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Before starting any car-care project,
remove all jewelry, which might
Car show quality means every
surface is clean.
Make sure you have the right tools
for the job.
Properly cleaning classic cars means
every nook and cranny must be
Toothbrushes with nylon bristles
are perfect for cleaning spoke
Q-tips can reach in between door
gaps around the interior molding.
Vacuum before washing your car so
you're not blowing dirt over a freshly
cleaned car, and you're not pulling
the vacuum cord through puddles
and aren't vacuuming mud
Make sure you clean the engine
before you wash the rest
of the car.
This will ensure that any dirt
and grease that lands on your
car during engine compartment
cleaning will be washed off during
the initial rinsing and car washing.
Spectators will want to have a look
at the engine and undercarriage
of your car, so make sure you
give them a thorough clean.
Cover your ignition wires so they
don't get wet.
Warm up the engine.
Before cleaning, wet everything
down, including fenders
adjacent to the compartment.
Don't get hood insulation wet if
your car has one.
If your car doesn't have a hood insulation,
degrease and wash underside of hood
last to keep the degreaser from dripping
on you while you are working
under the hood.
Spray the engine compartment
But be careful of the sensors
and other electrical
Include the engine block, fire walls,
fender wells, hood hinges and
Wait a few minutes for the
degreaser to work.
While you are waiting, degrease
the door hinges.
Simply, open the door, spray one hinge
with degreaser and carefully flush off
Be careful not to get the interior of
the car wet.
Repeat the procedure on each
Now back to the engine.
It should be ready to be flushed
off with water by using
First start with the underside of the
hood, then move on to the block,
the fire wall and fender wells.
Inspect area for any remaining
Apply degreaser and flush again if
Blow dry if you have an air
And last, spray compartment with
a water based dressing.
classic car owners
open their hoods to show off their
show quality chrome, mirrors, and
perfect sparkle, unaware that
spectators and judges alike are
turned off by rusty manifolds.
Buy some manifold dressing to
easily make an engine of difference.
Hood latches discolor
Spray clean, dry, and then apply
your manifold dressing.
While you have the touch ups out,
see how many other nuts, bolts,
and latches you can restore to
a new look.
Next examine the fan blades
for discoloration or spots missing
Grab your paint pen and touch
Or if you have time, spray paint
Don't forget to check out the
radiator from the engine side.
Those pesky bugs sometimes
heat pressure themselves, and you
need to squirt them heavily with
your cleaner to gently remove
All the wire and hoses need to
cleaned, and a fresh "brand new"
The tire spray stuff (black magic)
applied onto a rag, might remove
a lot of dullness is a hurry.
Wash your wheels first to prevent
contamination from cleaners,
brake dust, and dirt from being
spattered back onto the body
around the wheel opening areas
as you rinse.
After washing your wheels / tires,
then empty your water
The buildup of dirt on the
wheels will collect grit that can
cause scratches if this water
is used on the paintwork.
With your hose at a fairly high
pressure, spray down the wheel
Often they have turned a bit gray
from road wear and tear.
Flush wheels with water to
remove loose dust.
Spray a wheel cleaner on
(Don't spray on dry, hot wheels
Let stand according to the
directions on the product.
Flush with lots of water.
Repeat if necessary.
Do not apply any
cleaner, where you "Spray
and walk away".
All you are doing is putting a shiny,
temporary coating on dirt and
To help clean wheels, and especially
lug nuts, use a soft-bristle
But put electrical tape on the
metal of the brush to prevent
Spray Whitewall Cleaner on tires.
Brush with a Nylon or Brass
Next, flush with water and flush out
the fender well.
Move to next wheel, repeat the
process if necessary.
To protect wheels from over-spray when
applying protectants to the rubber,
make a "wheel mask" out of cardboard.
Cut a circle of corrugated cardboard to
the diameter of your wheel rim so
it fits snugly.
Cut two 5-inch clots about
1 - 1 1/2 in.
apart in the center of the cardboard
to serve as a handle.
Cover the cardboard with duct tape to
make it waterproof and durable.
After cleaning your tires,
let them dry completely
before applying a dressing.
The rest of
the car is next.
Hose off the entire car before you
begin washing the exterior.
Spray down the car for about 2 minutes,
take a short break and spray your
car with water again.
This helps cool off warm metal and
softens up and rinses away
any lose debris that could
scratch the paint.
Don't wash your car in direct sunlight,
especially on a hot day and
Hot metal will cause water
droplets to dry much faster, which
can leave water spots on the paint.
Choose a cool and shady place.
If this is not possible, try washing
in the early morning or late
Always start washing and
rinsing from the top down.
If you're using a car wash shampoo
that contains natural oils,
remember to rinse frequently
and well so those oils aren't
allowed to dry on the car
It's also a good idea for your
final rinse to be done without the
use of a spray nozzle; let the rinse
water flow freely and sheet off
Wet down the entire car to avoid staining
of painted surfaces.
Spray All Purpose Cleaner and
scrub with Wheel brush and
Rinse with plenty of water.
Again, wet down the entire painted
Repeat process and rinse.
Some areas may need repeated
Don't use too much car-wash concentrate
in your bucket of water or it will leave
a filmy residue on the glass.
