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.
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.
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.
Shannon's Auto Cleaning has been in the buff-and-wax business since 1980, and its technicians have left a decades-long parade of shiny cars behind them. To this day they continue to make cars look like new with full detailing services for both interiors and exteriors. Besides washing dirt and grime off the car's body, they can condition leather, spruce up seats, and shampoo carpets, leaving the vehicle looking as good as it did when it suckled its very first gas pump. And, for its customers convenience, Shannon's Auto Cleaning also offers pick-up and delivery services.
Regal Mobile Detailing's technicians wash, wax, and shampoo your car at your own home or office. As a mobile detailing company, they go wherever their clients are and show up with all the cleaning supplies and tools they need to remove dirt from car interiors and exteriors. Their detailing packages include washing, vacuuming, shampooing, and leather cleaning, plus Zamol waxing to give paint a glossy finish.
There's a reason why owner Bill Lawrence decided to set Bubbles Hand Car Wash apart with upscale services and a pleasant ambiance. As Lawrence relayed to Allison Wollam of the Houston Business Journal, he was charmed by a clean, welcoming car wash he visited shortly after moving to Texas from New York, where car washes typically charged a convenience fee to any customer who smiled. Lawrence knew he could cater better to luxury car owners like himself with a conveyerized hand-wash system that combined the convenience of the tunnel model with the hands-on meticulousness of a traditional hand wash. His idea has caught on with some very high-profile customers. Houston Texans linebacker Mister Alexander trusts his ride to the skilled hands of Bubbles’ technicians, as do Houston Rockets players Hakeem Olajuwon and Kenny Smith, not to mention former president George Bush.
Even patrons without a Porsche or a professional sports career appreciate Bubbles' gentle lamb's wool mitt washes and eco-friendly soaps, sealers, waxes, and conditioners, as proven by the business’s 2010 and 2012 Houston A-List awards for Best Car Wash. Customers seem to be as taken with the company’s facilities as they are with its services; each lobby invites relaxation with free WiFi, a bemusing gift shop, and shoe shines so effective that patrons need only stand beside their vehicle to check its undercarriage. The community-conscious car washes also use less than a quarter of the water typically expended during a home wash, and the locations offer free car washes for military personnel on Veterans Day.