How to Prepare for a Car Show

by RainF 9. June 2014 04:44

Many of us in the office are huge car fanatics, from classics to the latest and greatest. We can’t get enough of them and we’re always interested in seeing other people’s cars and how they set them up. Most of us are eager to take our cars out of the garage and show them off with other enthusiasts. Car shows are the best opportunity to meet these drivers and see why they did, what they did to their cars.

Before we head to a car show we always want to prepare our cars for show. Much of the preparation can be taken care of beforehand if you’ve done some pre-prep work. The only major things you’ll want to do before you’re at the show is to make the car look as best as it can. You don’t want to show up to a show looking like this car:

Dirty Subaru WRX

Instead, your car should look like this:

Clean NA MX-5 White

To achieve this showroom ready polish you’ll need to detail your car, below we list a quick guide on what you should clean and polish:

Don’t Neglect the Interior

The interior of the car is just as important as the outside look of the car. You’ll want to start by vacuuming the carpet and upholstery, ensure you grab all the random dust and dirt that accumulates in the corners and under the seats. Once you’ve vacuumed your car you should move your attention to your windows. Windex or car glass cleaner work wonders on making your glass be streak-free and be crystal clear. After that you’ll want to wipe down your dash and the rest of your interior items then apply a quick coat of oil soap on those items to help preserve and make them look lustrous.

Washing the Car

Once your interior has been detailed, you just have to clean up the outside of your car to be showroom ready! For this step you’ll need a few items for each process:

Car Wash Items:

  • Car soap
  • Wheel soap
  • Three buckets
  • Access to a water hose
  • Two wash mitten
  • Wheel Brush
  • Microfiber drying towel
  • Tire Shine (water based is preferred)

Take the three buckets and fill one with wheel soap, the other with car soap and the last one with clean water. Fill the soap buckets with the appropriate amount of water as directed on the product’s directions. When you start you’ll want to clean the wheels of your car first, do one wheel at a time from start to finish. This will be pre-rinse, brushing the dirt off with the brush and soap, wiping the wheel with one of the wash mittens with soap and rinsing everything off. It’s important to keep the wheel wash mitten for only the wheels.

Once your wheels have been cleaned, you can start pre-rinsing your car and adding soap to breakdown any dirt or unwanted material on your car. Once the soap has started to breakdown the dirt you can take the other clean wash mitten and start working the soap off the car by spraying water into the mitten as you run it on the car.

When the wash mitten is starting to get saturated with dirt, rinse off the mitten in the clean water bucket to release any dirt it has grabbed. Excess dirt on the mitten can leave micro scratches on the car while you’re working the soap off the car. Once you’ve wiped the car down with the mitten all the dirt should be off the car. This is where you should give your car a final rinse with your hose, making sure all the soap is off the car.

Use the microfiber towel to dry the car and keep streaks off the paint. Once you’ve dried your car add a quick coat of tire shine to the wheels to make your car standout.

Clay Bar and Waxing

This step is what separates a clean car from a showroom ready car. Clay bars clean below the surface of the paint and remove any hard to remove contaminants that a normal car wash can’t. It’s a great thing to do to your car, but it is very time intensive. Clay bars were typically only found in professional car wash shops and dealerships. Now they are readily available for purchase thanks to the internet and car enthusiast around the world.

Claying your car should happen right after you’ve washed and dried your car. This will give the best opportunity to attract all the contaminants under your clear coat.  With your clay kit take a small amount of clay and create a small disk shape about an inch in diameter. Spray clay lubricant on the surface you’re going to rub the clay on. You should only clay small sections of the car at a time or else the lubricant will dry out too fast.

Slide the clay disk back and forth over the lubricated area gently, if clay starts to stick to the car add more lubricant while sliding the clay. Fold the dirty clay surface over and knead till a clean clay surface is formed again. Once you’ve finished claying your area, you should wipe off the excess lubricant with a clean microfiber towel. Repeat this process till the whole car has been clayed.

Once the whole car is clayed, it should look smooth and clean the first day it rolled off the factory. Add a coat of wax on the car to provide a protective layer and ensure the paint will stay pristine.

After all that your car should be ready to wow everyone at the next car show. It prolong your hard work you should always have your car garage kept or at the very list protected under a carport. This will help keep dirt and other debris off your car.

Post Written by Rainier Fuclan
Photo Credit: AhmadHashim & Jean-Jacques MARCHAND via Compfight cc


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