How I wash & detail my Peugeot 203

People often give me compliments about the way my Peugeot 203 shines like a mirror. Pure coincidence that I learned on how to accomplish this.  When I just purchased my Peugeot 203, it soon became apparent that there were technical defects that I could not easily fix myself (due to my “2 left” hands). Because I already was making short trips in the area, I subscribed for roadside assistance. Three days after registration I received a newsletter from this organization that there were places available for a cleaning workshop organized by Meguiars.

So a week later I was in a classroom with 14 other men to learn everything about cleaning and detailing cars according to Meguiars 5-step plan.

I want to share my experience with you all 6 years later. In general, we do everything in the shade or indoors and not in full sun (a wash box is preferred for water collection).


Seems simple, but here it often goes wrong when people use a sponge (retains a lot of dirt) and only 1 bucket (concentrates dirt from the car). The well-known round scratches (swirls) are caused by pieces of dirt and dust that are rubbed over the paintwork of the car during washing.

So preferably, use a car wash hand made of good microfiber (does not hold the dirt) and two buckets with a Grid guard (these ensure that the dirt remains on the bottom of the bucket).

  • First rinse the car with soft running water (also with pressure washer) to rinse away most loose dirt.
  • People using a pressure washer might consider using a foam gun before this rinse step.
  • Use a bucket with car shampoo for washing and a bucket with water only to rinse the washcloth.
  • Do not make circular movements, but go from left to right across the paint in overlapping segments.
  • Rinse the washcloth regularly.
  • After washing, rinse the car again with (clean) water.
  • Dry the car with a car towel or polishing cloth.


Who thinks his car is clean after washing…. is wrong.

After washing and drying, run your finger over the paint. This will not going smoothly, because the paint is still full of adhered surface contamination. We will remove this with the use of a clay bar.

  • I use detailing spray to smooth the clay, in theory it can also be done with water.
  • Knead half of the clay bar into a flat piece of clay that fits in the palm of the hand.
  • Spray a small surface of the lacquer wet and then the clay.
  • Move the clay back and forth over the wet piece of lacquer.
  • If the clay gets dirty you can knead it again until it turns white and continue.
  • After you have done a panel, dry it with a drying cloth to prevent stains and finish the entire car.

After drying you will notice that your finger now suddenly slides over the paint without resistance or feels rough, because the clay really removes all contaminants (tree sap, spray mist, industrial waste, etc.).

If you drop the clay on the ground, do not use it again. You can imagine what a grain of sand can do to your paint. With half a piece of clay, you can easily do 4-5 brushings


Polishing is an optional step between cleaning and waxing the car.

This process is somewhat dependent on the condition of the paint. You will therefore not do this step with every single wash, but once a year or less frequently if there are no imperfections in the paint, such as light scratches / polishing rings. I actually only do steps 2 & 3 once a year when the car comes out of the garage after winter.

Now comes the question whether we are going to do all by hand or with a machine, I have chosen the latter. An eccentric polishing machine to be precise because it is less sensitive to heat and cannot damage the paint. It does have the disadvantage that it works less quickly and efficiently than a rotating polisher.

However you get started, keep in mind that there are different types of polishes available with different degrees of associated polishing pads. Depending on the condition of the paint, finishing polishing can be done in several steps or perhaps not necessary at all.

When I bought my car the paint had fine scratches and swirls, which I removed with a polishing agent Meguiar Ultimate Compound) with a slightly coarser pad. Followed by a polish (Meguiar Ultimate Polish) for cars with dark or dried out paint. I have benefited greatly from this extra polishing step because it contains nourishing oils that give the car its richer, deep wet look on the paint. When I bought the car it had parking damage and swirls all over the lacquer, see results of both these polishing step.

Some tips:

  • Never let the pads touch the ground, so always have a spare pads availible.
  • Place the correct pad on the polisher and spread the agent by placing dots on the pad.
  • Better apply little and do possibly a second round than too much.
  • Set the polishing machine to the lowest setting and work with small areas.
  • Front to back and left to right in a 50% overlapping pattern.
  • Then increase the speed and repeat and continue to speed 4-5.
  • Before moving on to the next segment, brush the area well with a microfiber cloth.
  • Have enough cloths available to rub out.

As mentioned, in theory you do not have to do this step every year, provided that steps 4-5 have been carried out properly the previous year.

Note: Rubber does not like steps 3 and 4, so masking with special tape is an option. Or do it like me, just be careful. You also do not want this stuff on the windows. So never switch on the machine if the pad is not on pressed on the car and do not remove from the paint before the pad has been turned off.

Due to the fact it will splash


After cleaning your paint and applying a polish, the paintwork should be protected with a wax. I cannot recommend a specific wax because there are various types of wax available and one person likes a solid wax and other (like me) likes a liquid wax better. In addition, each type of wax has a different effect. The Meguiar’s Ultimate Wax I use provides enhanced reflection and a deep mirror shine.

As said, a personal thing so read about it or get advice from a representative of the brand of interest. Nowadays you also have cermic seals or glass coatings, but the purpose of them all is the water-repellent effect that protects against oxidation, corrosion, UV rays and deterioration of the paint.

Here also counts:

  • Better apply little and possibly a second round than too much.
  • The paint should definitely not be hot because it dries out quickly and therefore risk of scratches
  • Provide enough cleaning cloths


In this step, think about removing surface contamination such as bird droppings or tree sap before it has had the time to adhere to the paint. If you see dirt, you should actually remove it immediately.

With Ultimate Quik Detailer that I also use for clay,  dust and polutions can be removed from the surface. With waterless car shampoo or more intensive detailer you can wash without water and if the paint is slightly soiled clean without washing the car completely with water as in step 1. Microfibre cloths are also used for this.

It takes some work to go through step 1-5, be sure to count on approxitmalty 10-12 hours before you are finished. After that it is a matter of maintenance (step 5) and washing (step 1) the car every now and then which takes 30-60 minutes. Halfway through the season I often repeat steps 2 and 4 again, especially when we go on holiday by car.

😍 So let it Shine !! 😍


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