Posted by Laura Rivers on March 02 2018
It’s that time of year – grab your rags, take out the trash, pull out some Windex (or maybe some detailer)...it’s time for Spring Cleaning! With car show season approaching, now is the time to prepare your ride to look its best.
One of the most necessary steps to take when preparing your vehicle for the next show is a complete detail on your car. So, here are a few tips that we have come up with in our years of experience to give you a head start on how to tackle this project.
Let’s get started!
This is an area that can be cleaned and stay clean for some time if it’s not being accessed or used regularly, so it’s best to start here.
- First, start with the basics: Pick up trash, vacuum, clean the windows, and wipe/dust the dashboard. There are a variety of products available to clean the dashboard area, as well as any leather interior pieces such as the seats. We're a big fan of Meguiar's car care products.
- If you have any of our stainless steel accessories installed, clean them up with some rubbing alcohol, and then use our Meta Glaze Stainless Steel Dressing polish to give it a nice shiny look.
A shiny engine is all the rage at car shows, and the secret to properly displaying yours is making sure it's gleaming enough to blind your audience.
- First, be sure to get out any loose debris out. Typical areas to look at would be under the wiper cowl, hood hinges, and any other spots where there are nooks and crannies. It can be easier to use an air compressor, car dryer, or leaf blower to get these kinds of things out.
- Second: Use common sense here, you definitely don't want to soak your air filter or douse any sensitive electrical components or get water anywhere near the operative parts of your motor. Wash your engine when it is cold, ideally, when it's been sitting all night and has not been driven. This is not only safer for you, it limits the risk for damage occurring to the engine bay. We will tell you now, it is okay to use a little bit of water on the engine to get it clean, BUT PROCEED WITH CAUTION. We recommend a handheld pump (for low pressure water) containing water and a little cleaner, to slightly spray the engine with.
- Next, wipe the engine down. Go ahead and let the motor run and let the fans and engine heat help you out with the drying process.
- Once it’s clean, it’s time to dry! This is where a car dryer can really come in handy, and can quicken the process.
- Again, if our stainless steel parts are installed, we highly recommend polishing them off at the end, such as with our MetaGlaze, or any other polish that you like to use.
This part is best to save for the last, because dust and grime is very easy to collect in the open air.
- Start with a basic wash. Hose down the vehicle, as well as the sides, edges, trims, creases, and - in particular - the wheels (Speaking of wheels, we highly recommend you check out this interview we did with one of our loyal customers, who gave a very detailed process of how he preps his wheels for car shows).
- After the wash, rinse and - if you are able to do so - dry your car via a car dryer.
- Once the car is dry, check for anything you may have missed and if you don't feel like starting over again with soapy water, apply some washless detailer. We highly recommend Meguiar’s Quik Detailer, which is a polish and detailer all in one. Spray one section at a time, and spread it around using a folded Microfiber Towel. Flip the towel to a dry side and buff the vehicle dry.
- Lastly, wax the paint. We could go in depth here, and perhaps we will in another post! But there's a plethora of choices depending on your type of paint, color and general attitude towards the amount of work you want to do to wax your vehicle.
Once You Are At The Show
After all of that work, washing again seems to be redundant. But you’d be surprised at what can happen in the 20 minutes it takes to transport your vehicle to the show. Set yourself up for success with these final steps:
- Once you’re set up in your spot, check the interior and engine bay one last time, and do any last-minute wipe downs.
- Do a last-minute buff over the exterior to give it a final shine.
- Check the wheels and, if necessary, clean out any grime that may have collected that morning.
We get it, Spring Cleaning is tedious work. But at the end of the day, you can look at all of the fine hard work you have accomplished, and see the job well done in front of you - gleaming its thanks.
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