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 Fresh Caf?, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. 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.
Simotes specializes in pre-owned vehicles. Their lots showcase foreign and domestic cars from makers such as Cadillac, Jeep, and Volkswagen, with an inventory boasting trucks, sedans, SUVs, and convertibles. Beyond the sales side of the business, technicians invite drivers to take a detour for oil changes or detailing services, which include hand-applied waxes, wheel and tire scrubbings, and interior shampoos to give cars that classic "just had a shower" smell.
Specialty Auto Care’s team of mechanical transfusionists swaps out automobile lifeblood to keep pistons safely churning inside their cylinders. Technicians combine hydraulic hoists and impressive piggyback rides to raise cars and uncork oil pans before seamlessly replacing gritty motor oil with up to 5 quarts of freshly viscous fluids. During comprehensive maintenance services, tires play musical chairs for the prize of more even wear, a 21-point inspection identifies the car's deepest secrets, and fresh wiper blades clear away debris and stubble left on unkempt windshields.
At Final Touch Auto Spa, techs eschew conveyer belts, concentrated chemicals, and harsh spinning brushes by hand applying gentle cleaning products with lamb's wool cloths. Their multi-step washing process begins at the tires, where spray cleaner breaks up grime before the team washes each panel with soft, sudsy strokes. Once finished, they whisk away left-over moisture with a swipe of a microfiber towel and force out detritus from crevices with puffs of compressed air. In addition to basic washes, full detailing packages can restore assembly-line luster, and window tinting preserves interiors by blocking out harmful UV-rays and ugly rainbows.
Delta Sonic Car Wash renews tarnished transportation with an innovative touchless car-wash system that automatically guides vehicles through a tunnel of high-pressure sprays and overhead buffing cloths. The hands-free wash massages mild lotions into paint jobs, leaving vehicles with sparkling, fingerprint-free finishes that are backed by a five-day guarantee. Detailing technicians do get their hands dirty as they make use of more than 100 hours of training to dote on vehicle interiors and exteriors with products from ValuGard, Aquapel, and Blue Coral. The team wields AOCA certification know-how when injecting engines with oil and devising rustproofing treatments that avoid drilling holes or covering corrosion in zit cream.
Discount Tire’s professional technicians install and service a vast trove of tires and wheels to keep wagons rolling safely. Experienced, trained mechanics manage an inventory replete with tires by brand names such as Goodyear, Michelin, and Bridgestone ($60–$100/tire for most vehicles) and a huge range of wheels ($50–$100/wheel for most vehicles). Proud owners of newly outfitted buggies receive advice on how to improve their rubber-road marriages or ability to do donuts on the lawns of rival librarians. Along with recommendations on products and services, tire installations include new valve stems, road-hazard protection, and lifetime rotations.