So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including Ball Park hot dogs. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with Premium Coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
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.
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.
As part of the international WaterSavers program, the green-minded team behind Car Wash Express urges drivers to eschew the potentially harmful environmental effects of at-home car washes in favor of quick, thorough cleanses. 100% of the water used on your wash will be recycled and 80% of that will go toward the next wash. Across Car Wash Express?s five Denver-area locations, an automated tunnel attacks exterior buildup with biodegradable cleaning products and shine-enhancing protectants. The wash?s express lanes expedite the scrubbing process and cater to drivers in a hurry, and its fleet/bulk sales program meets the high-volume demands of people who own multiple cars or frequently race roadsters through the local pit.
ProClean Auto Wash pampers automotive exteriors with convenient facilities for blasting bugs off of windshields and scraping grime off of grills. Swing in for an automatic wash ($7) to declog your car's fiberglass pores, leaving it more radiant than a burning pile of flashlights. Cars who measure adoration in elbow grease will savor an affectionate hand wash of their delicate curves at ProClean Auto Wash's self-serve stations ($3 for first five minutes). Use a pressure washer to blast away filth and dirt until you're able to see your reflection and, like in every Disney movie, you find out who you really are.