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How to Prepare a Car For a Show

Updated: Jun 1, 2022



The summer show season is well underway and, even though the weather can be dicey from one day to the next, most of us just can't wait to get out there. But, with so many events now on the horizon, what's the best way to get your car blazingly fresh for those all-important displays? After all, when it comes to the shows, it's all about looking your best, right?

The thing to remember here is that there is two steps to perfect your vehicle for a show — The detail you perform at home beforehand, and the preparation and finishing you complete once you arrive at the event.

The question at hand: How do you pull your car together to look its best when being stared down and analyzed by every showgoer that walks by? And what are some quick and simple finishing techniques that you can use to make sure your car is at a higher standard than the others?

That’s where we come into help… Because if there’s one thing we know how to do, that’s creating some badass finishes for your vehicle.


Now it doesn’t matter if you have a full-blown show car or you have a daily driver you’d like to show off and display. The preparation before the event is the absolute, most important part of making your car as glossy as can be. The basic premise to be understood here is to make sure your car - especially the paintwork - is to the standard you're looking for before you leave for the event.

There’s 4 things that you’re going to need for this journey — safe & proper washing, decontamination, polishing/paint correction, and lastly, protection. Each step here is vital to the final finish of your vehicle when you arrive to the show.

First things first, from top-to-bottom, don’t forget your interior and engine bay. The condition of your paintwork, or indeed how far you'd like to dive into full-correction, will also dictate the time you'll take and the amount of work involved in your preparation.

Once you get past that first preparation detail we have a few extra tips - to make life easier, give maximum aesthetic results, and make your car far easier to prepare for the next one!


When it comes to finishing your paint work, after any correction/polishing, whether it be a light enhancement polish to a full stage correction, one thing is for sure. That is that you will need to apply protection, not just for the durability benefits but also for the appearance benefits.

Yes you could use a wax, but let’s be real here, wax is going to last maybe a couple weeks then BAM, it’s gone. So the correct answer for protection would be going with a sealant or a ceramic coating (Quick tip: a ceramic coating will inevitably give you the most amount of gloss, while also lasting for YEARS). this protective layer is designed specifically to shield your paintwork from the elements, stopping the majority of grime from sticking, beading off water, and making the car easier to clean when you get to your show.


This is where our maintenance starts, the amount of time spent here will depend on the condition of your car on arrival, and how well your protection did at keeping the dirt and grime away.

It’s worth noting that any vehicle that's extremely contaminated will need a full maintenance wash, no matter the level of protection. There are no shortcuts in keeping heavily soiled paintwork swirl-free, if your car looks like it needs a pre-wash and two bucket contact wash, it probably does. (Use common sense).

For light contamination though - say, after a reasonable drive in a fully protected vehicle - safe maintenance and finishing to an immaculate show car standard is a simple case of using the correct products and processes.


Generally speaking, the areas that will be most affected by your drive will be the lower halves, wheels, and possibly front bumper fo you encountered any bugs on the way. These areas will be saved for last to limit any contamination to other parts of the vehicle. But, of course, you're still going to need to give the whole car a good once-over to rid all surfaces of any dust you picked up on the way.

For this, you’re going to need to be using a waterless wash product of your choice (NOT A SPRAY WAX). This product will safely encapsulate any dirt, lifting it off of the surface making you less likely to create any marring or swirls in your finish. This can be used on any painted surfaces, as well as plastic trim.

Proper procedure: Wipe in straight line motions, using multiple 300+ GSM towels, making sure to flip to a new side with every side. Make sure that you spray enough product to provide adequate lubrication, and to safely remove any contaminates.

If you have heavy dirt and debris, it is best to let it be until a contact wash can be done. It will not be worth it to swirl and install marring into your surface, ruining your finish.


Your cars not perfect till the shoes are shined, right? If your tires were dressed before you left and they are still to a good standard, then move on from this step. But, if your tires are looking a little grubby.

Take your tire cleaner of choice, then by spraying directly onto an old microfiber towel, work the product into the sidewalls to physically wipe away any grime. This process negates the need for rinsing afterwards and, most importantly, fully cleanses the rubber surface, allowing your tire dressing to adhere properly. This not only makes the most of the "look' of your dressing, but helps to stop it slinging when the wheel is in motion.


There is nothing worse than having a dialed in car, then checking out the windows and they are smeary and unpleasant. Simply put, this can either make or break your ride.

Check out our glass cleaning blog post HERE


Nobody wants to be the one with the blazing exterior finish, then you open the door to a catastrophic interior. Say you have some dust that has accumulated throughout the interior, take your favorite detail spray or waterless wash, and give your dash, door panels, and center console a good wipe down to finish off your look.


Lets Work!

If you want to have the best finish possible at your next car event, check out our services to see how we can make your glossiest dreams a reality.

Check us out on all platforms !


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