Thursday, October 6, 2022 Oct 6, 2022
74° F Dallas, TX


By Tom Peeler |

A, few years ago it was standard pro-cedure to drop your car off at the corner filling station on a sunny weekend for a wash and a grease. It made sense to get both chores taken care of at once for $3.50 instead of separately at $2 each. But then do-it-yourself car washes began to appear on the scene like rabbits in a lettuce patch! Unquestionably, the self-service operations are cheaper, quicker and more convenient than the old-fashioned way. Like Jack-In-The-Box is cheaper, quicker and more, convenient than Arthur’s. It’s a question of efficiency vs. quality.

Actually Self-service car washes perform quite adequately, unless your car is dirty. The basic type, where you get out and run round and round your vehicle shooting detergent and then water out the end of a magic wand that runs for a minute and 27 Seconds on a quarter, will not Vanquish road film. This means that after you have completed your effort, you can sign your masterpiece with your finger before stepping out of the puddle to admire it.

The driye-through operations with the monstrous brushes slapping and swirling in frantic abartdon (which to the impressionable two-year-old is worse than a trip through the House of Horrors) do not clean white walls. A freshly washed car with dirty white walls is as appealing as a neatly mown Bermuda lawn that hasn’t been edged since summer before last. And some of the brushes, the economy grade, will leave your car looking like lightly swept fresh concrete, especially autos with metallic paint.

Our friendly goliaths in the oil and gas industry have not discouraged the near extinction of the service station wash job. Heaven forbid a missed sale of ten gallons of gas because some poor conscientious soul was concentrating on a Brillo pad and a white wall smudge. Yet a faithful few have not abandoned us to the world of whirling brushes and sputtering water guns. Here are some service stations that still give old-fashioned, elbow-bending car washes:

At 4401 Lovers Lane, at Armstrong, Sarge’s Exxon will give your average-sized car a hand wash, inside and out, beginning to end, for $4.50. Station wagons are more. Sarge says his Park Cities clientele still insists on the old-fashioned wash because the automatic washers don’t get the bugs off. Appointments are necessary for weekend or pre-holiday washes. Polish jobs are $22.50, more if there’s a lot of tar.

Soto’s Mobil Service Center seems to have mixed emotions about car washing, at least in the winter. At the 3100 W. Mockingbird location, a winter wash runs $7.50 compared to $5 in the summer. They say they have to pay more in the winter to entice the driveway hands away from the fire. Polish jobs run $25 and up, depending upon the paint, steel gray being the hardest to revive.

Canyon Creek Mobil, 2717 Custer Park-way, is no fair weather friend. They will wash your car whether the temperature is 20° or l20° for the same price. Average sized autos are $5; vans and wagons, $6. Hand powered soap-and-water guns are used, but so are elbows and chamois.

J. H. Holloway has been washing cars at his Mobil station at 2001 Abrams, next to Lakewood Country Club, for 30 years and sees no reason to stop now. He uses a pressure washer, then mitts the car down by hand. $4.50 for regular car washes, $5.50 to wash a wagon, $12.50 for engine cleaning, and $25 to $50 for polishing. Holloway says the chamois he once paid a couple of bucks for now costs $9.

In Oak Cliff, Horace Porche offers a “perfection wash” at his 3633 W. Led-better Texaco station for $5,50¢ more for wagons. Polish jobs are $25. Porche says there is not much money in wash jobs anymore, but to him full service means just that. They don’t wash on real cold days though.

John Williams Exxon, at 9222 Carpenter Freeway, has about the best price in town on hand washes – $4 for the average car. They don’t wash when it gets down to 36 or 37 degrees, and you’ll have to leave your auto since this is a very busy operation. Polishing is $15 to $40.

To the south on 135 E at the Pleasant Run exit, on the line between Lancaster and DeSoto, Gene Lilley’s Texaco offers year round washes for $5, powered by two semi-eager teenaged boys. When questioned as to power equipment one of them looked somewhat bewildered, then confessed that they do occasionally use a nozzle on the end of the hose.

In Fort Worth, Ballard’s Exxon, 8761 South Freeway at Everman Road, charges $4.50 for a wash, except for tarred autos which are $8.50. An electrically powered soap and spray gun is combined with hand mitting and wiping. Washing goes on year round, regardless of temperature. Polishing is $15.

For one of the most expensive wash jobs in the area, motor to Ridgmar Exxon, 2000 Ridgmar Blvd. in Fort Worth. $7.50 for small cars to $15 for vans. The whole job is done strictly by hand and takes about two hours. Car washing goes on winter and summer but only if you get in by 11 a.m. on the day you want a wash. Polishing is $30 to $40.