With more than 175 locations nationwide and more than 35 years in the business, Car-X Tire & Auto has earned a prime spot in the parking garage of quality car care and customer service. Started in 1971 by a team of seasoned muffler-shop owners, the service centers have blossomed from their beginnings as specialty exhaust shops to providers of nearly any repair or maintenance service imaginable, from installing performance-enhancing accessories to treating cars to therapeutic trust falls. In addition to promoting safety and long, healthy engine life with brake services and speedy oil changes, Car-X reaches out to the surrounding community with regular philanthropic activities, such as recycling drives and participation in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.
At DentEx, auto technicians fix dents and assess necessary repairs through a meticulous, customer-centric process. They can replace everything from windshields and moldings to sheet metal parts and the soundtrack from Night Rider. Besides mending wounded buggies, they also maintain them with thorough detailing packages, restoring them to a showroom appearance.
An affiliate of Enterprise, WeCar mobilizes its members with short-term rentals of fuel-efficient, hybrid, and plug-in vehicles. For a minimum of one hour, drivers borrow cars for errands or business meetings at an hourly or daily rate that includes gas, basic insurance coverage, and up to 200 miles per use. Upon making a reservation—which can be done 24 hours a day—members retrieve a vehicle from its designated location. Members are expected to keep the car in respectful condition, keeping pets in carriers, not smoking, and using the included gas card to refill tanks once the reach only one-quarter full. Any trips longer than 200 miles incur an additional $0.35 fee per mile, and 24-hour roadside assistance ensures drivers aren't stranded with flat tires, dead batteries, or horns that won't stop honking the Knight Rider theme song. At the end of each trip, the car must be returned on time to its original location.
For more than 30 years, the technicians at West County Auto Body—who are certified by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair—have specialized in full-service collision and body repair, from removing dents to restoring frames to factory specifications using a digital measurement system. Their shop is home to a computer paint-matching system and a downdraft paint booth, which they use to spray cars and any uncolorful drivers with even coats of Sikkens paint. There's also a team ready to handle glass and hail-damage repairs. In addition to its auto-body services, West County's team also boasts ASE-certified technicians who perform full-service mechanical repairs on all makes and models, including state-licensed vehicle inspections. Most jobs come backed by a lifetime warranty.
The presenters at the 2011 Hoodie Awards couldn’t hide their shock when, for the fourth year in a row, Showroom Shine Express Detailing took home the prize for Best Detail Shop, exclaiming, “They defend it every year!” The award was no surprise to the shop’s lengthy list of regulars, a loyal group that includes professional athletes, tons of locals, and the annual Ferrari calendar’s racy centerfold car. The staff sends rides from its lot to gleam in the sunshine, or it deploys its mobile detailing team to you. The meticulous detailing packages cover cars and SUVs from bottom to top as the team members scrub tires, shampoo carpets, wipe consoles, and wash and wax exteriors. They can also tint windows, repair windshields, and clear out foggy headlights.
Royal Gate Dodge introduces drivers to gleaming stables of new and used Chryslers, Dodges, Jeeps, and Rams in Ellisville and Columbia, Illinois. Certified specialists stand ready at both dealerships to fix what ails a sluggish Dodge Avenger or to help a Jeep Patriot Sport remember the preamble to the Constitution. Car owners can drop off their injured autos six days a week at either service center—both are open six days a week, but the Ellisville shop closes later (11 p.m. Monday through Friday). The technicians in Ellisville also provide collision-repair services in a 14,000-square-foot facility equipped with computerized estimating systems, digital imaging, and year-round climate control.