Car `maid service’ and other mobile gifts

November 23, 2005

Gift ideas surpassed space to print them in the Gorge Gift Guide included in this edition. Here is RaeLynn Ricarte’s report on automotive-oriented gifts available at local businesses — Editor.

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Looking for a Christmas gift to surprise the man or woman who has it all?

Hood River shoppers have plenty of unusual choices – especially if the loved one is into automobiles.

The available options range from a thorough interior/exterior vehicle cleaning, custom paint job and specialty wheels to handy gadgets.

In addition, that old cassette player can be replaced with the latest in technology for more enjoyable travel.

“If you don’t know for sure what you want, you can just get a gift certificate that can be used for anything in our store,” said Frank Moore, owner of the local Les Schwab franchise.

That same offer is also available at A-1 Auto Detailing, Jack’s Body Shop, E&L Auto Parts and Car Stereo Specialists.

Moore said Schwab is a place to purchase practical needs for a vehicle, such as new tires or chains. In addition, the business offers an assortment of cleaning and polishing products and a travel emergency kit.

However, Moore said, there are also plenty of big ticket items in stock – such as custom and classic rims or high performance and special-sized tires. The retail outlet also features pickup toolboxes, bed rails and steps.

“We have something that everyone can use,” he said.

Les Schwab is located at 3140 Cascade Ave. and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The store can be reached for further information at 386-1123.

In today’s busy society, it is difficult for many people to find time for a complete vehicle cleaning. A-1 Auto Detailing has the perfect solution – drop the car or truck off and let them do the work while you relax.

“It’s like a maid service for your vehicle,” said owner Larry Whitaker.

He said the cost of the service depends on the size of the rig. For example, full service on a Ford Expedition costs $185 and even includes scrubbing the engine.

An interior-only clean is $100 and an external wash and wax $75.

A-1 Auto Detailing is located at 2610 May St. and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call 386-4199.

Jack’s Auto Body specializes in custom painting and striping to “jazz up” any vehicle. The cost of work is dependent upon the chosen paint and its application. For example, racing stripes may cover more of some models than others.

“This is not a generic type of thing. We decide on the fee once someone brings their car in and tells us what they want. Then we see what we can do,” said owner Al Hawkins. “Every application is different because of what a customer’s budget dictates.”

He said people often also buy gift certificates to cover the cost of a dent or cracked glass repair.

Jack’s is located at 3400 Guignard Road and is open from 8 a.m. 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The business can be reached for more information at 386-3832.

E&L Auto Parts is stocked with an array of items for the “gadget guy.”

Gifts are available for as low as a few dollars to several hundred. Some of the popular choices include sockets and screwdriver sets from $10 to $200 and tool boxes that start at $50 and rise in price, dependent upon size and storage space.

Dashboard altimeters to tell the driver what altitude he/she is traveling cost $30. And a compass to indicate direction sells for $16.95. Thermometers that provide an outside reading of the temperature range in price from $50 to $75.

Then there are the hot rod parts and $30-$80 tachometer gauges, popular with young drivers, as well as after-market carburetors and aluminum manifolds, at prices from $140 to $300.

“We have everything a vehicle owner needs and, if we don’t have it here, we can usually get it in a day,” said co-owner Kevin Hay.

E&L Auto Parts is located at 921 12th St. and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. More information is available at 386-1404.

Car Stereo Specialists provides the gift of music for the holidays. The price range for a combination CD/MP3 player can be installed with four stereo speakers for $400. The cost then go up, said owner Vic Solorio, with more detailed and complex electronics.

“You can go up into the $1,000s because there are so many different models,” he said. “Leave your car or pickup and when you come back and pick it up, it will be a new ride.”

Solorio said extra speakers and sub-woofers to increase bass sounds can be placed behind seats and in trunks. And all models include an auxiliary input for walkman and cassette players. Most car stereos also come with a wireless remote for added convenience.

Car Stereo Specialists is located at 1260 Tucker Road and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Appointments need to be made for equipment installation by calling 387-3848.

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