How to Prep for Summer Car Shows

Many people look forward to the summer for the longer days, warmer nights, and ample opportunities to spend time at the beach. If you drive a classic or custom car, however, your summer may be full of car shows, and you’re probably ready to get out and showcase your ride. Before you head out for the summer car show circuit, it’s important to ensure that your vehicle will attract compliments and admirers, not smirks and derision. Getting your vehicle ready for summer show season doesn’t have to take weeks or break the bank.

Here are some quick tips for effectively and easily getting your vehicle ready for summer car shows.

Clean your engine and everything under the hood. People are going to want to look at your engine as well as the outside of your car. Doing this process first ensures dirt, dust and other detritus like grease won’t get on your freshly cleaned car. Use towels, sheets or newspaper to protect tires and windows from both grease and degreaser. Ideally, your engine will be so clean it will look like it just rolled out of a dealership when you’re done.

Wash and carefully dry your car. First things first. Get the dirt from recent drives or the dust from storage off of your vehicle by washing it. Rinse the car off with a hose and then a cleaner designed for your vehicle. Do not use dish soap. Use a sponge or special mitt that won’t damage or scuff the finish on your car, and start with the wheels. Once the wheels are clean, start with the roof and work your way down. Empty the water whenever it gets dirty. Use a chamois or high-quality microfiber towel to dry your vehicle. Look for any spots or other surface issues and carefully brush and buff them off. You may want to use a clay bar or an abrasive polish to get rids of these problem spots.

Wash your windows with automotive glass cleaner. Household cleaners won’t do the best job. They could leave streaks or other issues because they aren’t formulated for use on vehicles. You want your windows to sparkle and be streak-free when you’re done.

Wax your car. This is a project for in the shade, ideally in a garage or under a carport. The sunlight can dry the wax too quickly by heating up your paint. That can cause hazing, which will make your finish look imperfect and unattractive. Put the wax on small sections, in thin layers. Buff the area after application with a clean, dry towel. Apply tire dressing once the tires are completely dry.

Clean the inside of your car, too. This should include your trunk and even the inside of the gas tank door. Remove and clean your floor mats and any seat covers you use. Collect and dispose of all trash, including old air fresheners or insurance slips. Clean all the hard surfaces, from the steering wheel to the dashboard. Vacuum all carpeted and upholstered areas. Dust and air out the interior, and then add an air freshener to ensure your car is a pleasure to drive.  Replace the mats and cleaned seat covers.

Restore any parts that need attention. If your ride needs restorative work done before the summer car show season, we’re here to help. From paint to body work, our team will help you get your car into top shape for all shows this summer.


To learn more about Interstate Autobody and Truck or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, visit our website today!

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