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.
On the corner of Washington Avenue and Heights Boulevard in the Heights, there’s a big blue building with a covered carport and a lot full of cars with all their doors open, this is Keep It Clean Carwash. Since 2004, Houstonians have been getting their cars hand-buffed by Keep It Clean team members. There are no big machines or drive-through sprayers here, it’s hand washing and detailing all the way. Customers can expect a wait on the weekends, when it seems like half of Houston is getting waxed and shampooed here, but they’re open every day except major holidays and during severe weather. Services range from a basic wash to show room detailing with leather treatments, rug shampooing and interior and exterior protectants.
Car after car slowly rolls past as automatic sprayers lather them up and rinse them down before a mist of Simoniz Hot Wax & Shine is applied. It’s from West Oaks Car Wash & Mobil1 Lube Express’ roomy waiting area that customers relax after having cars cleaned, which when performed regularly can maintain the luster of the car’s exterior. Applications of Simoniz products shield the car from UV rays and guard it from minor scratches, and rust inhibitors keep auto exteriors from decaying. Bolstering each car’s surface protection, the Rain-X Complete option also repels water during inclement weather or when parked inside backyard pools. Besides keeping cars cleaned inside and out, the team at West Oaks Car Wash & Mobil1 Lube Express also performs maintenance services such as oil changes and lubes.
BlueWave Express' car-wash system delicately transforms automobiles from dingy to dazzling through meticulous cleansings. During the Ultimate Wave road warriors get a soapy wash with a soft cloth, a spot-free rinse, and a moisture-zapping dry. A double-bond sealant with teflon protects paint for up to 30 days, and a tire dressing makes wheels more appealing to picky eaters. A coat of Simoniz triple polish leaves car exoskeletons shinier than a penny fresh from the Abe Lincoln face-shrinking factory. Guests can rid car interiors of dirt and dust free of charge with BlueWave Express’s powerful vacuums.
Hand wash. Hand wax. That's what it says in bold letters right above the entrance of The Wash's modest, white concrete-block building. The staff keeps it as straightforward and simple as that. Car-wash technicians lather up and wipe down vehicles by hand, shine tires with Armor All, and vacuum interiors free of loitering carpoolers. Skilled in thorough detailing, they also condition leather and chrome and deodorize car cabins.
A pair of husband and wife teams preside over Texas Splish Splash Hand Car Wash's original Webster and brand new Pearland locations. At the base of a comprehensive service menu, lamb's mitts buff out scratch-free shines and lull restless cars to sleep. By-hand detailing services ranging from window cleaning and carnauba wax to paint restoration and tar removal help customers thwart the damaging swirls of machine-wash procedures. Rain-X products and air fresheners cap off services to cars, trucks, motorcycles, and RVs, and the Pearland location's stocked snack area caps off satisfied customers with coffee, sodas, and empty cups with toupee tape.