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What to Look for in a Commercial Car Wash Dryer System

What should you look for in a commercial car wash dryer system? Here are five key considerations for choosing the right dryer system for your car wash.

A quality car wash dryer system is key to ensuring that your customers’ vehicles come out looking their best. But with so many options on the market, it can be confusing to determine which system is best for you. Here we will discuss the key elements to look for when selecting a commercial car wash dryer system.

Types of Commercial Car Wash Dryer Systems

When it comes to picking out a car wash dryer system, the first thing you need to decide is the type of system you want. There are two types to choose from: onboard dryers and stand-alone dryers.

Onboard Dryers

Onboard dryers feature a series of nozzles that are attached to an arch and dry off a car as it exits the tunnel at the end of the wash cycle. Some onboard dryers may include adjustable nozzles that can be used to direct air to specific sections of the car. These dryers work in tandem with the car wash system to quickly and efficiently dry vehicles after they have been washed.

Onboard dryers use high-velocity air to draw moisture from the vehicle and its surrounding areas, ensuring a complete, spotless dry.

You can typically set a time limit for how long these dryers will run per cycle and even display a timer to show customers how long they have to dry their vehicle.

Stand-Alone Dryers

Stand-alone dryers — also known as free-standing dryers — are set up away from the washing equipment so another car can begin the wash cycle while the previous car finishes up. 

These dryers feature powerful fans and multiple nozzles that emit hot, fast-drying air, quickly drying the car surface. They also remove any leftover water droplets and dirt particles, giving a car a streak-free finish.

Key Considerations When Choosing Commercial Car Wash Drying Systems

Once you’ve decided whether you want a fixed or free-standing dryer solution, there are five key factors to consider to make the best choice for your business.

1. Dryer Type

There are several types of professional car wash dryers to choose from:

  • High-velocity (HV) air dryer: a powerful air blower that blasts air at high speeds to quickly evaporate water droplets on the exterior of a car at the end of a wash cycle 
  • Towel system: a large air drying system with several towel car wash blowers that uses air pressure to release towels of different sizes and textures — the towels move over the car’s exterior surface, drying it and absorbing excess water
  • Blower system: draws air into the system, heats it, and forces the hot air through a series of nozzles out onto the vehicle to remove moisture, creating a streak-free finish
  • Foam-covered cloth system: uses an air mover to blow warm, preheated air through strategically placed foam-covered cloths, which help lift and contain water as the air passes through
  • Blow-off system: blasts high-pressure air to blow off and dry the vehicle surface — typically mounted at the end of the car wash tunnel
  • Closed-loop system: an automated system that uses two separate motors to move cloth pads in a circular motion, providing full 360-degree airflow around the vehicle — the airflow collects and removes water, dirt, and debris left behind from the car wash, draining it all into a separate collection bin
  • Soft cloth system: a specialized type of car wash dryer that typically features soft cloths attached to a series of rotating arms that lift and lower around the car as it passes through the dryer, absorbing excess water and polishing the vehicle’s paintwork in the process

2. Fan Style

The fan style is another important consideration when choosing a dryer system. There are two types to choose from: centrifugal and axial.

Centrifugal car wash dryer fans are exhaust devices that move air in an axisymmetric pattern. They are powered by an electric motor that forces air to move in a circular motion, creating centrifugal force. The fans’ centrifugal force increases the speed of the air and helps the car dry more quickly and effectively.

Axial car wash dryer fans use an electric motor to spin multiple blades, creating a flow of air parallel to the shaft, or axis, of the fan. They can move large volumes of air at relatively low levels of pressure, making them much more efficient than centrifugal fans. However, they are also typically more expensive due to their efficient and powerful design.

3. Fan Speed

Next, you should consider the fan speed. A longer tunnel may require more horsepower for satisfactory drying. For example, you may need a 75- to 90-horsepower centrifugal fan, or you may need a 40-horsepower axial fan for a 100-foot tunnel. 

When the fan speed is not correctly set, the drying time will be longer, or the vehicle will not dry completely. This can lead to several issues, such as:

  • Decreased energy efficiency and performance
  • Increased power consumption
  • Increased operating costs
  • Customer dissatisfaction
  • Accelerated corrosion

4. Cost

Dryer systems can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $25,000, depending on the system, its performance, and its energy consumption. So you should always consider the purchasing cost and operating costs to ensure you get a good return on your investment.

5. Energy Efficiency

Car wash dryer systems can be energy-intensive and costly to run. Therefore, energy efficiency is vital to keeping your overhead costs as low as possible. 

By using more efficient drying components, you can reduce your energy consumption, operating costs, maintenance frequency, and emissions — all while providing perfectly dried cars to your customers.

Invest in a Powerful Car Wash Dryer System for Your Car Wash Business

A commercial car wash dryer system is an incredibly important part of a successful car wash. So it’s important to consider different technical specifications, as each system has its own unique combination of features and benefits. The right system will fit the size and scope of your operation and ensure that your customers get an exceptional car wash experience every time they visit.

Are you in the market for a car wash dryer system for your car wash business? National Carwash Solutions (NCS) has the perfect solution for you. As the leading end-to-end provider of car wash equipment in North America, our professional team can equip you with the powerful dryer system you need to meet your business goals. Contact us today to see how our tailored solutions can benefit you.

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