More than thirty years ago, Darrel Neilson entered the auto industry as a muffler and exhaust specialist. Now, he and his master techs are full-fledged car doctors who offer services that repair everything from air conditioners and radiators to brakes and alternators across seven locations. They also document all of their findings in their computer system to diagnose automotive ailments with ease.
Call me Oldie.
Rusted and beaten, hard-boiled but soft under the hood. An '89 Oldsmobile—full of dirt, grit, and not much else. My paint job’s got more holes in it than an amnesiac’s alibi.
He keeps me tucked away in some out-of-sight garage while his new prize—a Chevy that still stinks of the assembly line—glistens in the driveway like she owns the place. I'm washed up. Broken. Just one more casualty of that cruel mistress, Time.
That's what he thinks, at least.
In my day, I could turn a stoplight green with one blink of a headlight. I could hustle a quarter from a stingy tollbooth. I was good. But ol’ Oldie, well, he ain’t nothing now. Just a hunk of steel one sputter away from the local junkyard.
Hmph. What’s this? Sunlight floods the joint. I can’t remember the last time I saw him, but here he is. He looks older—though who am I to talk? The years ain’t exactly done me well, either. He climbs in, turns the key. I feel that old warmth of his khakis on my upholstery. I had forgotten. Well, off we go: no doubt one last joyride, a final lap for the old man and his busted wheels. If he wants to squeeze this old boat for one last drop of nostalgia, I’ll let him have it. It was good while it lasted, anyway.
SeCar Auto Wash. Hm. Seems too clean a place for a dirty car like me.
Must be some kind of sting, I think, as I feel my fuel gauge fall like a wino’s hopes at last call. I'm being sold off—cleaned up before they peddle me to some poor chump who couldn’t tell an odometer from a hood ornament. I'm through. Sayonara.
Who’s this guy? Hm. A technician. His coveralls are as clean as his hands are calloused. That smile—it stirs something in me. Something deep. It’s all I can do to stop my engine from purring.
"What will it be?" he asks my owner. I feel my brakes tighten in anticipation.
"Let's go with the bumper-to-bumper. This one's still got a whole lot of life to live."
Mr. Smiley pulls out a sponge as silky as the mane of a '65 Mustang. I succumb to its soapy embrace, but there’s no time for romance. The kinetic swirl of a buffer soon follows, then the soft purr of a vacuum, the jacuzzi kiss of shampoo. That filth that sat on my hood like an albatross for so long—it falls away so easily now, like meat off the bone.
Well, I’ll be a Stingray’s tailpipe. Look at me now! The glow of my paint could light up a prison hole. We pull out of the lot and turn onto the street. Ah, here she is, that old stoplight. Her red light claps shut, and the green eye invites me through with a wink.
With his foot on the pedal, he asks for gas. I give it to him.
That's right, Oldie, you dog. You still got it.
Precision Auto Glass Repair, a division of Precision Tune Auto Care, calls more than 260 communities home, dotting the United States from coast to coast. Each glass-repair facility boasts ANSI-certified technicians who perform deft repairs and replacements at the client's home or office. Techs also perform services in their repair center, eliminating the need to tow damaged cars. After glass repairs or replacement, technicians clean new and existing glass and carefully clear away broken remnants and shards, leaving seats, mats, and backseats that are full of water balloons free of dangerous fragments.
From more than 35 years with 350 facilities in six countries, Precision Tune Auto Care has spent the last three decades keeping more than 2.5 million vehicles on the road with an array of maintenance and auto-repair services. Professionally trained mechanics lube engines with signature precision oil changes, rotate tires to ensure even tread wear, repair busted brakes, and test spark plugs to safeguard against ignition failure during dramatic drive-thru getaways. Whether performing complicated services on fuel-injection and cooling systems or simply aligning tires, the mechanics back all their services with a 12-month, 12,000-mile national warranty.
Like the cars that roll through its suds, Wash-n-Roll’s staff members come to the facility scuffed by a long road but leave in better shape than when they arrived. That’s because Wash-n-Roll is a 100% charitable facility operated by people participating in New Life For Youth’s recovery program.
NLFY began in 1971 when Victor and Carmen, a husband-and-wife team, began lodging teens struggling with addiction in their own home to help them get back on track. Today, the outreach organization uses the Wash-n-Roll site as a vocational training center. Each dollar spent on washes—some of which sport rock ‘n’ roll-themed names, such as The Twist or Blue Suede Shoes—goes directly back into NLFY to be used for such programs as helping feed families in need through the Central Virginia Food Bank. Furthering its philanthropic motif, Wash-n-Roll limits its ecological impact by using reclamation tanks to recycle 94% of its water and by repurposing clouds as sponges.
The techs behind Eagle Eye Detail started out as a home business with a lone mobile unit. Over time, they expanded to an external location, and today they offer both mobile and onsite services along with four levels of detailing intensity. Techs hand wash exteriors during the express detail; the economy detail includes a waxing and wipe-down of interiors. By contrast, the executive detail takes place inside Eagle Eye's enclosed garage so techs can purify exteriors and purge the dark recesses of interiors without the sun’s judgmental glares. They shampoo carpets, seal paint jobs, and polish chrome accents. They also offer a nonabrasive clay-bar treatment that safely removes surface contaminants such as paint overspray.
The ASE-certified technicians at The Car Shop of Richmond refer to themselves as "the car guys," modestly masking the fact they tune up racecars in their spare time. In addition to servicing high-performance vehicles, the crew repairs electrical and mechanical components, and soups up the aesthetics of 44 makes from the globe's four corners and three slimming pin tucks. Out of respect for their work and those who fund it, they make sure to keep their unassuming brick-and-cinderblock garage tidy and WiFi enabled. Pickup and dropoff services represent another nicety, as does the option of a complimentary online profile that aggregates your car's service history, manufacturer recalls, and maintenance reminders.