Perseverance pays off. Waterfront Auto Complex, like many other family-run businesses, struggled to maintain its footing after the closing of Homestead Steel Works. Their approach? After nearly four decades in service, they decided it was time for an upgrade. The team added a window-tint and detail shop to their automatic car wash and, after an uptick in business, a full-service Quaker State oil change. Waterfront now looks forward to many more years of servicing cars, SUVs, and, eventually, hovercrafts. “I really see an opportunity for growth in the Homestead area, not just for the waterfront, but all of the businesses and neighborhoods," says James A. Laux, president of the company’s corporate parent. "I'm not the only one making an investment in this community. As more people see the opportunity, the Mon Valley will do nothing but grow!”
A business has to have something special to survive for more than half a century. For Mr. Magic Car Wash, perhaps that thing is a signature blend of nine cleaning solutions that work together to cut through tough road grease and leave vehicles with a glimmering luster. Or perhaps it’s the business's attention to detail, manifested in its soft-cloth hand washes. Either way Mr. Magic has not only survived the passing decades and the end of the DeLorean, it has thrived and expanded, now boasting five Pittsburgh-area locations. Even when sending cars through the automated car-wash tunnel for a quick rinse, Mr. Magic keeps auto owners' interests in mind, spraying fiberglass surfaces with only fresh water and drying them to a spot-free shine with hot air. Extra services, such as underbody flushes and interior and exterior detailing, help enhance each wash, and coats of Magic Repel surface protectant deflect new smudges and wizard spells.
At LaserWash TouchFree CarWash, attendants don't soap up your car—instead, the cleans are administered by scrupulous touch-free automatic bays, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Drivers simply drive inside and follow easy-to-read signs to receive their mechanized pressure washes, which include an underbody spray, a clear coat protectant, and biodegradable soaps and waxes.
The car shiners at Auto Bathouse leave no stone unturned with bumper-to-bumper cleaning services and top-brand oil changes. After a soft-cloth car wash, heated blow dryers and a climate-controlled towel-drying area keep teeth and grills from chattering. Select detailing services take more invasive measures such as engine degreasing, carpet steaming, and odor removal. Aesthetic upgrades spiff up auto bodies with paint sealants and chip repairs that fend off road debris, as well as window tints and carpet dye jobs that cover up graying fibers and keep aging autos feeling youthful. To keep clean cars from becoming mere driveway ornaments, techs keep pistons whirring with oil changes from brands such as Castrol and Pennzoil.
Salem Car Wash promises both speed and thoroughness: the staff can clean most cars inside and out within 10 minutes. Using mild detergents and automatic, soft-cloth washers, technicians prep car exteriors, underbodies, and windows to a factory-floor sheen—and then protect the job with Rain-X and high-end polish. They also vacuum and wipe down interiors. They can customize services based on the season, paying special attention to bugs in the summer and ice in the winter. But regardless of when a customer comes in, they back every wash with a satisfaction guarantee.
Wash-Works Car Wash's touchless-cleansing system purifies vehicles' exteriors in 180 seconds. During a car's three-minute vacation, powerful jets spray its exoskeletons with a triple-foam solution and wax to imbue a shine more luminous than the well-angled glare of a golden watch. A chassis bath meticulously tickles underbellies to remove built-up dirt, debris, and salt. After a rinsing, staffers release a pack of towels that cling to exteriors and soak up residual water with a thirst at once ferocious and gentle.