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.
For more than 20 years, the staff at LD's Custom Detail has traveled to local homes and offices to care for clients. Although these clients, which range from sports cars to workhorse minivans, hail from different factories and eras, they all end up sharing one thing in common—a squint-inducing exterior.
To produce this signature shine, the staffers hand-wash cars with biodegradable Meguiar's shampoo—paying extra attention to wheels—before hand-drying fenders with paint-friendly chamois and microfiber towels. They also tidy up the interior, de-griming seats and dashes even in their most elementary wash packages. During more comprehensive detailing jobs, they feature premium upgrades, such as an application of upholstery protectant, a tar-removal service, an engine cleaning, and a spraying of post-apocalyptic-biker repellant.
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.
Established in 1995, Cartique specializes in high-quality auto cleaning executed with the softest of whipped-cream-caressing touches. Customers pulling their grocery haulers into Cartique’s glistening family-owned abode are greeted by an experienced staff of dirt-blasting pros that smell like newly minted dollar bills. Each sedan ($35), SUV ($40), and wagon ($40) will be treated to a thorough Gold Package hand wash that includes a gentle exterior hand wash, chamois hand dry, hand buff, and express wax that scares off pterodactyls with its blindingly lustrous sheen. Interiors are assiduously cleansed of grime with an interior vacuum, window cleaning, dash and console wipe, and raccoon removal. Additionally, weathered tires are cleaned and treated to a luminous tire shine ($1 per tire) that efficiently removes dust, debris, and acne.
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.