Automatic carwash that doesn't work

A little while back I went to an automatic carwash that was behind a gas station. It was the kind with the metal rails on one side that guides your tire.

I pulled up to the control box and punched in the code at the bottom of my gas receipt.

I tried 5 times, and each time it gave me an error.

At this time another car pulled in behind me, blocking my only exit.

I looked all over the box and couldn’t find a ‘help’ button!? I opened my car door in order to ask the guy behind me to back up, but there was no room with the control box in the way (I could have opened the passenger door and climbed out, I guess).

I ended up putting my car in reverse and slowly backed out (very grateful the ‘shoe’ that engages the wheel hadn’t sprung up yet). The guy behind me took the hint and did the same.

Well, last night I was at a similar car wash, only the entrance to this one snaked around a building and was lined with trees/guardrail, meaning there was only one way in and one way out for a good 8 or more car lengths (vs 3 or so at the other one).

When it was finally my turn to enter my code there were a good 6 or 7 cars behind me and I really started to panic!

Thankfully the code worked! Also the box had a help button, and the option to enter a credit card.

I don’t know what I would have done if I was in the previous situation. I imagine I’d have to start waving to cars to back up.

I think this may be the starting of a new phobia.

So, any other bad carwash stories?

I never use automated carwashes anymore. I had one but a huge dent in my passenger-side door once. Never again.

The first thing I thought of was the British show Top Gear where they made a convertible mini-van. Top Gear being what it is, this was of course a total disaster (if you haven’t seen the show, just imagine 3 bumbling idiots basically chopping off the top of a mini-van and building their own tent top for it). As per usual on the show, they then put their creation through a series of challenges, the last of which was a car wash. Something in their home-built contraption came loose, jammed inside the car wash, and caught the car wash machine on fire.

They did note that it was fairly impressive to catch a machine that is basically full of water on fire.

Clip here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUQv6Z11yOI

I went to a touchless automatic today. The machinery did a nice job on the sheet metal and windows, but there is still quite a bit of mud in the wheel wells and undercarriage.

They had an attendant that guided me to park at the right spot and to activate the machinery. So it looks like this place would be immune to the OPs challenging situation. He also pre-soaped the exterior.

All in all, not too bad, although, unfortunately, the attendant was unintelligible. I still managed to do my part correctly.

One thing, there are brightly lit colored signs all through the wash bay, it made for a rather more psychedelic experience than I was prepared for.