A reputable car wash provider will always install proper car wash lights if they are serious about offering their customers a great service. The correct lighting solutions in the workplace make it a whole lot easier for auto detailers do their job well, especially if it is a hand car wash or if the customer requests intricate detailing procedures, such as paintwork correction.
Simply put, good lightning means increased visibility. A professional detailer is less likely to miss any dirty marks or spots if they can see exactly what they’re doing. A good, glare-free light source also makes it much easier to spot and correct car paint problems such as microscopic swirls and scratches. It is also worth checking if there are car wash lights on the outside of the building. If you are having your vehicle washed at night, a well-lit car wash looks and feels safer. Overall, paying close attention to the number and type of car wash lights at the car wash can make a difference when it comes to narrowing down the choice of provider.
Key Areas Where Car Wash Lights Are Important
To get a better understanding of car wash lights, it helps to know a little about the different types of lighting and their light output. Lumens are a way to measure brightness (light output). How many lumens do you need for interior car wash lights? As you would expect, it depends on the size of the car wash. The Illuminating Engineering Society offers suggestions for lighting output. As a rough guide, an average car wash bay needs 32,000 lumens. The more lumens in a car wash mean a brighter-lit space. For example, the light output of a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb is about 800 lumens. This is roughly equivalent to the output of a 10 LED watt light. Wattage refers to energy output. With these numbers in mind, take a look at some key areas where lighting is important at a car wash:
High Bay Lights for Car Wash Ceilings
Overhead lighting should suit the size and structure of the car wash. For example, high ceilings and a larger work space will require a greater light output to maximize visibility. Round or long high bay lights are often used in car washes with 20-40ft ceilings. Popular types include LEDs and T5 fluorescent tubes. This powerful lighting affixed to the ceiling efficiently illuminates the work area below. The lumen output depends on the power and design of the light. It varies according to the make and manufacturer of the specific tube/bulb/lamp. For example, eight T5 high bay lights can generate 40,000 lumens of light.
The key is to look for an even distribution of lights that provide bright and uniform lighting for the person who is washing or detailing your vehicle. Bear in mind that overhead lighting may result in shadowed areas on vehicle exteriors. Therefore, you may see supplementary lighting, either fixed or portable, to help overcome this problem.
Tubular Lighting for Lower Ceilings
Car wash lights for lower ceilings take the number of lumens required down a notch. High bay lighting can still be used but if the car wash ceiling is lower than 15ft the light source does not have to be so powerful. For example, T8 lights can substitute for T5s, because the lumen output of T8 high bay fluorescent lights is less. T8 lights vary in length. Typically, a 5ft fluorescent T8 tube (58W) has a lumen output of around 5200. There can be a number of tubes per light fitting to achieve the desired light output. Note, car wash owners often go for more energy-efficient, longer lasting LED tubes instead of fluorescents to keep costs lower. Alternatively, they may choose low-bay lighting, see below.
Low Bay Lighting for the Smaller Car Wash
A smaller car wash with a lower ceiling doesn’t need industrial high bay lights. Instead, low bay lights on ceilings under 20ft will effectively light up the detailing space. The lower lumen output is more than sufficient for the smaller car wash. Around 20,000 lumens will generate a good amount of light. However, professional detailers will often supplement low bay lighting with additional lighting when they need to clean the inside of your car. The same applies for close-up work on the car exterior.
Cordless LED Lights For Car Interiors
How about lighting up those awkwardly shaped or difficult to reach spaces? Cordless or handheld lights give auto detailers more control over light output and direction. Cordless LED car wash lights can produce a lot of lumens. A lightweight, compact design is great for car interior detailing when the light needs to be angled on door panels, footwells, carpets, and so on.
Under Hood Car Wash Lights
Engine cleaning becomes a challenge if the area is not visible enough. Once the detailer pops the hood, it reduces the effect of overhead lighting. LED work lights with 10,000 lumens and adjustable, telescopic tripod stands can be useful to cast a strong light into the engine area. Portable lamps that tilt vertically can be angled to direct the light to where the detailer needs it.
Handheld Inspection Lighting for Paint Defects
When detailers want to illuminate imperfections on paintwork and get rid of swirls on a car, a smaller handheld light comes in very useful. Depending on the make and model, some lights are designed with 5 different color temperatures and dimmer functions to adjust the light color and intensity to suit the job. Lumen output can range from 800 to 8000.
Automated Car Wash Color Lighting Effects
Will colorful car wash lights be the deciding factor for you? Automated car washes don’t need to rely on the brightest light solutions. Soft cloths, bristles, or a touchless car wash will clean your car from the moment you select your preferred wash program regardless of lumen output. However, you might enjoy a bold and fashionable car wash experience. Colored LED lighting can draw your attention to a car wash. If you like the thought of a different color during the various stages in the wash cycle, such as illuminated foam or a bright blue rinse, look out for a multi-color car wash near you.
However, if your car is being finished by hand after a drive-through service, make sure there is a good work area/site light in place with at least 950 lumen output. This will ensure nothing is missed to guarantee a brilliant car wax and polish, streak-free windows and an overall pristine finish.
If you take your car for a wash at night, pay attention to the exterior of a 24 hour car wash. Is it well-lit from the outside? Good lighting creates a safer environment for customers while they wait. LED canopy lights in “daylight white” colors are bright and welcoming at outdoor locations. Flat, linear high-bay lighting also works well outdoors with light output ranging from 12,000 to 40,000 lumens depending on the size and style of the light.
High-quality car wash lights help professional auto detailers produce a better standard of work. Maximizing visibility helps to aid detailing techniques. Good lighting design also keeps the workplace safe for employees and customers. The distance and positioning of the lights are important, too. Portable lighting solutions can be angled to suit interior detailing or engine cleaning. You don’t need to be an expert in lumens or LEDs to make a judgement call when it comes to choosing a provider. However, it is important to take a good look and recognize when a car wash is properly lit and whether specialist lighting is in use for close-up work.
If you want to have your car professionally detailed, schedule an appointment with DetailXPerts. We understand that effective car wash lights are necessary in order to maintain our high quality work, whether we are steam cleaning or paint polishing.
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