Orem’s wiggy wash opens as largest car wash in north america local business heraldextra.com gas vs electric oven cost


“You have to have that space and that much equipment for our weather. Utah County’s dirt is like no other place — it’s a type of clay that is hard to clean off a car with just one spray. And you have to have that length, so you can get the back of the car fully clean,” Wignall said.

When most people think of a car wash, they don’t really think high tech. The car wash has always been about the water and the soap. But car wash equipment has come a long way, and is much more high tech than it was even 10 years ago. Wignall takes advantage of that tech in every one of his locations.

The Wiggy Wash system utilizes multiple layers of targeted rinsing and soaping. Each section of the conveyor belt has several sensors that reads the size and type of vehicle going through the channel, customizing the wash. They also use a trench system, to funnel the vehicle and its water runoff through the tunnel.

“And the lights are fun for the kids. We always overbuild them — we build them taller and wider to keep it as bright as possible, so customers don’t feel like they are in a cave,” Wignall said. “We invented the trench system because it makes it less claustrophobic, and it’s better for maintenance.”

And when you are talking about numerous moving parts combined with water and electricity, you should expect a lot of maintenance work. Wignall or his partner and co-founder, Chris Hailstone, can always be found almost every day, out working on any one of their three Wiggy Wash locations. In addition to the Orem one, they have washes in Springville and Spanish Fork. Their goal is to always have their washes up and running as effectively as possible.

Wignall and Hailstone are both former construction workers turned car wash owners. Wignall was a general contractor and owned his own framing company, and Hailstone owned a crane company. The car wash business wasn’t something they jumped into quickly, though Wignall had the idea in mind for years.

Before opening their first location in 2006, they did three years of research, which included working for another car wash company to see if it really was what they wanted. The financing took another stretch of time because they were trying a new concept in a recession.

As soon as investors saw how successful their Spanish Fork location was — since opening in 2006, it has consistently won business awards — Wiggy Wash was poised to grow. Though the business started in the southern part of Utah County, Wignall sees it expanding to more locations sooner than later.

There is a lot of competition in the car wash market right now, with newer brands coming in from out of state. But Wignall said he doesn’t worry about them. Being a Utah native, he and Hailstone feel they know the right way to clean a car in this state.

“The length gets them through fast, but gives them a high quality wash,” Wignall said. “We’re trying to be the best in the industry. We’re not saying we are, but we’re striving to be. We may not be washing every car in the valley, but we’re doing everything we can do to be the best.”

Editor’s Note: This article originally claimed that the Orem Wiggy Wash was the ‘longest’ car wash in North America. That was a misunderstanding on the part of the writer. There is a difference between "longest" and "largest" in the car wash industry. This article was updated March 1, 2017, to reflect that correction.