Windshield scratched up at the carwash. Owner says read signs

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Took my car to a car wash on Friday. It was not a touchless wash (wouldn't have mattered). I bought the premium wash, so was asked to wait in the lobby while the car gets washed. Before entering the car wash, there are people that scrub the windshield, tires and bumpers. While doing this the drivers wiper came off. The car went though the wash and my car has rain sensing wipers. This made the wipers turn on and the bare wiper arm created a huge scratch. Owner is claiming that I should have turned the wipers off. If I would have been in the car, I would have easily turned them off and would have also noticed that the attendants had accidentally removed the wiper blade while scrubbing. Am I out of luck? I got 3 quotes between $210 to $260 for a new windshield. Picture in Quick summary!

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Well, now be vigilant of any windshield repair. I went to one that starts with Safe****... they scratched up my wiper a... (more)

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Can you post a pic of the scratch?

um maybe not post OP's real name

rufflesinc said:   um maybe not post OP's real name
  It was a subtle way to tell the OP his name is showing.

The scratch is really deep. You can feel it if you pass your nail over it. They tried to buff it out. I will put up pictures when I get home.

How do you KNOW that the wiper blade came off when they were scrubbing the windshield during pre-wash?  Seems more likely that it would have came off while your wipers were running during the carwash.

I think out of luck, wipers should be off when entering car wash. If it's deep enough would it be considered a hazard and your insurance might cover?

CheapFish said:   I think out of luck, wipers should be off when entering car wash. If it's deep enough would it be considered a hazard and your insurance might cover?
  
Most likely the deductible would be more than that and now he has a claim against him, not good!

Owner negligence, nothing to do with the car wash.

fwfisawesome said:   
CheapFish said:   I think out of luck, wipers should be off when entering car wash. If it's deep enough would it be considered a hazard and your insurance might cover?
  
Most likely the deductible would be more than that and now he has a claim against him, not good!

  
Depends on the state and policy, often windshield/glass damage is covered with no deductible and without counting as a claim on the current policy (may still appear on CLUE).

raringvt said:   How do you KNOW that the wiper blade came off when they were scrubbing the windshield during pre-wash?  Seems more likely that it would have came off while your wipers were running during the carwash.
  They showed me the video of the car going through the carwash. The first image showed that the wiper blade was missing.

Did the pre-wash activate the wipers? If so, I think the employees should've noticed and asked you to turn the automatic wipers off prior to doing anything further.

If not, I think you're outta luck. I'd imagine it was loose already and was bound to come off at some point during the wash. Whether that was during the pre-wash or actual wash doesn't really matter, I wouldn't expect the employees to be actively monitoring the status of the wiper blades and you're the one who forgot to turn the automatic wipers off.

DesiVibe said:   Owner is claiming that I should have turned the wipers off. If I would have been in the car, I would have easily turned them off and would have also noticed that the attendants had accidentally removed the wiper blade while scrubbing. Am I out of luck? I got 3 quotes between $210 to $260 for a new windshield. Picture in Quick summary!
Yes you are out of luck. The sign is extremely clear, and the reason they ask you to do those things PRIOR is because you are not in the car.

As others have mentioned, check with your insurance to see if they might cover this sort of thing without any cost. You might also take it to a windshield crack place and see if they can do anything.

May be something more unfortunate can happen. A rock will hit your windshield and glass coverage will give you a brand new one.

Have an A1 day.

I never buy premium wash/ leave the car

I agree the onus is on you to disable the wipers, especially with an explicit sign calling it out. Perhaps they would be responsible for removing the wiper blade, but I don't think that makes them responsible for the windshield damage.

I understand I needed to turn off the wipers. However the wiper blade was gone before the car went inside the carwash and there is videos to prove. Lets say I turned off the wipers before the car was dropped off, the wiper blade came off during the pre wash, I took the car home or had to use the wiper. It would have scratched up the glass regardless wouldn't it? Who is liable for the wiper blade coming off before the car entered the wash? The guys found the blade inside the car wash, proving that the blade was there before I dropped the car off.

They still won't be liable.

How do they know that your blade was affixed properly? It could've broken off earlier and the wash was just a coincidence.
It's going to be hard to prove.

Sorry OP.

Take it is an expensive lesson and start washing your car at home

wash your own car

It does not matter what they did or did not do with your blades. You did not follow clear instructions, it is your fault, sorry.

If you want to go into hypotheticals, if they gave you your car back all fine but without wiper blades and you scratched your windshield by turning them on, then perhaps you could go after them - no idea if you could have prevailed, but at least we would agree it was not your fault.

There are still tunnel washes where you have to get out of your car? I haven't seen one of those in years.

DesiVibe said:   If I would have been in the car, I would have easily turned them off and would have also noticed that the attendants had accidentally removed the wiper blade while scrubbing. 
DesiVibe said:   Lets say I turned off the wipers before the car was dropped off, the wiper blade came off during the pre wash, I took the car home or had to use the wiper. It would have scratched up the glass regardless wouldn't it? 
Well, which is it?
DesiVibe said:   Who is liable for the wiper blade coming off before the car entered the wash? The guys found the blade inside the car wash, proving that the blade was there before I dropped the car off.
You are liable. They are not there to check the overall safety of your car, that is your responsibility. You can't really prove that the blade coming off was their fault, maybe it just wasn't installed correctly in the first place? Regardless, THEY PUT UP A GIANT SIGN TELLING YOU TO TURN OFF YOUR WIPERS FOR THIS EXACT REASON!

