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Sales Opportunity: Car Wash Industry

We’ve all been through an automatic car wash at some point in our lives. We sit patiently inside the car while it sprays soap, scrubs, blasts and rinses the car right before our eyes. But have you ever take a moment to think about how the system works and how large the car wash industry actually is?

There are more than 150,000 retail car wash locations around the world, according to the International Carwash Association. The US car wash industry includes about 14,000 companies with a combined annual revenue of about $6 billion. There are some pressing issues confronting the global car wash industry including environmental concerns, water and gas prices. The profitability of car wash locations depends heavily on favorable location and efficient operation.

How it Works

The conveyor car wash systems allow the driver to remain inside the vehicle while the car moves through the different stages of the wash cycle. For us, the important part to understand about conveyor car washes, is the use of flow meters for the mixing and regulation of soap and flow switches for regulating water.

After driving in, the car is sprayed with water powered by a massive pressure washer to wet it down and
remove loose dirt, followed by a spray of soapy solution on the car’s sides and top. Flow meters are commonly used to measure flows of water in car wash systems. The spot free rinse uses filtered water. This water has the minerals and ions removed so it doesn’t cause water spots. This is where bigger flow switches are used to regulate the water that is flowing through the pump. Water comes out spot free and ready to be used for washing, ultimately conserving water.

Water conservation can be promoted by encouraging the use of reclaim and by educating owner/operators to the savings that can be obtained through adjustment and maintenance of equipment, such as economical and dependent flow meters and monitors.

ChemTec Featured Products 

MAO Series Flow MeterMAO Series


  • No bearings
  • Single moving part
  • In-line metering
  • No rotating internals
  • Measures low flows
  • All PVC wetted parts available

LCA Series Adjustable Flow Monitor

Features:ChemTec-LCA-Series1-400x400 (1)

  • Adjustable
  • Confirms normal flow conditions
  • Senses high or low flow conditions
  • Switch contact output
  • Economical
  • Best for loss of flow detection

Related Industry Articles

Water Use in the Professional Car Wash Industry

The International Carwash Association has dedicated much of its effort to evaluating the impact of our industry on the environment. To better educate individuals on the influence of professional car washing, we have conducted a series of studies as part of our strategic plan to provide industry leadership. READ MORE.

United States Car Washes Get Increased Media Attention

The International Carwash Association’s position is that every business should be compliant with labor and safety rules. We have regularly provided education and resources on this topic. Unfortunately, in nearly every instance, the violation cited in the media or by worker rights organizations have occurred at businesses that are not “professional.” READ MORE.

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