Mobile car washes can be a lucrative business and provide customers with the convenience of getting their cars washed by professionals at home or work. There are several pieces of equipment and dozens of supplies required to build a mobile car wash. This equipment can be mounted in the rear of a regular pickup truck. Many mobile car washes employ a trailer set-up. That way your pickup truck or van can be disconnected from the "business" at any time.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Water tank with hose
- Soap tank with hose
- Pressure washer, gas-driven with pressure hose (approx. 100 feet long)
- 4 to12 three-inch bolts with nuts attached
- Crescent wrench
- Towels, rags, brushes, soap, wax, vacuums, rug shampooer, tire dressing
Mount a water tank to a trailer or pickup bed. Water tanks come in different sizes. A 225-gallon tank will usually suffice for this purpose.Two straps should be wrapped around the circumference of the water tank. The ends of each strap contain two bolt holes which should be bolted to the platform. Tighten four 3-inch bolts into each bolt hole with a crescent wrench. The water tank can be filled with fresh water from any water source.
Set a soap tank next to the water tank. A soap tank can range in volume, but a 35-gallon tank will often suffice. The soap tank can be mounted like the water tank, and will have its own straps. You can connect a separate hose and nozzle to the soap tank for soap dispersal, or connect the soap tank to the pressure washer. Not all pressure washers are designed for soap intake.
Mount a gas-driven pressure washer with at least 3500 to 4000 PSI to the platform. The pressure washer engine should provide 13 horsepower or higher. Use a pressure washer with a positive-feed generator. A positive-feed generator is responsible for producing all pressure, therefore it doesn't require any pressure build up from the water source.
Connect a hose from the water tank to the pressure washer. The pressure washer will have two hose connections for water: the traditional water hose connection that sucks water in, and the "Quick" connect that pushes pressurised water out. Connect the hose from the water tank into the traditional water hose connection inlet.
Connect additional hose for spraying customers' vehicles to the Quick connection outlet on the pressure washer.
Connect a pressure nozzle to the loose end of the hose screwed into the pressure washer's Quick connection. The nozzle controls the width of water disbursal. For example, a 25-degree nozzle has a wider disbursal range than a 10-degree nozzle.
Purchase a Wet/Dry shop vacuum and high-powered carpet extractor or spotter. These will help to clean interiors and carpets. Vacuums don't typically come with mounting equipment, so you will have to just tie them down or set them in a place where they are secure.
Place a container on the mobile platform or in the back of your vehicle for additional supplies such as brushes, rags, dry towels, tire dressing, glass cleaner, upholstery cleaner, paper floor mats and deodorisers or spray scents.
Tips and warnings
- You can avoid buying the water or soap tanks. The pressure washer can connect to any water source on location with just a hose. You can manually pour soap on the vehicle rather than using a soap tank. You can also have two water tanks, instead of one water tank and one soap tank. One water tank will have a water and soap mix, the other will be filled with clean water. Instead of tanks, consider using large plastic barrels to save money.
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