Automated Brake Systems Causing Car Wash Problems

Technology in the automotive industry is evolving at a rapid pace. After years of research and testing, automotive manufacturers seem confident that automated cars will soon become standard for vehicles.

En route to developing completely self-driving cars, automakers are perfecting the technologies required to achieve a truly automated vehicle. One of the most exciting – and essential – new technologies could be automated brake systems.

Real Results

"Automatic braking reduced rear-end crashed by 40%."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted research to determine if automated brake systems were truly beneficial for driver safety. The results were extremely optimistic for the future of the technology: Systems with automatic braking reduced rear-end crashes by roughly 40 percent and forward collision warnings lowered them by about 23 percent.

That said, automated brake systems like these have the potential to not only reduce car accidents, but limit the number of injuries and even fatalities as a result. The IIHS maintained that if all vehicles were equipped with automatic brakes, there would have been more than 700,000 fewer rear-end crashes reported to the police in 2013 – that was almost 13 percent of the total number of reported crashes that year!

David Zuby, chief research officer at IIHS, is confident that automated brake systems are a positive step to making roads safer.

"The success of front crash prevention represents a big step toward safer roads," he said "As this technology becomes more widespread, we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end crashes. The same goes for the whiplash injuries that often result from these crashes and can cause a lot of pain and lost productivity."

Problems at the Car Wash
Although the technology shows plenty of promise, there are still some issues that need to be resolved. Most recently, there have been problems with vehicles equipped with the automated brake technology at some car washes.

The reported instances have occurred at automatic car washes that propel vehicles forward Drivers have reported instances in which their vehicles shut down in the middle of the car wash queue as a result of the automatic braking system.

In fact, some drivers with automated brakes have reported that the brake system has actually caused collisions with other vehicles as well as the car wash itself. So far, there have been plenty of vehicles affected by the issue, according to, including:

  1. Acura
  2. BMW
  3. Chrysler
  4. Dodge
  5. Fiat
  6. Jeep
  7. Lexus
  8. Mercedes
  9. Benz
  10. RAM
  11. Range Rover
  12. Subaru
  13. Tesla
  14. Toyota
  15. Volvo

What Causes the Issue?
Vehicles with automated braking systems are experiencing problems because of the sensors used to determine when the car should brake. Vehicles equipped with the technology are programmed to automatically come to a stop if a large object is detected around it.

When a vehicle is in a car wash closely surrounded by walls, brushes and more, the automated brake system kicks in. Craig Fitzgerald, editor-in-chief of expressed his concerns about future automotive technologies.

"Collision detection, auto hold braking and other technologies are coming to every car as standard equipment by 2020," he told Forbes. "Consumers have no idea about the unintended consequences of these technologies on simple, everyday tasks. We want drivers to be informed before they get to the car wash."