Next to a person’s home, his ride is usually the second-biggest investment in his life. Whether it’s a car, truck, RV or anything that travels on wheels, along with boats, the Detail King is dedicated to making that ride shine.
The Detail King, an automotive detailing and restoration specialist, is at 3535 W. 13th St. in Grand Island in the auto bay of the former Kmart store. Owner Philip Smith has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive detailing and restoration industry.
Detail King has state-of-the-art equipment to rejuvenate any ride whether it be a polish, wax or paint seal; interior shampoo; undercoating; rust proofing; or fabric or leather protector. Old-school methods are also employed as the Detail King will hand wash customers’ vehicles to make sure all the dirt, grime and chemical residue from the road are vanquished.
A Kansas City, Mo., native, Smith has lived in Grand Island since 2006.
“I moved here to raise a family,” Smith said. “It was a different environment.”
Having a number of jobs while living in Grand Island, Smith decided to save his money and start his own business.
Smith owned a previous vehicle detailing business in Grand Island, Quality Auto Detail, which he opened up in 2010.
“Once I landed this location (the former Kmart building), we just figured that we changed the name to start new and to start fresh,” Smith said. “I came up with the idea of the Detail King.”
The former Kmart store is being developed by Ray O’Connor into the location for a number of new businesses. Planet Fitness is now open, and the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is expected to open later this year or early next year.
“I have been detailing cars since 1986,” Smith said. “It is what I do and I love doing it. It is a passion of mine.”
Smith said he’s had a fascination with cars, like “most guys do,” since he was a kid.
“I was just attracted to the way that they shined and the wheels and stuff,” he said. “When I got my first car, I stayed at the car wash. As the years went on, it turned out to be something I wanted to do.”
When growing up, Smith said, “I was unaware that they had a profession cleaning cars.”
“I worked at a car wash when I was 16 years old,” he said. “I graduated up and started learning how to detail, and I’ve been detailing ever since.”
Smith said the Detail King offers a full-restoration detail, which is a top-of-the-line restoration of “everything on the vehicle from the paint, to the seats, the fabric — just the overall beauty of the vehicle.”
Smith said just washing a car is “a little bit different than restoration.”
“It is about bringing something back to its luster, to its normal look,” he said.
With a full-restoration detail, Smith said, they start by degreasing the engine. They hand wash the car to get rid of any foreign debris and blow-dry the vehicle thoroughly to make sure all the water is evaporated.
They shampoo the interior; clean and recondition leather seats; buff and polish the paint to remove contaminants such as tar, tree sap and rust; then thoroughly clean the tires and windows and offer an air freshener for the vehicle.
“A vehicle is an investment,” Smith said. “I suggest to my customer that they periodically come in and get a detail service, probably every six months, to protect that investment.”
He does many full-service restorations on vehicles such as SUVs, luxury cars and pickups that cost $50,000 and up. He has also performed detail jobs on semitrucks and farm equipment.
“It adds to the longevity of your vehicle,” Smith said. “A lot of times, people come in and just want their interiors cleaned or their engine degreased, or they just come for a hand car wash.”
The Detail King also carries a full line of accessories to help customers maintain a great looking ride.
The company’s motto is, “If you want it clean, bring it to the Detail King.”