Automotive technology can cause problems when a vehicle moves through a car wash. 
 -  Screenshot via CNET.

Automotive technology can cause problems when a vehicle moves through a car wash.

Screenshot via CNET.

Commercial vehicles need to be well maintained so that your drivers are always safe. It's important to know that all the advanced systems function appropriately. However, one visit to the car wash can wreak havoc because advanced systems weren't built with old-fashioned car washes in mind.

Experts offer the following tips to ensure that fleet vehicles make it through the car wash safely, and that important safety systems remain functional afterwards:

Fobs and Lockouts

Modern cars have keypads or little buttons on the door handles to lock them. All it takes is the pressure of a big, heavy brush going by to automatically lock them. Now, the keys are inside and the car is running. Suddenly, your locking system has become a safety hazard.

Collision Avoidance Systems

These systems were designed to help drivers avoid collisions with vehicles or objects in the roadway ahead. But at a car wash, if the technology is left on, the system detects heavy wet things, metal framework and even a sudsy vehicle a few feet away. It’s important to turn off this technology before entering the car wash.

Automatic Start-Stop Technology

The car is supposed to be put in neutral and always running. But at a car wash it needs to be put in gear and dragged out of the shoot. For a safer, smarter car wash, disengage this technology before your car enters the tunnel.

Cars That Don't Move in Neutral

People that work at car washes move cars around a lot. They don’t always use “drive” and the gas peddle. But modern cars don't necessarily want to budge. For example, it’s impossible to roll some cars forward with the door open — it will put a stake in the ground unless your seat belt is attached.

Taping Down Automatic Wipers

At a car wash, high-tech wipers sense moisture and that can put the wipers into motion. Now your wipers — a critical safety feature when on the road — are in a battle with several hundred pounds of machinery. They could easily get broken. The smart strategy is to use tape to keep the wipers from automatically turning on during a car wash.

About the author
Marianne Matthews

Marianne Matthews


Marianne Matthews contributes safety news and articles for the Fleet Safety newsletter. She is an experienced trade editor.

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