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Science Behind Our Shine: Technology

Science Behind Our Shine: Technology


There is a complex web of systems that make up the Mister way to wash

Gone are the days when a suds bucket and sponge are all that a car could expect for its wash. As vehicles have become more sophisticated, the systems that maintain and clean them have advanced. Mister’s research and development team are dedicated to continuous improvement of products and application to make sure that clean, dry, shiny cars roll out of our tunnels.

So, how do we do it? Here is a look under the hood.



“One of the most common things we are asked about is how a customer can know that they are getting the car wash package they paid for,” said Greg Burleson, product developer. “We need to keep the line moving, so it happens fast. Our team and tech capture your information the moment you drive up and that ID follows your car through the tunnel.”

It goes like this:

1. You pull up to the kiosk and select your wash package
2. Our system captures an image* of the front of your vehicle
3. The image and wash are linked and sent to the tunnel system together
4. The tunnel operator verifies the image order to reflect the tunnel line

*Note: all images are deleted after they are used to identify your car/wash package coming into the tunnel. However, if you are an Unlimited Wash Club® member, all your wash preferences are linked to the ID tag on your windshield.



As you approach the tunnel, your wash package is ready to be applied. As the tunnel operator is guiding you to align your wheels in the tracks of the conveyor, they are ensuring windows are closed and checking for car parts or accessories – such as license plates and antennas – that are not properly secured.

Once our team directs you to put your car in neutral, you can sit back while our systems go to work.



The conveyor is like a tank track. It is a complete circle, most of which is rotating underneath the tunnel. The top of the track runs parallel to the ground, and that is what your tires meet up with when your tunnel operator gives you the thumbs up. At that point, rollers (about the size of a roller skate wheel) latch onto the conveyer and begin to push your car from behind the rear tire.

Additional rollers stay behind you on the track to ensure that there are multiple barriers between you and the next car.



As you enter, multiple sensors measure your vehicle length and wheel location. Our technology takes the wash package you ordered and combines it with those measurements to send pulses through the system to deliver the right timing of the spray, product, friction contact, and blower activation to meet your vehicle on its level.

“Timing is vital during the car wash process,” said Burleson. “Applying the chemicals precisely allows for proper dwell time (like dishes soaking to dislodge debris) and makes sure that your vehicle gets exactly what is needed without using excess water or chemicals.”



Mister uses our exclusive line of chemicals and applicators – all developed in-house – along with gentle friction to make sure our customers receive the best wash possible. Each product that is applied serves a specific purpose and is applied systematically for consistent results.

Within the tunnel:

  1. The exterior is prepped for chemical applications
  2. The surface and underbody are cleaned and rejuvenated
  3. Protection is set to target dirt, bugs, grime, weather, and more
  4. A radiant finish is applied to give you that Mister shine
  5. Your car is prepped, dried, and ready for the road

“You may notice in our line-up that cleaning is just the beginning,” said Burleson. “Each step of our wash builds upon the last for a very comprehensive approach to exterior car care. In fact, about 3/4 of our wash process is dedicated to preparing your car to get back on the road.”

Next time you’re rolling through, watch for these critical systems at work for your car. Experience the science behind our shine at any of our 400+ locations across the U.S.


Mister Car Wash is focusing our attention on one of the most critical elements of car washing – water. Stay tuned to see how Mister is spreading awareness about responsible water sourcing.