Over the past few years, we’re aware of an increasing number of car-wash related issues with new vehicle technology. These issue fall into a few major categories:
- Transmissions that do not allow for vehicles to remain in neutral without the engine running.
- Vehicle sensors that engage the brakes when objects are near (e.g. “adaptive cruise control”).
- External door lock keypads that can be inadvertently engaged.
In a recent article, Autoweek Magazine did a good job of further explaining these problems, as did Fox News Detroit.
Some car wash customers may not even know about the presence of the above technologies in their vehicles. Acura has taken the approach of developing a “car wash mode” to better accommodate customer visits to car washes. Other manufacturers have created detailed handling instructions that may be unfamiliar to car owners (see: BMW - 2014 X5 sDrive35i Car Wash Recommendations).
Experiences and suggestions can be discussed in our vehicle incident reporting group on LinkedIn, and reports can be made through ICA’s vehicle incident reporting form. Also, a special working group of car wash operators has begun meeting to study these issues and what actions ICA, car wash operators and car wash manufacturers could take to address these problems. We expect more information to be made available as that work progresses.