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Do you know what the difference is between a rollover and a tunnel?

By 5 October, 20184CARLOVERS
wash tunnel

An easy question for car wash experts but not all users are so knowledgeable. Today’s feature for CarLovers is about major differences between a rollover and a tunnel.

There are two main automatic car wash systems: rollovers and tunnels. The most important difference is their layout and their machine-vehicle interaction.


Rollovers are one of the most widespread automatic systems in the world. They are compact machines equipped with different washing and drying systems such as brushes, water jets, wheel-wash, application of products like shampoos, foams or waxes, dryers, etc. Users drive their vehicle into the wash bay, turn the engine off, engage the handbrake, and the machine moves back and forth in a number of passes based on the program selected until the vehicle is totally washed and dried. They are very versatile machines and their compact nature ensures wash effectiveness over a minimum surface area.

Wash tunnels

In wash tunnels, the car is moved by a conveyor all along the bay, where washing and drying systems are longitudinally installed instead of being built into the unit. Tunnels can cater for a great many car care arches and modules: wheel-wash, additional brushes, polishing arch, massage module, rain-effect rinse, textile dryer… among many others. Tunnels can be over 30 meters long and wash more than one car at a time, so you will find them at high-throughput facilities. Standing out for their speed and performance, they are not commonly installed in self-service car wash areas; in other words, these systems tend to be staffed by car wash specialists.

And what do they have in common? Both of them are automatic, which means a machine runs a wash program either by friction with brushes or by the action of pressurized water without brushes. User interaction with the wash process is reduced on automatic car wash machines compared to a jet wash system or a self-service system, a method commonly known by all of us in which the user washes his/her vehicle with a gun or a lance with pressurized water and different cleaning products.

They also share an environmentally-friendly approach. Automatic car wash systems, as well as jet wash ones, use a lot less water compared to washing your car at home using a hose, which -by the way- is forbidden in many countries. Water recycling and water treatment systems do not only reuse 80% of water but also eliminate oils and waste generated by the wash process before they are disposed of into public waterways.

Whether you choose a rollover or a tunnel, or if you decide to wash your car with the jet wash gun, it is all so very convenient, isn’t it? Next time you go to your local trustworthy car wash, pay attention to which ISTOBAL machine will give your car that radiant look.