Auto Laundry News - February 2011

Industry Newsline


Ryko Manufacturing ( has announced changes aimed at positioning the company for long-term growth and success within the car wash market. Trivest Partners, a private investment firm focused on partnering with founder- and family-owned businesses in the United States and Canada, has made a substantial investment in, and now owns, the Ryko brand, as well as the assets and operations of the company. Consistent with its longstanding strategy, Trivest acquired the business from Ryko’s founder, Jim Nelson.

Ryko’s management team will continue to lead the day-to-day operations of the company, which was founded in 1973 and operates from its headquarters in Grimes, IA. Tom Carleton, Ryko’s chief executive officer stated, “We strongly believe that the company will benefit not only from the capital that Trivest has invested into our business, but also from the strategic knowledge that Trivest has gained over its 29-year history. Trivest’s knowledge of our manufacturing and service business model was a key differentiator. This new investment is a reflection of our commitment to grow our long-term market position, technology, and service offering.”

Since its founding in 1981, Trivest has completed more than 150 transactions totaling more than $4.5 billion in value. For additional information, visit


PDQ Manufacturing Inc., ( has announced a marketing and distribution agreement with Autoequip Lavaggi S.p.A. ( of Vesime, Italy, a designer and builder of automobile and industrial vehicle-washing systems since 1963.

The agreement allows Autoequip Lavaggi to market, distribute, and service the complete family of PDQ touch-free cleaning systems in the Italian market. Autoequip Lavaggi will also lend support to other distributors of the PDQ LaserJet product throughout Europe as a way to increase its quality of service and capabilities on the Continent.

Autoequip manufactures advanced friction car wash equipment and this agreement complements its product range by adding touchless systems to its rollovers, conveyors, and self-serve jet-wash systems. PDQ will benefit from Autoequip’s established service and sales network in Italy where it has been based since 1963.


Bud Abraham, president of Portland, OR-based DETAIL PLUS Car Appearance Systems (www.detailplus .com), a supplier in the auto detail industry, recently announced a distributorship agreement with Farrell Polishing Products Co., manufacturers of the revolutionary BUFF PRO Drum Polisher.

“This is one of the most creative and innovative tools introduced to the detail industry in the past 10 years and could revolutionize how paint finishes are reconditioned,” indicated Abraham. The BUFF PRO eliminates the number one problem of rotary buffers — swirls and holograms — while providing major correction to the paint finish.

There is a variety of cutting and finishing pads available with the system, including a soft wool and foam for both polishing and finishing.

The BUFF PRO has a list price of $399 and the special “drum” pads are available at $39.95 for wool and $29.95 for foam.


The Car Wash Operators of New Jersey (CWONJ) boarded the Spirit Cruise Line in Weehawken, NJ on December 7 for a dinner event on the Hudson River. The three-hour event included an extensive buffet dinner, a singing wait staff, dj, dancing, and a picturesque view of the Manhattan skyline. “This event is a lot of fun and a great way to kick off the holidays,” said CWONJ president, Gerry Barton. “You couldn’t ask for a better venue.”

The Spirit Cruise Line features three climate-controlled interior levels and plenty of deck space to take in the panoramic views of the New York skyline, including the Empire State Building.

The association’s next event is its February 1 General Membership Meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Clark. The meeting will include a speaker on OSHA regulations and compliance and a guest car wash operator from out of state.

Visit for more information.


The 2011 Car Wash Appraisal Handbook and Buyer’s Guide is now in print. The appraisal sections tell the reader exactly how to determine the fair market value of any self-serve (with or without automatics) and it now offers rare insight into when paying a premium is a reasonable consideration. This is a “must read” for potential buyers, sellers, appraisers, and tax assessors.

The buyer’s guide sections give specific details of how to get the real estate taxes lowered on many self-serves and it explains why so many are unfairly taxed. In addition, there is a chapter of over 10 pages on the selection of “rehab” candidates and how to rehab them. Properly done, they have repeatedly proven to be very profitable for the author. An actual case study is included.

In the back of the book there’s a listing of 30 self-service car wash technical bulletins. Purchase the handbook before March 1, 2011 and select any three of the bulletins for free, or buy all 30 at half price. Order online at or send a check for $29.97 + $5.00 S & H to Crowe Enterprises, 600 W 70th Street, Kansas City, MO 64113-2025. Bulletins/Handbook are shipped the next business day by Priority Mail.


Equipment manufacturer Tommy’s Car Wash Systems and, the online car wash video magazine, has announced a contest for the best homemade video about a car wash idea. Contestants will submit a user-generated video showcasing their idea and the video with the most votes will win a trip to Las Vegas for Car Care World Expo 2011.

According to the web page announcing the contest on, “The car wash industry has been built by owners and operators that invented, engineered, and tinkered. Most of the industry’s best innovations came not from the R&D labs of equipment companies, but from operators determined to solve a problem. To celebrate that history of innovation, Tommy’s and is searching for the world’s best car wash idea.”

Car wash operators will be able to submit a simple homemade video about an idea that they have implemented at their car wash. It can be a brand-new idea or an evolution of an existing idea. Visitors to will then be able to vote on all of the videos. The video with the highest average rating on March 1, 2011 will receive a trip to Las Vegas courtesy of Tommy’s Car Wash Systems and All of the contest rules can be found at as well as the contest videos.


3M has launched its first-ever service center at Pep Boys. Featured services of the “store-within-a-store” will include application of 3M™ Window Films and Scotchgard™ Paint Protection Film, automotive detailing, Scotchgard Vehicle Protection services, 3M professional headlight restoration, paintless dent removal, and more. Additional services will be introduced throughout 2011.

The “3M Car Care Center at Pep Boys” will open two pilot locations in Southern California by early 2011. Expansion will be considered based upon the success of the first locations.


Janesville, WI-based Lanair Holdings LLC ( has announced the acquisition of Clean Burn Inc. (, the Lancaster, PA-based manufacturer of waste-oil furnaces and boilers.

Lanair Holdings, which special-izes in EPA-approved and UL-listed waste-oil heaters that reduce energy costs and help the environment, will maintain the Clean Burn distribution network. The company will also continue to sell the Lanair brand of heaters factory-direct to end-users. Clean Burn will be operated as Clean Burn LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lanair Holdings LLC.


National Public Radio interviewed Kevin Leung, owner of Magic Rabbit Car Wash, Detail & Lube near Denver, CO, for a segment on the economy that was broadcast on November 8, 2010.

Leung told NPR that higher oil and gas prices were damaging the bottom line at his two gas station/car washes. He explained that winter was normally a time when he could make some money, because gas prices typically go down after the summer driving season, allowing him to lower his retail prices a little more slowly than the wholesale price. That provided a few extra cents of profit per gallon. Prices were rising at the beginning of this winter, however, denying Leung those extra few cents.

Higher gas prices also mean less disposable income for services like a car wash, Leung added.


Registration is now open for the inaugural AutoPilot Training Program presented through CarWash College at their Tamarac, FL classroom facility February 21-24, 2011. To ensure that participants will gain hands-on, personalized attention, the program is limited to 14 participants.

Course content will cover:

Day 1: POS and back office software overview and lab
Day 2: Marketing & promotions, reporting, cash management, credit card processing & troubleshooting, MobilePilot, lab
Day 3: DRB interface kit, introduction to WashPilot & Tunnel Tab, and HTK
Day 4: (not a full day) HTK & RFID

Full registration for the four-day program is $650 with partial registration for individual modules available at $175/day. Class times are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about AutoPilot training through CarWash College visit

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