Bathtime for the Citroën BX

3 min read

Its become almost an annual tradition to give the Citroën BX a wash. Maybe a little less than annual, for the simple reason that after bathtime for the BX occurs, a break down quickly occurs. Last year it was the week before the CCC National Rally, I managed to travel nearly 5miles before the breakdown. Let’s see how we get on this time!

Pre-Wash, Soak and Hand Scrub

There is another reason I wash a car but once a year, it takes for ever and never lasts long. I also find extra scratches and dents every time. I’m also not very good at it. The chances of me having two buckets to do the ‘two bucket’ method with are pretty slim. I do however apply some pre washing. Typically a good blast with the pressure washer, followed by a snow foam soak while I get a brew.

After the pre-wash and snow foam soak and rinse!
After the pre-wash and snow foam soak and rinse!

Even after the pre-wash and snow foam rinse, there is still a huge amount of filth on the car. The bucket shot above is after just one side has seen the sponge. I tend to use Autoglym products, the basic wash, polish and super-duper high gloss resin gold plated whatever it is. I find the initial results far better than Fairy and unlike some products, the finish lasts for more than one shower.

A Years Worth of Scratches

Despite the car only usually doing around 300 miles between washes, it doesn’t half pick up a lot of minor scratches. It’s had the surface mechanically cut back a few times over the years, enough that I’m too scared to do it again and hit the paint. There’s also some seriously pink bits on the car that I tend not to post pictures of.

Second stage of polishing
Second stage of polishing

So I’m pretty much left with applying vast quantities of polish to try and plug those scratches until the following year. I usually use the two-stage polish approach with the Autoglym Super Resin Polish, followed by the High Gloss Polish ( I think this is now ‘Extra Gloss Protection’). The first stage is straight forward, apply, leave, buff. The second stage takes a little more patience. To get an even finish there is a sweet spot as the polish dries to start buffing out. I also cheat and only do the GFRP panels and the roof!

Half a Days Work Well Spent?

I’ve always wondered if the annual bathtime for the BX is really worth the effort. It’s a half-day of being wet to make a road-going car a little bit cleaner. Surely there is more to life. But then I start doing it, and I find washing a car tedious and relaxing at the same time. I use the rationale that I’m protecting the car’s paintwork from the elements, for a whole year!

Bathtime over and a nice shiny car
Bathtime over and a nice shiny car

Then I get the the finished point and actually, despite all the blemishes, she does scrub up rather well. There is trim missing from the bumper, no lacquer left on the wheels and almost as many chips in the body kit as there are fish in the sea. I think this full clean version of the car may be why I still like it, and I always get a comment or two once it’s done.

Does it last? Did it Break?

A bathtime result is only as good a water beading picture, and this one suggests it’s had a pretty fine scrub. This is only a few days after the polish went on, but a month later the car’s still looking clean despite being the regular(ish) commuter.

Water beading bliss
Water beading bliss

And why has it taken a month to regale you with the story of this years annual wash-a-thon? Well, it’s not broken down. The first wash in many years that hasn’t instantly resulted in the car being laid up for a 6-month stint!

And next year I can run the bathtime roulette again!


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