AAW NewsTips & Tricks

Brrrrrr! Winter is Coming!

It is mid-August, our first snow in Colorado is just 60+ days away!  With WINTER on its way, now is the time to make sure your wash is ready to maximize the wash season.  With this change in weather comes a need to have your car wash doors and bay heaters or boilers running in tip top shape.

It is a fact that inoperable doors and heaters can create downtime and in turn cost you much needed revenue during the busiest time of year. Why not take advantage of the warmer weather and perform any needed maintenance now rather than wait until it affects your business the most.

We at AutoAuto Wash take pride in providing our customers with heavy duty, corrosion resistant products designed to last many years in a car wash environment. However, even these top of the line components need periodic, preventative maintenance to keep them operating at peak performance. Whether your door and opener system needs routine lubrication or replacement of any wear parts, a good preventative maintenance plan can mean a longer lifespan for your door and less downtime for your business.

Having doors that operate smoothly and reliably is the first step in making sure your wash is open when customers need it, no matter the weather.

Believe it or not, the door of your in-bay automatic can be a major factor in a customer’s decision to use your carwash. New trends and technology in the door industry can add to the value of your operation in a number of ways. The most important way is by keeping your door functional with regular preventative maintenance.


AutoAuto Wash has owned and operated several revenue share sites in the past.  In one particular location in Colorado we were required to open and close the doors with every wash due to noise abatement issues.  Every wash, 365 days a year those doors went up and down.  For 13 years.  At other sites in Oklahoma and New Mexico, the doors stay up all summer long.  Surprising to us, the doors that were open/closed with every wash had fewer issues than the doors that remained up and unused from April to October!  Moral of the story…if you do have your doors able to be integrated to a clock/timer, set the doors to go up and down at least once a day, say midnight.  Or, if not, simply open and close them every time you are there.  We believe the fact that the cylinders were utilized, the hinges were worked and the gearbox utilized actually kept the mechanics of the system lubed and functional.  Hard to believe, but true.

For most car care facilities, the overhead door is the front door of the business so it is extremely important that it properly opens and closes. Doors can also improve the appearance of a location. A door that is clean, damage-free, and without rust can be very inviting to your customers. Lastly, the correct door and opener package can improve the layout of your facility and help direct your customers to the proper areas of your facility.

Door Maintenance Steps Explained


Lubricate chain and piston rods with lithium grease. This is a very important step to ensure proper operation and to increase the life of the operator. These parts should be checked once a month and greased at least every three months. Lubricate all rollers and hinges with a spray type lube such as JB 80 Chain Lube. Depending on the type of system, you should also lubricate your counterweight pulleys or springs with the same type of lube. You should also perform this step once a month to ensure proper operation.

Internal Lubrication of Cylinders

Set the automatic oiler for one drop of oil for each up and down movement. Depending on amount of use, the oiler should be filled at least once a month. If your operator is not equipped with an automatic oiler, you must remove the airline from the cylinder with the extended piston rod. Add non-detergent oil directly into the airline so that 6″ of the airline is full of oil.  Reattach the airline to the cylinder. NOTE: Only disconnect the airline when the piston rod is fully extended. To lubricate the opposite cylinder, run the door in the opposite direction to extend the piston rod and repeat the process.

Grease Zerk Bearings

Grease all zerk bearings located on the shaftline with lithium grease. Perform this step once a month to ensure proper lubrication, and operation of the shaftline.

Cable Inspection

Perform a visual inspection of all door cables (and counterweight cables if applicable) to determine if any are frayed. If cables are frayed or show signs of deterioration, they should be replaced.

Wear Inspection

Perform a visual inspection of all moving parts including bearings, hinges, rollers, pulleys, drums, etc. to determine if any show signs of wear. If a part shows signs of wear it may need to be replaced.

Chain Tightening

The operator chain may become loose after time, and should be checked every month for proper tension. Tighten the chain by twisting the turnbuckle until there is minimal slack in the chain.

Breather Vents and Check Balls

Replace breather vents (Part # 22003) and check balls (Part # 22004) at least once a year.


Clean the polycarbonate sections of the door each month to prevent unsightly buildup of water spots, mold, and mildew. To clean, use a soft sponge or cloth, wash with warm water and a mild soap. Rinse with regular water and dry with a soft towel or cloth. Do not use ammonia or abrasive cloths as this may damage the section.

Air Compressor Preventative Maintenance

Drain your air compressor weekly to prevent corrosion of the tank. See your air compressor manual for proper drainage instructions.

One last thing… Performing maintenance on doors and heaters now ensures the parts are available to repair those items needing attention.  Wait until the first sign of winter stares you in the face and you may need a part that is on backorder because everyone else waited.

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