pay a premium for.

Site Location for Tunnel Car Wash

The ideal size for a tunnel car wash is at least one acre. For a 125-foot conveyor you need at least 225 feet in one direction. If you intend to also have vacuum pads you need to account for space for them and don’t forget to ensure you have enough space for cars to line up as they are waiting to enter the tunnel and any turning radiuses needed for maneuvering within and out of your location. Even if you build the best tunnel car wash in town, if you don’t have ample space for cars to maneuver you’ll lose potential customers.

Because of the somewhat large space requirements, a tunnel car wash often works best as a stand-alone business. Of all the types of car wash operations a tunnel, or conveyor, car wash requires the largest amount of space.

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Cost of Building a Tunnel Car Wash

Because of the large lot size needed and the high amount of equipment necessary, a tunnel car wash can be one of the most expensive types of car washes to build/start up. But, with the ability to process a high volume of vehicles and customers willing to pay a premium for a higher level of car wash there is a great potential for a return on your investment. A benefit to a tunnel car wash system is that they don’t require much in the way of manual labor, which decreases the amount of employees needed. Fewer employees means lower overhead costs, which increases your return on investment.

In addition to the cost of the land necessary there is also the cost of the equipment to consider as well. The length and number of tunnels at your car wash will be a major determining factor on this point.

For more specific questions or cost projections contact a specialist at NuLook Car Wash Systems. They are experts in all aspects dealing with setup and maintenance a car wash and would love to answer any questions you might come across as you begin the steps to building and opening your new car wash.