Our Cars – Giving the Peugeot 205 a long-needed wash

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[Echoing Jeff’s piece on keeping care of higher end machinery, here are my thoughts on keeping my humble econobox looking presentable, instead of bringing down the property values in this neighbourhood. Then again, as I live in the absolute center of this town, it might not be a bad idea to bring them down a notch.]

When’s the last time you’ve washed your old cheap runabout? The wintertime is cantankerous in that way, you often tend to go weeks without getting the accumulated cack off your daily driver. Freezing temps aren’t ideal carwash weather, even if snowy days do not dirty it up too much either, but at a couple degrees °C the salty slushy dirt just flies and attaches to the once-pristine flanks. And it’s not too good in the nooks and crannies, either.

Tonight, I decided to pony up the required tenner and drive my Peugeot 205 through the nearest Shell carwash, a decision helped by the fact that after 9PM it’s “Happy Hour” over there and all the wash programs are 50% off. And since you guys haven’t seen an update on the 205 front for some time now, it’s more than apt I slap on a couple of photos.

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I have to admit, the idea of doing a carwash-related update only occurred to me while the cycle had already started. This means no “before” pictures, but imagine I hadn’t hosed the Peugeot down for ages. In fact, the last time I had washed it was in October, before it went in for a head gasket swap and stayed indoors for three months.

But that’s another story, and coincidentally one relayed in the Finnish-language classic car magazine I write for as my day job; the mag gets monthly updates on how the 205 is doing. Anyway, the car runs like a champ these days, and the amount of oil in the coolant has been drastically reduced. Smiles on faces have been drastically widened. Man, it’s quick.

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If I visited carwashes more often and had a car with a better condition paint job (in fact, the Polo does have one), I would choose a brushless wash. But those don’t really get the tougher stains out, and with a white car there’s always some residue. Most often I spray the car down with some pre-wash solution, to lessen the chance of finding insistent stains left on the car. But the stuff cannot be left to dry or freeze on it, as that only gives me another stain to worry about.

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It’s always a roller coaster ride when you drive a tiddly little box of a car into a carwash. My 518i didn’t sway much when washed, but boy, does this thing rock and roll. The power jets spraying down the panels are loud as anything, and the antenna bangs on the roof. Yes, I had to leave it on as it doesn’t come off without tools. My best bet is to just press it down as flat as it can go, and hope for the best. The machine usually picks it up, but doesn’t bend it.

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Still, I was happy to notice not a lot of seals let water in. The sole disappointment was the passenger side rear window bottom seal, as there was a noticeable trickle down the plastic. Shame on you.

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This is the Philips head unit still producing tunes. It’s hardly high-end, but somehow it fits the rest of the car quite well.

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Here’s the courtesy set of wet wipes provided by Shell. It’s a little disconcerting, that the toughest stains that the wash itself can’t remove come off fairly easily using the “Clean Hands” wipe. As for the other ones, they come in quite handy over time.

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Also, this is somewhat related to my other little white car: the service station had Bosch windshield wipers on sale, so I picked a pair that fits the Polo. It’s probably optimistic, but fixing up a car is all about the little things, isn’t it?

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Here we go! Looking fresh as a daisy again. I might be buffing the paintwork and detailing the bumpers come springtime, and the summer steelies will get a new coat of paint during their time off the car. Right now it runs on rusty black steelies, covered up with a set of Peugeot 306 wheeltrims.

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And you know what, the French electrics might have played in my favour after the wash. The formerly dead plate lights are now 50% operational.

And as I had dried the door seals to improve my changes to successfully enter the car in the morning, I jumped in and switched on the Philips stereo. Genesis blared out of the speakers, and with a blink of the indicators I was out on the streets in my clean white 205 XS, fit to face another day. Next morning.

[Images: Copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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