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Shine On – Getting Your Ride Ready for Show Season

Spring is here, and with it comes another car show season. Whether you are planning to attend a local show, cruise night, or the Concours d'Elegance you want your car to look the best. Here are some tips that we’ve used over the years to make sure we have a shine above the rest.

Step 1: Clean the engine compartment. We use a small air tool called the Tornador ( to spray on a mixture of engine degreaser, waterless car wash, and water to clean it up real nice. After I’m done, I spray on some Stoner More Shine Less Time to get the shine back on the hoses and other non-metal pieces. A little chrome cleaner on the rest and it looks like new. We always do this step first so any splatter can be washed away.

Step 2: Wash and rinse the car. We’ve had excellent results with Pearl Nano waterless car wash. Its very easy to use, even in direct sunlight, and a little goes a long way. This will remove all the grease and grime from the car and leave the finish with a nice clean coating and ready to wax. If you have any water spots, some Pearl Nano Water Spot Killer will make them go away for good.

Step 3: Clean the wheels and rims. The Tornador works great here as well, but you can also get away with a sponge and wheel brush. We like to use the waterless car wash here too or Pearl Nano Perfection X wheel cleaner. Whatever cleaner you choose, make sure it’s a non-acid cleaner. If you have white walls or raised white letter tires, we use a grill brush to get them pearly white. When you’re done, polish the rims and add some tire shine.

Step 4: Its time to clay bar and wax. This is best done in the shade and once the car is all dry. I’ve picked up a few Meguires clay bars at swap meets and they seem to work the best. We’ve also had great luck with the Pearl Nano Max Perfection wax. Not only does it fill in tiny scratches and imperfections, but it doesn’t streak and leaves a gorgeous deep shine.

Step 5: Next up is the interior. I’ll wipe down all surfaces with a lightly damp cloth, use a small brush to clean the cracks and crevices, and then add some shine to everything. The Pearl Nano tire gel actually does a nice job here too, and Croftgate Rejuvenator is also an excellent choice. Both are not water based and leave a deeper shine and last longer without attracting so much dust and pollen as Armorall. I’ll then vacuum the seats and carpets, following by a light shampooing and scrubbing, and then one final vacuum. If you have leather, Meguires leather treatment will make it shine like new! Don’t forget to detail the trunk and weather-stripping!

Step 6: Glass! I actually do my glass differently than many. First, we wipe it down with a lightly damp cloth. On the interior, I just use that lightly damp cloth and I go over it with a dry cloth to get it clean and streak free. This will keep excess detergents off the glass and it will be less prone to fogging up. On the outside, I use the Max Perfection wax to clean up the window. My glass comes out crystal clear every time!

Final Step: A good once over – just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. We all do, I usually forget to shine up the chrome exhausts.

Now’s a good time to stock up on your show supplies for the season. There’s a number of places you can go to get great deals this time of year on supplies: – If you love the Pearl Nano as much as I do (or want to try it) this is the best place to get it, along with many other detail supplies. – I highly recommend this air tool, which implies of course you’ll need a decent air compressor to use it. You can use it for so much more than detailing your engine – it works on wheels, undercarriage, and even the interior. – Amazon has lots of supplies too, such as the Stoner sprays, Meguires, and even sells the Tornador. Plus you can buy degreaser and carpet cleaner at gallon bulk pricing and save.

In addition to the above, the Englishtown Spring Swap Meet is a great place to get some supplies too, especially the clay bars, brushes, and other detail tools.

We hope to see you out at some shows this season, and that your car shines better than it has before!

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