Red Carpet open again with latest in technology

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 23, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Even a car wash has to clean up sometimes.

The Red Carpet Car Wash was once a labor-intensive operation in which workers would come out after the wash and dry off the car and touch it up. It was only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and lost a lot of business from people who drove by because it wasn’t open.

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&8220;So I ask myself, what if there’s a way to be open 24-7?&8221; said owner Curtis Smith. &8220;I went and got educated, and it was fun to learn what equipment is out there.&8221;

There was plenty of new equipment, and after a serious investment and weeks of downtime, the

Red Carpet is now open again. Instead of being a touchless car wash, in which no cloth ever touches the car, it now uses a special material called Lammscloth, which is as soft as hair. In fact, says Smith, it is softer than sprayed water and is easier on paint jobs.

Now the Red Carpet will be open 24 hours a day, every day, and instead of people coming out to hand-dry the car after it’s clean, two very large dryers have been put in. The track is 10 feet longer than it was before the renovations, and it has been straightened at the end to make it easier for drivers. Now a computer will measure the car and use sensors to tell how much soap and other chemicals to use and when to stop; in the past that process used magnetic sensors, which were less accurate.

Even paying for the car wash is automatic.

One of the features Smith is proud of is the reverse osmosis process the water goes through before it is used on the cars. The process removes all the chlorine from the water and helps prevent white residue from water droplets

after the wash is finished.

A new boiler is more efficient and less costly to operate. An old smokestack was removed from the ceiling, helping keep heat in.

The three different colors of soapsuds that get plopped onto the car before it hits the Lammscloth all do different things. One is a lifter, one is a cleaner and one is another type of polish. A chemical that helps break up dirt goes on 15 feet before the wax coating does, so that it has time to do its work. The rotating Lammscloth scrubbers turn so slowly and gently a person can stand right next to them when they’re dry. Washing includes an underbody flush, which can help prevent rust damage in the winter, and a rust inhibitor.

During the rinse, a car goes through four separate arches: a rain rinse, a seal coat, a spot-free rinse and a drying agent. After the rinses, the car goes through the two new dryers, which leave very little water behind.

The most visible new addition to the Red Carpet, at least from the outside, is the 30-foot electronic sign advertising special deals on Red Carpet detailing, an important part of Red Carpet’s business.