Diagnosing and Fixing Vacuum Leaks

No car wash operator wants to lose or frustrate customers because of a weak vacuum with bad suction. If you’re having vacuum performance issues and problems with suction loss, you may have a vacuum leak. There are several common problem spots to check.

External Vacuum Possibilities

First, make sure that the vacuum hose is in good working order. Ensure that it is not clogged, and that air flow through the hose is not restricted. Check for cracks or breaks in the hose either that can allow air to be sucked in from outside the hose.

Next, check up on the filter bags. Make sure these are kept clean, and replaced when they are no longer working as they should. You can get months, even years out of properly maintained filter bags. The good news is that, even if they are in bad shape, they are relatively inexpensive to replace – especially when compared to the money you could lose from unsatisfied customers leaving to go elsewhere. Proper air flow creates the suction that allows the vacuum to work. If the bags are dirty, air struggles to filter through the bags. Shake out and wash the bags regularly.

Motors and Internal Performance

Next, check the gaskets on the doors and under the motors. Be sure that the door gaskets are creating a tight seal, as it is common for these gaskets to get dirty. Check that the motor gaskets are creating a seal and are in working order. Vacuum gaskets can become damaged or compressed over time, causing the vacuum leak. The key worry to look for is drying and cracking. Even a gasket that doesn’t appear compressed or damaged could be cracked due to weathering, and allowing air seepage. Just like with filter bags, this will cause poor air flow through the system.

Motor seals can also cause vacuum leaks, but in a different way. Damaged or missing motor seals cause vacuum leakage and reduce suction at the power source. It doesn’t mater how secure the rest of your unit is. A motor that isn’t operating at 100% capacity will just allow the problems to compound.

To help test performance, you can also purchase a vacuum test gauge and a vacuum check. The test gauge measures vacuum pressure inside the hose, and the higher the pressure, the better the suction. The vac check is a small cap that instantly seals off the motor and prevents suction loss in case of a vacuum motor failure.

Vacuum Leaks = Less Suction, Less Customers!

Maintaining your vacuum is necessary to keep customers happy and bring in revenue. When customers have to deal with underperforming vacuums, they’ll start to go elsewhere. If you know how to check for vacuum leaks, you can prevent issues so customers have the same great experience every time they visit your wash!

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