Find a quality chrome polish and
use it every time you wash
Before you attempt to remove any
rust on the chrome, clean dirt
and debris from the metal using
the car wash soap.
This helps you locate and access
rusty areas more easily.
Use a chrome polish for removing
rust, this will make removal
quick and easy.
Chrome will fail if not polished.
Even the oil from a fingerprint is
enough to cause a blemish if
left long enough.
Apply a coat of polish or wax on the
chrome to prevent rust from
forming in the future.
Always polish/wax your car in
Sunlight can make removing your
polish/wax very difficult and can
even result in additional damage
to your car's finish.
And high surface temperatures
will cause waxes to dry too fast
causing hazing and streaking.
Apply wax in as thin a coating
as possible, and use a Microfiber
towel as a final wipe.
Wash your waxing pads and towels
with a liquid fabric softener to reduce
the chance of scratching body panels
during the next wax or polish.
Hard water spots often can be removed
with a soft terry-cloth towel dampened
with white vinegar.
When removing wax or polish, use a soft
towel and shake it out frequently to
shed dried wax.
It is better to use more speed
than pressure because excessive
pressure can cause abrasion
and scratches in the paint.
In drying your car, use a non-abrasive
material such as a 100% cotton towel
It must be a real deluxe chamois,
not the one from the dollar store that
feels like sandpaper.
Drying includes lifting the hood and
deck lid, and opening the doors to
get the interior surfaces where water
Then take your vehicle once around the
block to air-dry.
After you car is cool and dry,
look to for swirl marks, scratches and
any other imperfections.
For a dull and
use a Clear-Coat Body Scrub.
Apply the body scrub at one
section at a time.
After is has hazed over (about 5-8
minutes depending on humidity and
temperature ) wipe of in circular
motions with a high quality 100%
Remember to always be turning
over the towel and using a clean
side at all times.
This is a good time to gently rub
the finish with your hand to see
if it smooth as silk.
If you are not satisfied with the finish you
can reapply the body scrub to get the
If you have light swirl marks and
light scratches, use a Professional
Apply it in the same manner that
you applied the Body Scrub.
Do one section at a time and completely
remove all residues of the swirl remover
Next, apply the
polish, this creates
a deep gloss.
Use either a Show Car Glaze or
a Deep Crystal Polish.
Apply the polish while working it
into the finish.
The more you work polish into a
finish, the more of a shine you
Take your time, and work one section
at a time.
Use a clean 100% Cotton Towel at all
times so not to scratch the surface
you worked hard to achieve.
Apply 2-3 coats of polish to get
the “show car” quality finish.
Wax is applied to the surface to
protect your work.
The best way to apply wax is in
Apply 2 or 3 coats and wiping off
with a 100% Cotton Towel.
If you get wax around the car's name
badge, lettering or in crevices your
soft towel won't reach, remove it with a
soft bristle toothbrush or
If your car has a clear-coat finish,
waxes and polished won't increase
color richness or depth because
that top coat has no color.
But you can improve surface gloss
by filling in the swirls and hairline
scratches with wax or polish.
Don't use a professional-type electric
buffer with two handles at 90-degree
angles because they spin at 2600 rpm or
more and can burn through the paint.
Rub cream leather conditioner into
the seats with your hands,
like a skin lotion, because cloth
soaks up the conditioner
and wastes too much.
Paint oxidizes with time and will
eventually dull and dissipate
all of which can be avoided
with a little care.
All paints contain ‘oils’ that are
These oils are depleted by sunlight,
oxygen, air borne pollutants and
Wash your car on a regular
basis with any commercial, liquid
car wash product.
Never use household detergents,
as they will strip the necessary oils
from your paint.
Replenish your paint by using a
quality polish and/or wax.
If selecting a product for a clear
coated finish, it is essential that
the product be free of all abrasives
which will quickly dull the gloss
effect of the clear topcoat.
Generally applying a good product
to your car’s finish every 2 to 3
months is enough to keep it in
Find everything you missed:
Open up the gas bay door.
Clean it well, and throw
the rag away.
Then, clean the license plate.
Third, check all emblem areas,
and shoot some spray cleaner
on your paint brush (or q-tip)
to touch up edges and crevices.
Fourth, Spiff up behind the mirrors,
under the chrome bumpers,
around the window trim,
inside the hood grooves, and
elsewhere as needed.
Now what about all the rusty
and discolored bolts you may
Too late now to remove and
Pick up some "point saving"
black and silver paint pens
at the hobby shop.
A couple dabs here and there
will make nuts and bolts look
Last step is back to the grill area.
Sit down and stare at the radiator.
How did all those bugs get there?
Use cleaning spray, a small taped
handle paint brush, and a couple
toothpicks to very carefully dislodge
all those nasty bugs.
car can still accumulate
dust and dirt even at the
show, so bring a couple
of soft cleaning cloths to wipe
your car with in between visits.
Buff the surface every now
and then to bring out that
mirror-like shine and impress
onlookers and judges even more.
Remember upon arrival
at the show,
to brush off any pebbles that may
have accumulated on the bottom
edge of the wheel wells.
Always Carry a Detail Spray to
the car show so that you can
quickly and easily get your
car looking fresh.