Car Detailing Tips: Corvette Car Show Prep

Car Detailing Tips: How to Prepare Your Corvette for a Car Show
Car Detailing Tips: How to Prepare Your Corvette for a Car Show

Car Detailing Tips for Corvette Owners: Use these car detailing tips for cleaning a Corvette for your next car show!

Classic car detailing isn’t that hard. Contrary to popular belief, preparing your Corvette or any other car for competition at a car show doesn’t require extensive time and money on your part – it only requires proper attention to detail and a little elbow grease! Allow us to share with you our car detailing tips on preparing your Corvette for a car show, along with some helpful car detailing tips that will put your mind at ease the next time you want to take it out and show it off!

Great Tips For Detailing Your Corvette — Read on!

You know that your Corvette is one of the best-looking cars on the road, and you want to get some recognition. You’ve added some new features and it really looks great.

Now you are ready for your first car show. But where do you from here?

The steps in preparing your Corvette for the show:

If you do not prepare your Corvette properly before entering it in the car show, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. However, with proper preparation, you can make sure that the outside, and inside look great and get the spectators’ and judge’s attention for sure.

We check out some of the major wax companies on car detailing tips. In this tutorial, we’ll tell you how to get started, explain the soaps to use, how to remove bugs and tar, and how to safely wash your car. We’ll also explain the difference between wax and polish and the use of a clay bar. Whether it be the rubber, vinyl, or leather we will share detailing tips on getting them in show condition. We cover how to clean the engine and the trunk, as well as how to clean the wheels. In this article, we give you last-minute touch-up tips for your car. And finally, a few things to expect at the car show and what to bring with you to the show. And if this is your first Corvette show, there’s no need to worry–you’ll look like a pro!

For starters, the best way to wash a car is to wash it by hand. Don’t use an automated car wash. Car washes typically have brushes that act like wet, soapy tentacles and will leave tiny scratch marks that are visible in the light.

Before you begin, we need to find some good car-specific soap.

Washing the car by hand is easier than you think.  You might even get some extra help.
Washing the car by hand is easier than you think. You might even get some extra help.

Once you’ve decided to wash your car by hand, your first step is to find some good car-specific soap. Dish soap or laundry detergent are both generic and inappropriate for the job. You will want to use car wash soap (or shampoo) which is specially designed to be gentler than products meant to wash last night’s frying pan or jeans you used to clean the garage.

What type of soap should you use?

There are many options out there for detailing your car, but when it comes to car washing soap, there are three main types:

  1. Basic: Basic Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner are an inexpensive starting point, usually found at a store like Walmart or Target. Products like this one get dirt and pollutants off the car without any wax or polish being removed.
  2. Basic with additives: These car washes also come with additives. A chemical body wash & wax, for example, performs the same function with the additional benefit of adding a coat of wax. This type of wash, while not a substitute for waxing the car completely, it is just an additional layer of protection against the already-existing one.
  3. Rinseless or waterless washes: If you don’t have access to a water line or are aiming to save water, use a waterless and rinse-less wash. They work well if your car isn’t really dirty and can also be used as a quick detailer.

Now you are looking like a pro! All the soaps are picked out. But first, let’s talk bugs before we start to wash.

Bug and Tar Removal

Check out these simple car detailing tips on how to remove bugs, sap and tar from your Corvette.
Check out these simple car detailing tips on how to remove bugs, sap and tar from your Corvette.

In Florida, we are starting to see love bugs and they can be tough to remove from your Corvette. Another typical problem is the build-up of sap if you need to part around trees. If you drive your Corvette much, you might have some tar on your car’s surface. Fortunately, they can all be wiped off easily with the right cleaning methods.

Of course, the best solution is that before the buildup is made worse, take the time to give your car a routine cleaning to remove any bugs that have accumulated. When you travel in a buggy territory or take a long trip, you should be sure to give it a thorough wipe-down right when you return.

You’ll find many products at the local auto store, but you may not know that WD-40 can help?

One way to help remove bugs and tar on your car is to apply a thin layer of WD-40 on the outside of the car. The slippery substance will help loosen the insects, tar, and sap and make the whole process a lot easier. The solution can be applied to the car’s body with a cloth or sprayed with a spray can. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. After it is soaked in, then carefully and gently use a clean, soft towel to clean away the bugs. Don’t scrub too hard or you might damage the paint job.

