How do car wash rollers work?

Understanding how car wash rollers work can help you use an automatic car wash without risking damage to your car.

How do car wash rollers work?

Remember the first time you were in a car that went through an automatic car wash? It probably seemed loud and strange to feel the car moving forward on its own with water jets and brushes descending from all angles. Now an automated car wash feels a lot more familiar, but have you ever wondered how your car is moved through a car wash tunnel? Here’s a brief explanation on how car wash rollers work.

A precision machine

Automatic car washes are actually fairly precise machines. While most of the jets and rotating brushes seem haphazard, the fact is that your car is being guided through the car wash tunnel in a defined interval to optimize the cleaning process.

Down the rails

As you approach the car wash, you’ve probably been directed by an attendant to slowly inch forward into the rails that hold the wheels in the conveyer. Once properly aligned, you are told to not steer the car, so that the conveyer can do the work of moving your car through the tunnel. This is where the rollers come in.

Rolling along

The reason your car edges forward into the rotating brushes and air vents of the tunnel is because rollers have raised behind your wheels and are gently bumping you forward. These rollers work in concert with the rest of the machinery to ensure your car is guided into the proper cleaning devices at the correct time and speed. Without the rollers, you would be expected to edge your car forward yourself, leading to countless problems and accidents.

Keep your distance

If you’ve ever wondered why another car does not suddenly rear-end you in the car wash, it’s because of the rollers. By being correctly spaced along the conveyer, the rollers are able to keep each car at a safe distance from one another, and move each through the cleaning process effectively.

The big roll out

While the magic of car washes may have faded as you aged, that doesn’t mean you can’t be curious about what’s happening below your car. By getting a brief explanation on how car wash rollers work, you’ll hopefully have a better sense of how the car wash machinery keeps your car moving forward in time with the rest of the waterworks. Plus, you’ll be more likely to follow the attendant’s instructions to avoid doing anything that could risk damaging the car wash’s machinery, or your vehicle.

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