A businessman told today how a supermarket car wash malfunctioned and picked up his two-tonne Mercedes 4×4 – causing £4,000 worth of damage.
Stunned Robert Clarke, 44, says the machine acted like ”something out of Terminator” when the giant drying arm slammed into the bonnet.
It then lifted up the car ”like a giant hairdryer on a killing spree” and Robert was forced to jump out of the vehicle and hit the emergency stop button.
He said: ”What it did was just unbelievable. It just didn’t stop. It just jammed into the car and lifted the car up with me in it.
”It was like a battle between the weight of my car and the electronic motor and then I could smell burning.
”I’m really shaken up. It was like something out of Terminator. It was like a giant hairdryer that was on a killing spree, I was absolutely petrified.”
The drama began when Robert, who owns an IT software company, visited the car wash at Sainsbury’s in Swindon, Wilts., as he went to pick up his kids from school.
The £5.50 cycle started as normal but the machine malfunctioned when the drying arm descended and started inching towards his bonnet.
Instead of automatically lifting up and over his Mercedes ML320, it slammed straight into it and started bending the bonnet backwards.
Robert, of Swindon, said: ”I just thought ‘Oh my goodness, what’s it going to do?’.
”I thought next thing it could come through the bonnet and through the windscreen and with that I just thought ‘get out’.”
He managed to jump out of the car as it was mid-air and ran to the emergency stop button.
The machine suddenly ground to a halt and dropped the 10-year-old car, which was then taken away by Robert’s insurance company and is expected to be a write-off.
Robert added that he regularly uses car washes, but it was his first one at the Sainsbury’s store – who did not offer to refund him the £5.50 cost of the wash.
Nick Scott, duty manager at Sainsbury’s confirmed there had been an accident which the company is now investigating.
He said: ”The customer was a bit irate and a little bit shaken up by the incident. We are speaking to our legal team.
”Our priority is to get his car back to him and get him back on the road as quickly as possible.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson added: ”Following a technical problem with the car wash at our Bridgemead store, the bonnet on Mr Clarke’s car was damaged.
”The car wash has been closed and will remain so until we have fully investigated. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to Mr Clarke.”
Britain’s most expensive carwash
British farmers introduce carwash for cows
How did England get so dumb?
I bet he ignored the instructions
Don’t quite understand how there could have been £4000 worth of damage when the car itself isn’t worth £4000…
£4,000 damage, that is why the car was a write off as the damage was worth more than the car itself.
Damn, I hate when that happens.
Double win!! Mercedes and a 4×4! Great!!
pity his name is different in both hmmmmm haha
something like that happened to me once when I was drinking a coffee milkshake. Well not exactly like it, but something did happen to me once
Apparently they’re immitating we Americans. Which means a massive lawsuit is sure to follow. I’m sure he’s pyschologically damaged and will never be able to enter an automatic carwash again.
Interesting response from someone who knows very little about the Americans he references and apparrently spoke before following through with any investigating on whether there has been something to give him fear of a carwash. I had my back snapped in half in two places because a carwash grabbed the spoiler of my car, shook it like a rag doll and then managed to get caught in the back seat of my car and tried to finish it’s cycle with me still in the car, pinned in an unable to escape before it can opened my car. 5 spine surgeries later, 8 rods and 12 screws and 1 plate. I can damn sure promise by butts not going back in a carwash and your an idiot for thinking that they pose no real danger. I had 8000.00 dollars of damage done to my car. 235,000.00 done to my spine and thanks to the innocent car wash, I am paralyzed from my waste down. Nice… don’t you think? After all it’s just a carwash right?