How to Detail Your Car at a Show Like a Pro in Minutes

Throughout the course of our business, we have the opportunity to
attend many car shows to demonstrate and market our products. The shows
that we go to might be a casual cruise-in, a local or a national meet.
Regardless of the type of show - there is always one thing that stands
out - a nicely detailed car!

Your ride might be a "driver", a concourse-quality "trailer-queen"
or even a racecar. No matter what you drive, there is no doubt that a
detailed car that "pops" grabs your attention. And who doesnt like to
drive a nicely detailed car? And if you are a gear-head like me, yes I
have a great job!

Some of these shows are meant to be just "fun", while others are
highly competitive. For example at the Mid America Truck show they have
a show and shine. All of these "Big Rigs" are working trucks. The
judges actually use white gloves! These guys even wax the inside of the
frame rails - and detail the tires inside the tread. I couldnt fathom
such detail until I attended the event last year with our Canadian
distributor Stephane Gauthier who is well known in the Big Rig Show and
Shine circuit. They start detailing their rigs the week before the

Assuming that you dont have a week to dedicate to detailing and
staging a car at a show and the judges arent using white gloves, I
will attempt to share with you tips and techniques for prepping your
ride on site at the show. Now, your car might never see water and be
towed to the event in an enclosed trailer, or it might be a cruiser and
you drive it - the process is about the same - and can look equally
nice - its all in the details!

Lets assume that we are starting with a fairly clean surface -
there is no sense in putting wax and dressings on dirty, soiled or
otherwise contaminated surfaces.

Start with the exterior. Think of detailing your vehicle like
painting a room - always start from the top down. The reason for that
is if there is any overspray from wax or dressings, you can catch them
as you work your way down the surfaces of the vehicle.

If you have a convertible or vinyl top, its time to dress it! Lets
talk a little about dressings here. For the most part, there are
basically two kinds of dressings for vinyl, rubber and plastic - they
all are either water based or solvent based. You will want to use
solvent based dressings for the exterior of your ride - solvent based
dressings wont wash right off and fall apart like water-based
dressings will, and in my opinion give a richer, deeper luster. As
well, a solvent based dressing, like our Super Blue will do a better
job for conditioning and UV protection.

I always suggest dedicating an applicator to your solvent-based
dressing. The reason for this is that you want to do this as
efficiently as possible and minimize any clean up of overspray. Start
with spraying small amount of dressing on the applicator and wipe the
entire top from front to back. Now - this is where some people stop and
they get streaky-looking results. To eliminate this - repeat the
process going from side to side, front to back. This crisscross
technique ensures even coverage and eliminates any chance of getting
those dreaded streaks when it dries.

If you dont have a convertible or vinyl top, start with a quick
detailer / spray wax and a clean microfiber towel on the roof surface.

Before you begin, lets talk a little bit about your quick detailer
/spray wax and microfiber towel. To get optimum results, you will want
to use a quick detailer / spray wax that will not streak. Some will,
given the humidity and temperature when they are applied - the bottom
line is you want to enhance the appearance of your ride - not add
smears or streaks. Also look for a quick detailer / spray wax that
contains a small amount of carnauba - as an added benefit you will also
be extending the protection of any existing wax you have on your ride.
We also recommend using a clean microfiber towel dedicated to this

When using your quick detailer / spray wax - a little goes a long
way. Just spritz the product lightly. Other than adding more protection
and "pop" to your surface, it will also serve as a lubricant helping to
safely float off dust and grime. Our natural tendency is if this much
is good, more is better, right? Just like me with laundry detergent -
wrong! All you end up doing is wasting product and making a mess.

The reason that we recommend a microfiber is that if used correctly,
it will not scratch the surface of your ride. Dont treat the
microfiber towel like sandpaper - wipe gently, turning the towel over
frequently - let the towel do the work. You wont be adding any more
shine or luster my rubbing hard, and even a microfiber can scratch your
paint if you rub hard enough. Just by turning the towel over frequently
and wiping off any excess it will easily collect any dust, road grime
or bug splatters. I usually concentrate on a concentrate on a 2-foot by
2-foot area at a time - the old cliché applies here - inch-by-inch
lifes a cinch! Do your entire surface of the roof.

Next, lets move down to the glass with your quick detailer / spray
wax. Now, some of these products dont work well on glass, but the good
ones will, like our Body Shine Showroom Spray Wax. Spritz a little on
the glass surfaces, then wipe with a microfiber towel. The microfiber
will make it a snap to clean up any contaminants like bug splatter if
you drove to the show, and they are highly absorbent to suck up any
excess detail spray. Your quick detailer / spray wax will make your
windows "pop"!

Now is the time to start with the front part of your ride. Start at
the hood and continue to work your way down. After the hood is wiped
off, I move to the front of the vehicle. Repeat the same process,
paying particular attention to the nooks and crannies of the grill and
other trim of the car, including the headlights and grill.

Staying with the front part of your ride, I then start on the front
fenders. Repeat the same process. Dont worry about any vinyl, rubber
or plastic trim; I usually save that for last. Ensure that you hit the
chrome with your quick detail / spray wax as well as any painted
surfaces. At this point - take a step back, check it out and admire
your work - things are starting to come together after only a few

Next, move to the back of the vehicle. Start on another big surface
- the trunk lid. After the trunk is done - continue on to the rear of
the vehicle, again doing all painted and chrome surfaces. Next, move on
to the rear quarters. I usually then will do both doors and surfaces in
between the front and back last.

Now is the time that you want to dress the rubber, plastic and vinyl
trim on your ride. Again, I apply the product with an applicator
instead of spraying it on - it saves clean up time. Dont worry or fret
if you get any of the dressing on the adjoining painted or chrome
surface - just wipe it off with your microfiber towel!

After dressing the trim on the body of your ride, move to the wheel
wells. Yes - the wheel wells. Use your dressing to spray under the
wheel wells to get it to look like new. It will easily cover up any
dust or dirt that you might have accumulated driving to the show or
parking at the show and it will look like new! Next hit your tires.
There is nothing better looking than fresh-dressed tires - remember -
it is all about the details!

Again, I suggest dressing wiping the tires with an applicator for
two reasons. First, you will minimize any clean up from overspray.
Secondly, we all have personal preferences about shine and finish -
wiping the product on will allow you to get the exact finish that you
desire - the heavier that you apply it the shinier the surface.

As a last step, use your quick detailer / spray wax and microfiber
towel on your rims/wheels. This last step allows you to wipe up any
excess dressing off your wheels.

Take another break and step back and admire your work. Next - lets look at the interior.

Start with cleaning the interior glass. If needed, use a streak free
glass cleaner and a microfiber towel dedicated to cleaning glass.
Remember to clean up any overspray on the dash and door panels. Using
your microfiber towel, wipe any dust off the dashboard, rear deck lid
and the rest of your interior trim.

After wiping the interior down, open the door and pay attention to
the jambs. Using a quick detailer / spray wax, spritz the surfaces and
collect any grime that might be present.

As a final touch, use an aerosol touch up dressing for hard to reach
places, like our Dash Vent Magic to dress those hard to reach areas
like the conduit that carries wiring for power windows and locks. It
will make them look like new!

Open the hood and trunk and wipe down those compartments. Use your
spray wax / quick detailer if needed. Pay attention to the seams where
the hood and trunk meet the body - on both sides of the panels -
remember - its all in the details!

Grab your lawn chair, get a cold beverage and admire your ride - and watch as everyone else does.

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