So, you’re in the market for an In bay automatic, and you have done a little research or perhaps you already have a favorable opinion in place whether or not you want to but in a friction machine or a touch free machine. But before you make a decision here are some other things to take into consideration.
Friction bays have had a bad wrap, literally, in the past. When talking to people over the years they used to be afraid of the large clunky cloth and it scratching the surface of the vehicle. While I think we have all heard a horror story about a friction machine, the bottom line is they clean cars. Friction will always be the cheapest and easiest way to clean a car and will do the best job on the most consistent basis. There has been a lot of technology that has gone into friction machines over the last 5 plus years and guess what, they are back. They typically profile the vehicle much better and are not beating on the surface of the vehicle like in the past. Additionally, most all of them now are made of neoprene which will not hold the dirt and water. The bad thing about a friction machine is you do have to worry more about claims, whether it actually has scratched the paint of a vehicle or tore off a mirror. Rest assure unless there is something wrong with your machine this will only happen in a small percentage of vehicles.
Touch-Free bays were the king of the 90’s and 2000’s when it comes to an IBA and there is no doubt that they got better and better. Little worry about claims and the general population didn’t worry about being hit or scratching the surface of the vehicle. These machines were faster and quite revolutionary for their time. The modern problem with touch free machines, isn’t so much about the machines but more so the environment and utilities. These machines are becoming harder and harder to clean with because all of the things that are being put on the roads to treat and pre-treat inclement weather. Additionally, these machines are power and water hogs making for a pretty pricey wash in comparison. That being said on a good note, these machines are getting faster and faster and are great for the bottom line. The question is are they as good for the customer.
Depending on what you are building or replacing there are a lot of factors taken into consideration. If I were building a two-bay site, I would put 1 of each no questions asked. It is nice to have the option as a customer whether you want the friction or touch free, however I bet on your slow days after some time you will be shocked at what the answer is. If I were building a single bay, I would put in a friction machine no doubt, I want to have the most consistent clean car for the best price which will make the friction the winner.
Let me know your thoughts on our forums, what do you see in your market?
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