• Hydro-Chem Systems

Pros & Cons: Automated Drive Thru Truck Wash Vs Gantry Style Wash

Gantry Style Wash


  • A gantry-style wash takes up limited space due to its compact size.

  • It does a decent job at cleaning a tractor and van trailer.

  • It will always wash at the same speed, versus the variable rate of pressure washing.

  • It will give you a consistent wash.


  • Gantry washes have nearly 10 times the maintenance costs due to all of the moving parts that are required to operate it.

  • It takes approximately 10 min. for a driver to complete an entire wash.

  • There are a limited number of trucks and trailers you can wash per day.

  • There may be additional detailing time if the initial wash did not clean irregular surfaces

  • Drivers sacrifice valuable road time waiting to use the wash and waiting for a wash to complete.

  • Irregularly shaped trucks, such as vacuum and garbage trucks, are practically impossible to clean with a gantry wash.

  • Non-typical trailers such as tankers, ribbed sided, or flatbed trailers will never be fully cleaned without using manual labor and a pressure washer. This is the reason pressure washers are sold with all gantry systems.

  • Brushes typically create micro-abrasions on a vehicle’s surface.  This dulls paint surfaces more quickly and speeds up the deterioration of any decals on a vehicle.

  • There is a liability risk when the driver must exit and enter the vehicle within the inherently wet and slippery wash bay to activate the wash.

Drive Thru Wash


  • A Drive Thru wash has minimal maintenance costs.

  • An HCS Drive thru system is designed to have the smallest number of moving parts possible.

  • We do not support our business by doing service, but by word of mouth about how reliable our systems are.

  • It takes approximately 2 ½ min. to completely wash a 70’ tractor trailer. You can wash many vehicles in a single day

  • Drivers won’t be sacrificing their road time waiting in line to get their vehicle washed

  • Waits for a drive thru wash are rare due to their inherent efficiency.

  • All types of trucks and trailers get a complete clean from top to bottom without the need for brushes.A Drive Thru wash has less liability risk

  • A drive thru is safer for the driver because they aren’t walking along a soapy and wet surface to walk to a lobby. The drivers never need to exit their vehicles while in the wash bay.

  • Drivers move through the wash at approximately 1 foot per second (Creeper gear). There are also guide rails to prevent the driver from steering their vehicle into the wash gear.

  • Drivers are guided through the wash using our Smart Driver Pace Light System.  This utilizes High Intensity LED lights to ensure they are moving at the proper speed.  Most drivers are using a wash to get their truck and trailers clean and will move at the proper speed to ensure this happens.

  • They can be installed in most buildings that a Gantry style wash has been installed.

  • Approximately 30% of our new business comes from company’s swapping out their Gantry wash and replacing it with a drive thru.  We are able to utilize the same building their previous wash was in.

  • A drive thru truck wash can be 100% customized to address the fleet owner’s needs.


  • The quality of the wash can be affected by drivers who drive too fast through the wash.

  • However, drivers typically want their truck clean and will use the smart driver pace lights to ensure a proper wash.

  • The first time a driver goes thru a drive thru wash, the high intensity rinse portion can be slightly disorienting.

  • Usually the second time thru the wash, this feeling dissipates.  The more drivers use the wash, the more acquainted they will become.

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Hydro-Chem Systems, Inc

6605 Broadmoor Ave SE

Caledonia, MI 49316