You should never use rough material such as steel wool to remove bugs from your car – this will scratch the paint. I know what you are thinking. Who would do that, but if you spend much time on the internet, you would be surprised what people have tried.

So here’s the trick – if you catch the bugs before they’re completely dry, they will come off easily. However, if the bugs left behind have already dried on your paint, you may need to repeat this step more than once.

Note: I wouldn’t suggest using WD-40 if you have bugs on your windshield or windows. Combine dish soap and water to wipe the windshield and windows, then use window cleaner for the final touch-up.

Clay Bar: What is it and should I be doing it?

Clay masks are often used for skincare. The clay is a natural product that removes impurities while providing a soft and gentle feel.

Clay bars also work the same way and are a great way to get your car clean. The clay bar is a great way to remove oxidization from a car’s finish, but the surface has to be properly lubricated first.

Polish can be used similarly but if you are working on the paint job of an old Corvette, use clay before polishing in order not to damage the paint. While polishing might help reduce blemishes, it will remove a greater amount of paint than you want and cause permanent damage.

As we mentioned above, we talked about using WD-40 to remove tar, sap, and bugs. The clay bar can be used while washing your car. But be aware that a clay bar removes wax too. Re-waxing is necessary after using a clay bar.

Is there a certain order as to what to wash first?
There’s no rule as to what you should wash first. but, if your engine needs washing, you might want to start there. Second, the wheels, followed by the exterior of the car.

How to clean the engine compartment:

Learn how to clean your Corvette's engine with our detail tips.
Learn how to clean your Corvette’s engine with our detail tips.

If your engine is hot, open the hood and let the engine cool for at least 15 minutes. A hot engine can burn you or crack if cold water is applied quickly.

For starters, you should take off any plastic that is under the hood. It can be scrubbed separately.

Remember to remove the negative terminal from the battery. This will help keep your electrical components safe if they happen to get wet. The battery can be removed if you like, but you can clean the engine bay without doing so.

In order to protect the sensitive electronics of the car like the battery, ignition wires, and engine control unit, it is important to cover them with plastic bags. You might also want to cover the exposed engine air intake but you can skip this if you are very careful with your washing. You’ll be able to clean thoroughly and won’t be running the risk of damaging anything if you protect your electronics by covering them.

Carefully and completely coat the entire engine compartment with a degreaser. We like Simple Green’s environmentally friendly formula. Ensure that everything is adequately covered.

If your engine is moderately dirty, you might not need to scrub. If you find some areas have a lot of oil and dirt on them, like the valve cover you might need to do some scrubbing. You can use a small brush with synthetic—not metallic—bristles, and follow up with more degreaser if necessary.

It’s time to rinse now. It is possible to use a power washer on the lighter setting. Nonetheless, using a garden hose will do the trick. Simply spray down the entire compartment, moving from the back to the front, washing away all of the degreasers. Make sure you don’t directly spray electrical components. Also, be careful to not spray much in areas that don’t dry easily.

Time to dry. An air compressor works well and you can blast air in the small spots to remove the excess water. If you don’t have an air compressor, don’t worry, just try to clean everything with a shop towel or rag that you can reach. This will not only take out the excess water but will also do away with any remaining grime.

Put the battery back in if you took it out and put the terminals on the battery. Remove all the protective bags covering your Corvette’s electrical components.

The best-detailing tip is to try not to let your engine compartment get too dirty in the first place. Usually, every year or two is all you will need to decrease your engine and keep it clean.

Time to Wash the Wheels

In general, when washing your vehicle, you should start with the wheels, which are typically the dirtiest part. You can purchase a special soap for the wheels and you’ll find the task easier but you can also use regular car-wash soap. Don’t wash hot wheels, as heat can evaporate the soap and leave you with spots.

You can clean your wheels with a soft brush, but if you don’t have one then use an old wash mitt, detail brush, toothbrush, or sponge. Always use the same mitt and bucket for the wheels only when cleaning them.

Tips on how to wash the Corvette and Wash Without Scratching

You decided how you want to hand the bugs, sap, and tar. The wheels and engine are done.

