Saturday, April 19, 2014 · 11:26 p.m.
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Co-owner of Chattanooga Detail David Hopkins uses steam technology to clean vehicles. (Photo: Contributed)

Auto-cleaning business Chattanooga Detail opened last summer, and owners David Hopkins and Beau Gilliland conquered their first winter, which is when business is slow. Now, they are hoping for an uptick in customers. 

"Winter is a rough time for our industry, but we made it through," Hopkins said Monday. "Things are looking up." 

Their business uses steam-cleaning technology, which takes less water and fewer chemicals than traditional methods. They offer a range of services from an exterior hand wash to a full detail.

They have recently added a $5 hand wash, rinse and air dry, Hopkins said. And prices for other services range from about $12 to $350, according to the business' website. 

A wash and wax starts at $49.99. 

The steam-cleaning package with interior detail starts at $119, Hopkins said. 

Hopkins said that more people begin to think about cleaning their cars in the spring as they drive with windows or sunroofs open, and the increased amount of bugs and pollen also drives consumers to get their vehicles cleaned. 

"Bugs contain organic acids and complex proteins that eat through your clear coat," Hopkins said. "It's important to remove that." 

And cars can have more germs than a toilet seat, he said, so cleaning them is important. 

Ron Montoya, consumer advice editor with Edmunds.com, said that keeping a car's paint and interior in good condition can help when reselling the vehicle, and it could help get a higher appraisal value.

"If the paint is in good condition, it's going to go a long way to selling your car faster," he said. 

Montoya also noted that some of this work can be done at home, which may be less expensive. 

Hopkins said he is looking forward to the warmer weather. 

"We are hoping people will be more concerned about their vehicles and wanting to maintain it," he said. 

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