Ultimate Shield sounds like a comic book character, and it could be—it heroically protects cars just as any decent superhuman would, fighting to keep vehicles beautiful at its headquarters in Ultimate Auto Care’s repair shop. One of the Shield’s weapons is paint-protection film, a thermoplastic material originally tested by military personnel and prized by racecar drivers for its ability to preserve sponsor graphics. Like most versions on the market, Ultimate Shield’s is known as the clear bra, and is designed to safeguard automotive bodies against flying gravel, debris, and people who jaywalk with scissors. Bolstering Ultimate Shield’s powers are special sealants that help the paint job resist UV rays, sap, bugs, and acid rain, and render interior fabric and leather resistant to stains. Ultimate Auto Care offers more than films and sealants, though—working in the Shield’s shadow, the shop’s crew can also detail motorcycles, cars, RVs, and boats. These cleaners attack grime with services ranging from basic washes and interior scrubdowns to a clay treatment for paint, which absorbs pollutants and other potentially corrosive elements. And once cars are clean, they can add a touch of customization by tinting windows, smoking taillights, adding dash accents, and painting brake calipers.
As the times have changed, the all-hand car washes have remained the same at Main Street Car Wash?a company that's been in the business since 1970. They owe their longevity to the early discovery that car-wash brushes can nick paint, and since then they've insisted on using their own hands to perform every exterior wash, wax application, and car-horn tuning. This approach leaves customers smiling as bright as their freshly buffed carriages.
Between the palm trees of South Bristol Street, it rains every day, sometimes hundreds of times. But this is no ordinary shower. It’s a special kind that makes cars sparkle. The staffers of Bristol Speedwash control this stream, directing it toward grimy windshields and mud-caked tires for each of their 100% hand washes. If requested, they also wax the entire surface until it glows brighter than a jellyfish hovering through a discotheque. Car owners can enjoy free WiFi inside during these standard washes or VIP detailing services, which see the washers lavishing vehicular shells with a clay bar and high-speed buff before polishing the chrome and wheels. Instead of topping the buggy with a maraschino cherry, they conclude the service with an air freshener, available in sweet scents such as cherry, strawberry, and vanilla. The shop can also restore headlights and repair chipped windshields.
Puddles Car Wash's owner has loved cars since childhood and continues to care for them as an adult by establishing an oasis where vehicles can rest and get grime washed away. The shop opens for washes and detailing services every day, catering to cars so well that corporate clients—among them ADT, Hooters, and Disney—have sent their vehicles speeding in its direction. While four-wheelers wallow in soapsuds and carnauba wax, their owners can visit the business lounge to relax in massage chairs, watch TV, surf the Internet, nibble on snacks, and stock up on auto accessories, such as air fresheners and inflatable backseat drivers.