As we leave April and move into May car show season begins in full force. Entering your first car show and not sure where to start on getting it detailed or maybe just want to see what tips we suggest? First off, don’t go to an automatic wash.
Since that’s out of the way. On to getting your ride clean.
Quick Note: Read all the instructions/directions that come with each product you buy. This can make the difference between an amazing result and a letdown.
- First start with the engine and engine bay. This way, any dirt or grease that lands on the vehicle during cleaning will be washed off during the initial rinsing and car washing. For full instructions on engine bay cleaning check out this article from Jalopnik. Tip! Cover the fender tops with towels to protect them from any harsh degreasers you may use.
- Get it wet. Start with a medium to light spray of water. This will rinse the large dirt and grime particles off before you hit it with a wash mitt. Skip this part and you risk completely wrecking your paint finish.
- Just like waxing, washing should be done in the shade. A hot surface causes both wash and rinse water to evaporate quickly, which leads to spotting and streaking. And nobody likes that.
- Time to bust out the Dawn dish soap. Yea right. If you wash your car with that, please let me know and I will kindly tell you where you can find me when you need to buff the shine back into your paint. Anyway, make sure you are using a soap made for car washing. Our favorite: Griots Spoiler alert: We love Griots products. (Hey Griots, if you wanna send us some free stuff to review we are totally cool with that.)
- Soap delivery. You can use a variety of options to scrub down your car, natural sea sponge, synthetic sponge, or a wash mitt. Important tip: Rinse it first. If you have grit in your sponge or mitt from your last wash, you don’t want to rub it all over your finish.
- Like many things in life, work top to bottom. If your car wash shampoo contains natural oils, you want to rinse frequently and well so those oils don’t dry and cause hazing. Suggestion, your final rinse should be done with the use of a spray nozzle; let the rinse water flow freely and sheet over the finish.
- Time to dry. Whether you prefer a natural chamois or a synthetic version or a Microfiber towel, they all get the job done.
- Play with clay. For anything other than a fresh new finish, a good rub down with a clay bar is the perfect next step after a wash job. Clay bars remove embedded grains of metal, tree sap, airborne environmental deposits, and paint overspray from your car’s finish by grabbing onto them and lifting them off a vehicle’s painted surface. This is a much more preferable way to refresh a finish than buffing with compound, and in many cases just as successful.
- Always use the supplied lubricant with a clay bar product. When used as directed there is no polishing effect on the surface while the bar is grabbing the contaminants. As the bar becomes soiled, just pull, stretch and fold it to expose a fresh surface, and never reuse a clay bar that’s been dropped on the ground. Full steps on how to use a clay bar.
- Wax on, Wax off. Wax vs Polish, what’s the difference? Waxes seal the surface and protect paint. Polishes clean paint using an abrasive, restoring shine and depth. Many companies combine polishes and waxes to enable the product to clean and protect paint in one easy step. Just like before, when waxing, always work in a shaded area. High surface temperatures = haze and streaking.
- Less is more. Apply wax in as thin a coating as possible, and try using one of those Microfiber towel products as a final wipe–you’ll be amazed at the result.
- Put (most of it) away. Store your polishing towels, wax applicators, chamois, etc. in plastic bags to ensure they stay clean and uncontaminated.
- Tires. Always use a dedicated wash mitt for your tires. After cleaning your tires, let them dry completely (at least 30 minutes) before applying a tire dressing. We love Meguiars Tire and Trim Dressing. Dries to the touch and never looks oily. It’s also water based so its good for the environment.
- Shine. One of the easiest ways to polish those fancy chromed or billet wheels of yours is with one of those Mother’s Power Balls – they really are awesome, use one once and you’ll never go back to doing it by hand.
- More shine. Another product recommendation: Mother’s Power Balls–they really are awesome, use one once and you’ll never go back to doing it the old fashioned way.
- Clean those carpets. No matter how careful we are, carpet cleaning is a must if you drive your car frequently. For stubborn stains, use a soft-bristled brush (spouse’s toothbrush works great) to agitate deep down into the carpet’s fibers, using circular, motions. Carpet smell like mildew? Mildew bacteria can be killed and cleaned by using a medium/soft brush and a 4 to 1 mixture of water and ammonia; then rinse with cool water. Finally, blot the damp area with a clean terry cloth towel. Although most spray-on cleaners leave no residue, vacuum again once the carpet is completely dry for best results. Finally, some cleaners also contain a protector, but applying a standalone protector to the newly cleaned carpet will help future stains come out even easier.
- Now to the windows and the last step. We recommend using an automotive glass cleaner versus a household ammonia-based one. Household glass cleaner is not formulated to remove vinyl fog etc. like the automotive version is. Here is another favorite: Sprayway Glass Cleaner.
We hope these tips helped you and if you have any questions please ask!
Now to the best part:
GET TO THE SHOW!
Need a list of car shows in and around the Tulsa area? Here ya go: Car Shows 2017