Wheeling’s Minit Carwash Reimagined for a New Era

Many of us remember that long line of cars that snaked back toward the Perkins intersection on a sunny afternoon. For 69 years, the Minit Car Wash was the premiere place to have your car cleaned inside and out. Once you made it to the front of the line, you would pull into the quonset-hut-like building, exit your car and enter the waiting area. Meanwhile, your vehicle was hooked to the conveyor and began its journey through the wash system. Drivers and passengers could watch the process through the glass windows, moving along with their cars inside the comfortable waiting room as their cars were cleaned, rinsed and waxed by the swishing automatic brushes and buffers. While the interior of your car was quickly hand-detailed, you would pay the attendant before reuniting with your shiny, fresh-smelling car outside the exit door. 

The Minit Car Wash was founded by Robert Sincavich long before many of us were born. In 2005, Sincavich’s son Rob and his coworker John “Wojo” Wojchowski bought the business and made a good go of it for some time. However, when the eastbound lanes of the Wheeling Tunnel were closed for renovation and repair in 2007, Wojchowski said he noticed a major decline in the car wash’s business. “That just about killed us,” he commented. “We managed to hang in there, but then came the pandemic.” 

For many years, the Minit Car Wash was the place in Wheeling to have your car washed (Photo from Minit Car Wash Facebook).

In the spring of 2020, Wojchowski, like many other business owners, was forced to lay off his staff and close the car wash temporarily. He was able to stay afloat for a time by sanitizing cars for various government agencies such as the Wheeling Police Department and Ohio County Sheriff’s Department. But sadly, it eventually became clear that the car wash wasn’t going to survive. The property was sold and Wojchowski expects the building to be razed in the near future.

“I felt terrible. Seventy percent of our clientele was older people, and I was worried about them,” stated Wojchowski. The car wash closed on July 1, 2022, and that very same day, Wojchowski was asked to powerwash a house. That gave him an idea – instead of retiring, why not take the car wash to the clients who were already telling him how much they missed Minit?

And that’s when Wojo’s Mobile Detail, LLC was born. Wojchowski and his wife Sondra chose to open the business to continue to serve their core car wash client base  – those older folks who may not want to perform their own car- and home-care duties any longer.

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Just as it was at Minit, customer service is a top priority – the business will come to clients’ homes to wash and detail their cars. In cases where there is no water hook-up readily available, they are happy to pick up your dirty vehicle and return it sparkling clean the same day. They power wash houses, driveways, decks, boats, RVs, etc. Wojchowski shared that he and his crew are also willing to tackle any “Honey-Do” list. They have the skills and equipment to do most minor projects such as painting, drywall, plumbing and other small home repairs. If the job is more involved than Wojchowski’s team can handle, he will refer clients to other bigger area contractors at no charge. “If we can’t do it, we know someone who can!” said Wojchowski. 

John and Sondra Wojchowski, owners of Wojo’s Mobile Detail, LLC. (Photo provided by John Wojchowski).

“We welcome all business,” he continued. “Cars, decks, driveways – we’ll make it look good. Spring is when people sell their houses, and they often only think about the inside. Give us a call and we’ll make the outside look great, too!” You can schedule an appointment by calling or texting Wojchowski at 304-231-4051.

Wojo’s Mobile Detail’s Facebook page is brimming with before and after photos and comments from satisfied customers. “Can’t get workers to show up?” it asks. “We show up and then get your neighbor’s business, too!” In fact, Wojchowski told Weelunk that his team routinely goes above and beyond in taking care of customers. They’ve even been known to bring dinner or make a grocery run for clients in need of assistance.

  • Before and after Wojo's team power washed this siding. (Photo from Wojo's Mobile Detail Facebook).

“I try to be fair,” Wojchowski commented. “There’s too much greed out there. I’ll never become a millionaire, but I can make a clean living at this just like I always have.”  And given his vocation of the past 18 years, there’s no doubt that Wojo knows a little something about clean!

• Ellen Brafford McCroskey is a lifelong resident of Wheeling and a proud graduate of Wheeling Park High School, where she discovered her love of writing as a member of the yearbook staff. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management at the former Wheeling Jesuit College. By day, she utilizes that degree at the international law firm where she is employed. After work, you can find her relaxing with family, friends, and her clowder of cats.