As a white 2013 Dodge Challenger rolled off Arsenal Street to the pay station at Classy Chassy Car Wash on Wednesday morning, the gate automatically lifted to allow the vehicle through.
A sticker with an RFID chip on its windshield was read by a sensor at the station, telling a computer system that the driver, Hardik D. Patel, is a customer with an unlimited wash plan.
Located in front of Salmon Run Mall, the business at 20965 Arsenal St. opened in January at the former site of Bumpers, Americas Car Wash, which closed about five years ago.
The $37.99 monthly ultra-bath wash plan allows Mr. Patel to get his vehicle washed as often as he pleases. The wash includes a triple-foam scrub, an undercarriage spray to combat rust and a Carbona wax finish.
As a frequent customer, Mr. Patel said the monthly plan at the car wash has helped him save money. Individual car washes range from $10 to $15 at the business.
I come here almost every day, Mr. Patel said after driving his car through an automated tunnel, which was staffed by three employees.
Brent M. McCann, manager of the car wash, said the unlimited wash plans have become highly popular. Since opening, the car wash has served anywhere from 50 to 450 vehicles per day. The closest car wash to Watertown that offers a similar automated system is in Syracuse, he said.
As soon as it scans the RFID sensor in his windshield, the computer program already knows its assigned to him, Mr. McCann said. It knows its assigned to the ultra-bath package, and at that point all he has to do is drive forward.
Large touch-sensitive brushes inside the wash bay adjust to each vehicles dimensions, Mr. McCann said. It offers flexibility based on the size of the vehicle, he said. It allows us to get the vehicle clean, but also protect it while were washing. The old style used to be a fixed arm with no pivot point to move the spinning foam brushes.
The car wash, which has seven employees, is co-owned by Jeffrey T. Arnold and David J. Clements. The business partners, who own 19 locations across Western and Central New York, launched their first location in Clifton Springs in 2000.
Mr. Arnold, who also is an investigator for the state police in Canandaigua, said the franchises unlimited wash plans distinguish the business from its competition. Monthly packages include a $24.99 basic plan, $29.99 triple-foam plan and $37.99 ultra-bath plan. Those prices correspond to about three car washes per month at the regular price.
Several months were spent renovating the two bays, Mr. Arnold said. The operation is equipped with a reverse-osmosis water-softener system, he said, which reduces chemicals in the water to make it softer. That water, stored in a pair of 1,200-gallon holding tanks, is used to provide spot-free rinsing.
We use about 2,400 gallons a day to rinse cars, Mr. Arnold said. The second bay at the car wash is slated to open in late summer, he said.
The business is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
A video featuring the car wash can be seen at http://wdt.me/classychassy.