How to Prep Your Car for a Car Show - The GYEON Way
Posted by JEFF MCEACHRAN
Your morning alarm goes off, you hear the birds chirping, you see the sunlight peeking through the edges of your bedroom curtains, and it’s a cool 65 degrees outside…It’s car show day! But before you jump in your ride and go speeding off to the venue to set up your lawn chairs, you’ve got some work to do to make sure you’re prepared for everything.
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the do’s and do not's of show prep, as well as giving you tips and tricks to have the best show possible. Let us tell you how to prep your ride the GYEON Way.
The Prep Before the Prep
Now let’s address the most common mistake people make when entering show competitions or just participating in a local cars & coffee…Washing your vehicle just before heading out to a show is a recipe for disaster. Now, before you go up in arms, allow me to explain…
If you wash just before heading to a show, whether you’re at home or at a public pay & spray location, you’re introducing water to all parts of the vehicle, including all of the cracks and crevices that seem to hold onto an infinite water source; this is especially bad because the last thing you want is to arrive at the show with watermarks and drips everywhere that end up drying on the surface. Instead, any washing should be done the day prior – let’s talk a little bit about what that process should look like.
Although it can be debated amongst the community, it’s always best practice to start by cleaning the interior first; working your way out of the car is how I’ve always described it. Starting with the interior eliminates the possibility of any dust or debris making its way onto the paint of the vehicle from the constant vacuuming, doors opening/closing, and eliminates the possibility of tracking water or dirt into the vehicle from the wash stage.
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll assume that your interior is in good condition and is only in need of a touchup. Start by removing any clutter you might have in the car (receipts, water bottles, backpacks, etc.). Once clear of all items, remove the floor mats and vacuum the interior thoroughly. Once complete, you can move on to the wipedown stage. Depending on the surfaces in the interior, you might opt to use only our Interior Detailer, only our LeatherCleaner Mild, or perhaps a combination of both if your interior is multi-surface. What you’re aiming to accomplish here is the removal of any dust or dirt that lives on the surfaces of your interior. Once the interior is complete, we can move on to the exterior wash.
Like any maintenance wash, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got all the products needed to complete a basic maintenance wash – Bathe, Iron Wheel Cleaner, Tire Cleaner, etc.
If you’re interested in a detailed breakdown of the maintenance wash process, keep an eye out for a future blog addressing the topic, but for now, we’ll give a quick synopsis.
Grab your 3 buckets (wash, rinse, and wheels) and fill them all with water – in addition to adding Bathe to the wash bucket, I like to add a few pumps to my wheel bucket as well; it’s going to add some extra slickness and cleaning power to minimize the chances of damaging the wheel.
Start by cleaning the wheels first, as they are going to be the dirtiest part of the vehicle. Once the wheels are complete, you can move onto your foam and hand wash stage. Be sure to not work on hot panels, in direct sunlight, or let any product or water dry on the surface – work in sections if you need to.
If you’ve got an engine bay worthy of showing off, pop the hood, grab a bottle of APC, and be sure to cover and avoid spraying directly onto any electrical connections and components. Dilute APC to your desired level of strength depending on how much dirt/grime need to be removed – spray onto the plastic surfaces and agitate with something like a lug brush or wheel face brush if you have more space to cover. Rinse thoroughly while taking care not to damage any electrical connections or wires.
Once fully washed, be sure to thoroughly rinse the vehicle, paying extra attention to areas like the fuel door or underside mirrors; these areas tend to hide water and soap quite well, so you’ll want to be sure to rinse away all of it to avoid any soap drips drying on the surface.
Now that the interior and exterior have been pre-cleaned, thoroughly dry the surface with a soft and absorbent drying towel such as our Silk Dryer, or using a dedicated car blow dryer like the ones from BLO Car Dryer can be very effective as well – especially on wheels, around badged and grilles, or anywhere that seems to store the obnoxious never-ending stream of water we’ve all experienced once or twice.
That’s it – park the car in the garage and relax for the rest of the night; you’ve got a big day ahead of you!
Wake up, brush your teeth, grab your morning coffee and a bottle of Quick Detailer or Ceramic Detailer because we’ve got some touch-up work to do. This is actually the reason we suggest washing your car the day prior to the show because if there are any water spots, drips, or dirt on the surface, it is easier and better to remove these at home instead of showing up to the car show with water dripping from every panel break and possibly even missed dirt depending on the washing method used.
Go around the vehicle with the detail spray of your choice and touch up any spots that have rested overnight. Additionally, this is the perfect time to clean your glass; there is almost nothing that shows worse than having a clean car with foggy or streaky glass.
Once you’re confident that you’ve got the car looking its best in your garage/driveway, grab your stylish GYEON Detailing Bag and fill it with Tire Express, Tire Applicators, Glass Cleaner, the detail spray of your choice, and a few towels.
Pop in your favorite air freshener, and load up your favorite playlist – you’re ready to head to the show.
Turn the key (or press the button), and feel the vehicle breathe to life…unless you drive a new EV, then I suppose just get in and take a brief moment of meditation in the silence.
Head on down to the venue the show is at and find the perfect parking spot to set up shop. Now before the show begins, you’ll grab your handy-dandy detailing bag that you prepped before to add the final touches.
Now ideally, you should not use any detail sprays once you’ve made it to the show, because depending on the weather and panel temperature, they can turn into a streaky mess that will ruin all of your hard prep work from the day before; instead, we are going to use it as an emergency touch-up only. If you accidentally hit a puddle on the way to the show, or have a spontaneous bird dropping appear throughout the duration of the show, you should only use the detail spray if absolutely necessary.
Moving onto your glass – make sure you view it from a few different angles to check for any smudges or streaks that you might’ve missed the day before and wipe away any that you find. If you have a convertible, decide if you want the top up or down.
Lastly, the final touch is to reach for Tire Express and one of our tire applicators. Apply a nice and even layer to all 4 tires (5th wheel as well if you have a Jeep or other vehicle that exposes the spare). Once complete, you would have checked all the boxes to being show ready the GYEON Way.
All that is left to do, is pop open your lawn chair, take in the nice weather, and enjoy the show!
I hope you all enjoyed this topic and hopefully even added some value to your detailing routine. Our goal with these blogs is to not only connect with the community by offering our perspective as a car care brand but also to show you that all of us here at GYEON are car enthusiasts and detailing enthusiasts just like all of you. Head over to our Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok for your daily dose of GYEON content, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for in-depth guides, product reveals, and more! Looking to buy products? Visit gyeonusa.com and subscribe to our newsletter so you are the first to be notified on any future sales or when new products become available. Until next time, I wish you all well, and look forward to bringing you future blog content! Let us know if there are any topics you’d like to see us discuss – Happy Detailing!