Visitors to Shine Express Car Wash face a flurry of choices, each of which decides their auto's ultimate fate. Upon venturing into the tunnel, motorists select from four washes, with a basic soft-cloth wash as the foundational service built on by enhancements such as an underbody rinse, tire shine, Teflon coating, and five-day wash-again guarantee. As the track pulls vehicles along, customers' choices play out in the different blue, green, and red lights that activate in accordance with an ascending level of features. Emerging from the mechanized fury, motorists again decide their fate with one turn of the wheel: a right turn takes them into a full detailing center, whereas following a U-shaped path leads to a stable of 16 free self-serve vacuums waiting to swallow up crumbs, dirt, and omniscient narrators.
In 1945, R.D. Beck, a small-town gas-station owner, started scrubbing patrons’ cars with his son, Lamar. At first, the service was a way to score a little extra business, but before long, throngs of eager customers circled the tiny shop. Unable to meet the demand, they built a conveyor-belt system that washed cars just as well as they could. As their business grew, they purchased a Columbus, Georgia, car wash with a strange but memorable moniker: GooGoo. Though the name stems from a famous duck on a 1930s radio show, it now stands for the goo-goo eyes that Lamar makes when a clean, shiny car drives by.
GooGoo’s also short for GooGoo 3 Minute Express Wash, the modern incarnation of the Beck family business. Here, staffers dressed in bright-red ties prep cars for baths and guide drivers to the washing tunnel’s conveyor belt. Drivers kick back as gentle machines scrub their autos with Neoglide foam and microfiber cloths as soft as a baby chick wearing a lamb's-wool sweater. Biodegradable soaps and house-label waxes imbue exteriors with shine and sparkle, and a stable of free-to-use vacuums helps drivers extract dirt and debris from seats, mats, and floors.
Since 1988, Auto Care Super Saver has been helping car owners save cash with maintenance punch cards redeemable at local auto shops throughout the course of a full year. These cards come loaded with all kinds of prepaid services, including at least three full-service oil changes with up to 5 quarts of oil, lube, and a new filter. Depending on the location, punch cards may also feature tire rotations, brake inspections, engine-light readings, air-conditioning performance tests, and other repairs and inspections essential to a car's well-being. Customers can transfer the punch card's benefits to any ride, ranging from station wagons to sports cars to feral merry-go-round mounts.
My Detail Guys’ technicians roam Arlington and the surrounding area, cleaning vehicles at their owners’ homes and workplaces. Their detail-oriented hand washes leave exteriors sparkling clean, and their vacuuming and upholstery shampooing strip grime from interiors. To these basics they add services such as high-speed polishes, carnauba waxes, vinyl cleaning, leather conditioning, and paint sealant—which protects the finish from the elements. In addition to cars, they detail boats, RVs, and any spacecraft with a pilot who can pay in dollars.
On the Spot Hand Car Wash and Auto Detail dispenses its thorough detailing services within state-of-the-art bays as well as from a mobile unit van, which carts car-wash supplies such as waxes and soaps to customers? locations. The technicians meticulously polish every inch of vehicles of all sizes to create a lustrous shine that attracts envious glances and vain inchworms.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.