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.
Inspired by the same brainwaves as the Build-A-Bear Workshop, RIDEMAKERZ allows visitors construct a customized toy car from the axles up with dozens of options that add up to nearly 650 million unique combinations. Guests begin by choosing a body from a stock of Vipers, Corvettes, Mustangs, trucks, and hot rods that can then be accessorized with free stock parts or specialty chassis, tires, rims, and oil slicks. The hot-lava Chevy Camaro ($32) sports a metaphor for the rubber it plans to burn with orange flames on its sides, and the jewel-blue RZ Rascal body pairs its smooth curves with working headlights and taillights ($22). Sets of multicolored or racing slick tires maintain traction while pushed across carpets, hardwood floors, or up the sides of living-room furniture ($4 for two). Glistening hubcaps ($3–$4 for two), undercarriage-glow lighting ($10), and other car accessories offer further customization, while sound-effect chips ($3) relieve vocal cords strained by persistent engine imitations. Builders can also upgrade to a radio-controlled street chassis ($25) to assert hands-free control over the vehicle's movements.
For more than half a century, Suntrup Automotive Group has been a thriving hub for the exchange and maintenance of man's best mechanical friend. Oil changes, tire rotations, safety inspections, and training-wheel adjustments are only a few of the many services that the factory-trained technicians offer to cars, SUVs, and trucks. While their jalopies are on the mend, motorists can visit the waiting area to test-drive computer workstations, complimentary WiFi, TVs, and vending machines. All locations also house lots filled with new and preowned vehicles from companies including Nissan, BMW, Ford, and GMC, each of them eagerly waiting for the chance to call your garage its home.
After treating your tires to a game of musical chairs (during which each tire will be checked for leaks, damage, and stowaways), Rob Sight's technicians will run a rigorous test on every component of your vehicle's brake system down to its friction material, rotors, drums, hoses, and connection points ($24.95 for tire rotation and brake inspection). Dual- or rear-wheel vehicles cost extra. Next, they'll conduct a charge system test ($34.95) on the alternator, starter draw, and battery. After a thorough multipoint inspection and an exterior car wash, your chariot will shimmer its way off the lot looking fresh as a genetically engineered super-creature with dangerously soulful eyes.
94Shuttle knows how to get parties rolling. Literally. Their professional drivers pilot luxury party buses loaded with equipment to entertain packs of up to 40 revelers on BYOB sojourns. Passengers can sing and dance along with their favorite tunes after connecting their iPod to the bus's sound system, or watch DVDs displayed on flatscreen televisions. A pair of vertical poles adds to the wild atmosphere during bachelor or bachelorette parties, winery trips, amd firefighting exams.
With its fleet of luxury buses and limousines, Columbia Party Bus makes sure that the journey is as fun as the destination. Up to 12 passengers can comfortably lounge in a Lincoln super-stretch limo, equipped with a stellar sound system and wet bar. Leather wraparound seating hosts up to 18 in the VIP Entertainer limo, where visitors can craft drinks at three bars, soundtrack the festivities with tunes from CDs and iPods, or watch a DVD on the giant HDTV screen. The Dictator, a 24- to 40-person party bus, evokes a nightclub atmosphere with front and rear bars, multiple TVs, two laser-light systems, a separate VIP section, and a bouncer strapped to the roof. As Columbia Party Bus's pro drivers safely navigate clients through Columbia and its outlying areas, a complimentary concierge service eases logistical hassles by procuring dinner reservations, live DJs, and event tickets.