PAMPERING YOUR RIDE
Taking a look at the best Car Spas in Metro ManilaBy Alvin Uy, Jason K. Ang
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Just as taking time out for a spa is second nature for the city’s female denizens, and taking one’s beloved pooch to the groomer a pastime for pet lovers, so do finicky car owners look forward to bringing their prized automobiles to the Car Spa, also known as the detailer.
There are many levels of detailers in the city, from near-amateurs to auto-show level professionals capable of bringing out the best from one’s vehicle. We interviewed several knowledgeable car owners whom we know are quite stringent with selecting a detailer to care for their rides.
Some of the criteria common to our owner resource persons:
1.) Trustworthiness. Leaving a vehicle worth several million pesos at the detailers can be agonizing, if the service provider is not completely trustworthy. If our owner interviewees feel safe leaving their prized possessions at the spa overnight or even several days, they must be confident indeed that nothing will get damaged, stolen or vandalized. A safe location with adequate security is also a must.
2.) Professionalism. No shoddy work means every nook and cranny of the vehicle that is included in the stated service is cleaned and polished. For the interior, that means even parts of the car that you won’t ever see, like hidden patches of carpet, are properly cleaned. Experience and knowledge means that the service provider won’t accidentally bleach one’s upholstery.
3.) Value for money. This doesn’t mean that they go for the cheap ones. Quite the contrary, the service may be quite expensive. However, the value that the service adds to one’s enjoyment of the vehicle, whether it is headed for a car competition or merely a hallowed garage space, means that every peso spent has been put in the result. Cleaning materials and the service labor are of the best quality.
There’s probably no more demanding customer than Carlos Gono, boss of Auto Plus Sportzentrum. For his stable of powerful cars, he recommends Mother’s detailing products and services.
For Sammy Liuson, managing director for Wheels Gallery, one of the leading names in the automotive aftermarket industry, he also recommends Mother’s for a good and fast detailing job. Mother’s has a shop just across his office along Santolan Ave. near the corner of M. Paterno St., San Juan. Being a master of all things round and shiny, car enthusiasts look up to him for advice on how to customize and pamper their beloved four-wheeled rides. He also recommends Meguiar’s detailing for weather-damaged paint surfaces. “Both are good but each has its own signature and specialty touch,” added Liuson. Meguiar’s has a shop and office located at 158 Kamias Ext. East Kamias, Quezon City.
With luxury car brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Inquirer Motoring asked the expert opinions of Rene Nunez, president of Mercedes-Benz Club of the Philippines (MBCP), and Edwin Reyes, president of BMW Car Club of the Philippines. Big Bert’s Detailing, known for its popular branch at Ortigas Home Depot, ranks high for Reyes. Reyes says he is happy with Big Bert’s “Quick and fast service all the time.” While customers wait for their cars to be detailed, there are a number of restaurants and shops around the Ortigas Home Depot compound they can go around and visit so one does not get bored while his or her car is being serviced.
For Nunez: “I bring my cars to two shops, Autosport and Autoville. Not only does it allow the paint to shine, it actually preserves the finish by creating a thin film over it.” Autoville is located inside a Caltex station on the corner of Katipunan Ave. and Boni Serrano while Autosport is located along Chino Roces Extension, which is right beside the BMW Makati showroom. Its shop owner, Naji Kassouf, is also an expert mechanic specializing in European modern and classic cars and is the “go to” guy for many German car aficionados and even drift car racecar drivers.
For these car owners who can spend quite a hefty sum on their cars-not just on the unit, mind you, but just for modification-the car spa is just the icing on the cake to allow them to fully enjoy their hyper-performance vehicles.
For very discerning car collectors who do not want to go through the hassles of regularly looking after their automotive jewels, Alex Car Storage is probably a good option. It is a new car storage concept recently formed by renowned car restorer Alex Isip, who also owns Alex Car Restoration, an enterprise known for producing award-winning classic and vintage showcars. He is in the business of car restoration for almost 20 years and recently put up a modern indoor automobile storage facility located at the heart of Quezon City, along Roosevelt Avenue. The facility is built on a 1,000-square-meter land that is believed to be the only storage facility of its kind in the country and perhaps the region.
With his highly trained team of technicians and mechanics, customers can be assured of timely and professional work giving it a total one-stop car care solution. The storage facility is equipped with high-tech security cameras that allow online viewing anytime by the customers, anywhere in the world via Internet connection. Its double gates and security alarm system provide maximum protection from theft and vandals. It also has a general liability policy and a “Garage Keepers” policy as an insurance against damage or other risks.