The car wash (or any other business) can put up a sign or other disclaimer that says anything they want, but that does not automatically absolve them of those liabilities. This is true even if you sign a document, have it notarized, etc. Law and the courts prevail. I would still pursue relief from the car wash.

edit: I put resolve when I meant to type absolve.

And OP, I'm giving you a green for not freaking out on us when a question is answered that might not go in your favor.

You are liable. They are not there to check the overall safety of your car, that is your responsibility. You can't really prove that the blade coming off was their fault, maybe it just wasn't installed correctly in the first place? Regardless, THEY PUT UP A GIANT SIGN TELLING YOU TO TURN OFF YOUR WIPERS FOR THIS EXACT REASON!
  
A giant sign might help the wash's cause, but is not the final arbitrator.  The state's tort laws will determine this, plus the judge's interpretation of the evidence.  For example, I can install a sign in my yard that says keep out! not responsible for anything! or caution: big hole!  but if a kid looking for logs falls in a hole and breaks his leg, he/parents can still sue me successfully for damages.  The sign doesn't prevent them from doing that.  You could also put up a sign on your steep front steps that says Careful!  No Railing!  Not Responsible for Falls! but if a person falls down your steps, they can still sue you and win damages even though your defense relies on a sign. 

The OP probably has a case and can probably win, but the wash will likely settle. 

All of this makes me very happy that I have a car that doesn't assume that I cannot notice rain and turn on a windshield wiper as necessary on my own. 


 

plastrd said:   There are still tunnel washes where you have to get out of your car? I haven't seen one of those in years.
  Here in AZ, there are two options. 1) Cheap $3 tunnel wash that you drive through and 2) the premium service with hand wash prior to tunnel then light detailing (vacuum, wipe down, etc), where they put your car through. 

NEDeals said:   
You are liable. They are not there to check the overall safety of your car, that is your responsibility. You can't really prove that the blade coming off was their fault, maybe it just wasn't installed correctly in the first place? Regardless, THEY PUT UP A GIANT SIGN TELLING YOU TO TURN OFF YOUR WIPERS FOR THIS EXACT REASON!
  

All of this makes me very happy that I have a car that doesn't assume that I cannot notice rain and turn on a windshield wiper as necessary on my own. 


 

  
I'm not putting my phone and burger down to switch on wipers FFS!

forbin4040 said:   They still won't be liable.

How do they know that your blade was affixed properly? It could've broken off earlier and the wash was just a coincidence.
It's going to be hard to prove.

Sorry OP.

  Forbin. The wiper was affixed properly. I had filled up gas right before I went to the car wash and I always wipe the wiper blades down.

To the people that say wash my own car: I value my time. I used to wash and wax my car while I was much younger but I rather spend that time with family, and being in Chicago doesn't help.

forbin4040 said:   And OP, I'm giving you a green for not freaking out on us when a question is answered that might not go in your favor.
  
I have been on FW for years and I value the opinions and advice given here.

Shitty situation to be in. Regardless of the wipers being on or not, I believe the car wash guys should have been more careful not to knock the blade off before it went to the wash.

Ecuadorgr said:   It does not matter what they did or did not do with your blades. You did not follow clear instructions, it is your fault, sorry.

If you want to go into hypotheticals, if they gave you your car back all fine but without wiper blades and you scratched your windshield by turning them on, then perhaps you could go after them - no idea if you could have prevailed, but at least we would agree it was not your fault.

  That would have been worse than my current situation. No way to prove that the car wash guys lost the wipers once I left their property.

taylor0987 said:   The car wash (or any other business) can put up a sign or other disclaimer that says anything they want, but that does not automatically resolve them of those liabilities. This is true even if you sign a document, have it notarized, etc. Law and the courts prevail. I would still pursue relief from the car wash.
  You mean the HOA should not have the car towed away?  Sorry, couldn't resist.  

They must've pulled really hard on the wiper when they cleaned it. When I replace my wiper blades, there's usually a clip that keeps the blade locked to the frame or it's really hard to put in that you have to give it a strong push into the frame to get the blade installed.

Not sure why there are so many black and white opinions. Assuming they removed the wiper, you are both at fault.  Since the car wash is partly responsible, I would try to get some money out of them.  You can try small claims court.

Get a big sign that says "Ask me why you shouldn't use this car wash" and stand on the public right of way until the owner comes out and settles.

"Minor scratches are easy to fix. Try to search Chris Fix on Youtube."

Never mind, I didnt even finish reading the first post.

We need to see some pictures!

file small-claims suit for $260. subpoena carwash for video of incident. good chance carwash would be a no-show in court, giving you a win by default. take judgement to sheriff for till tap. collect $260 + fees. just don't ever go back to that carwash, unless you want your brake line cut.

NEDeals said:   All of this makes me very happy that I have a car that doesn't assume that I cannot notice rain and turn on a windshield wiper as necessary on my own.   

The purpose of rain sensing wipers aren't so much to turn them on but to regulate wipe intervals especially when driving in changing weather conditions. Intermittent wipers can't accurately match wipe intervals to rain intensity so you constantly have to adjust the speed. 

Huh, I though I posted something insightful here, but the fancy visual editor managed to eat my message upon submission... Oh, well... Sorry about that. Just imagine something really insightful was said here.

Skipping 23 Messages...
Well, now be vigilant of any windshield repair. I went to one that starts with Safe****... they scratched up my wiper arm and the upholstery on both A pillars got the crappy black adhesive on them. They replaced them all, but it took five trips out. Oh, and they didn't set the windshield properly the first time. They did this all at my location, like they advertise... but they recommended bringing it to the shop. I think going forward, I would bring it to the shop, even though it is a hassle.



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