Our next car detailing tip is washing the car.

Most Important: We want to wash without scratching. Don’t use a brush car wash like at your corner gas station, as it will damage your Corvette. It is best to wash the car yourself or hire a professional.

We will guild you through how to wash your car without scratching so there is no need to go to a brush car wash. It real;y is easy.

The first step is to find a good location. In order to avoid getting water spots, start by finding a spot out of direct sunlight that’s cool and dry.

You might live in an apartment and not have a place to clean. Those without a designated space can get the convenience of a self-service car wash bay. However, be sure to bring your own supplies – such as buckets, towels, soaps, and cleaners. Never use the self-service bay brush.

To prevent car wash damage, it’s imperative to thoroughly rinse your car and remove all sand, dirt, grime, and grit before the wash begins. The goal is to eliminate the amount of dirt and grime which could lead to car wash scratches. Rinsing the car first prevents a grit-clogged wash mitt that would be likely to scratch the paint.

Next is to begin washing the car with the soap of your choice starting at the top. Professional detailers recommended using two buckets – one to soap the mitt and the second one to rinse it. Some details suggest using one wash mitt per body panel.

As your final detailing step, be sure to dry your car. Unfortunately, when drying improperly, you can reduce the quality of your car’s finish. Therefore, always use a very gentle microfiber towel, lightly spritzed with car-detailing spray, while water alone isn’t as good a lubricant. Second, don’t use your regular bath towel to dry your car. Overall, the goal of doing a car wash on your own is to minimize the car’s paint getting worn.

How to Make Your Classic Car Shine Like New with Three Wax Options

Now the next step in your classic car detailing is to apply a coat of wax. There are lots of waxes to choose from. You want to choose one that gives a really sleek, shiny finish. Contrary to what you might expect, instead of circular motions, the wax should be applied in horizontal and vertical directions. Covering the car in wax will keep it from getting scratched or swirled and will cover it completely and uniformly.

Waxing and polishing, although closely related, are still different from one another. The former deals with surface coatings, while the latter deals with exfoliation. There is often a misconception about wax and polish; they are different products with distinct uses. Here are a few points to think about after you’ve given your vehicle a thorough washing.

  1. Polish: After you wash your Corvette, the first thing you should use is polish. There is a misconception that polishing makes your car shiny. Really, the main function of car polish is to get rid of any missed dirt, grease, and oxidization from the paint job. It can also fix small scratches, scrapes, and swirls. There’s a problem, though: a single polish doesn’t solve all of these issues with one stroke of application.

Actually, there are two different types of polishes. One type of polish is non-abrasive, and essentially cleans the surface, removing dirt, oxidation, and grease (even some stains, if caught early).

Aggressive polishes help clear away or eliminate surface scratches before they turn into eyesores. This is accomplished with the abrasive compounds in the polish, which gently abrade a layer of paint or clear coat.

The texture varies depending on the product – some are rough while others are smooth – and you should use one that is the best for your purposes. Either way, the polish usually comes in cream, spray, or liquid form, and while it may be high-quality, the coating isn’t waterproof or paint-protective.

  1. Car Wax: It’s quite simple really. Wax has been in use since the early 1800s, in some form, when extending the look and life of carriages was important. It translated effortlessly to the automotive market.

Wax creates a shield between your vehicle’s paint/clear coat surface and pollutants. Along with shielding from ultraviolet rays and other airborne contaminants, wax can also stop corrosion from eating away at your vehicle. One good thing about wax is that it creates, or rather improves, the gloss that many car owners want. After polishing a vehicle’s surface, it’s important to apply wax, because the contaminant’s residue is not locked against the surface of the vehicle and this will expedite the potential for damage.

There are two types of wax for cars: natural and synthetic. Of course, it goes without saying that one of the above materials has been sourced from natural sources, including waxes, oils, and solvents (crude oil distillates, ethanol, mineral spirits, petroleum, and more). Natural wax offers superior shine and unmatched protection, while synthetic wax does the same. That being said, it does not last as long as a synthetic alternative.

  1. Carnuba Wax: Carnauba wax is a natural, plant-based wax from the leaves of the Brazilian Palm tree. This is a very popular type of automotive wax. In its natural state, the Carnauba is meant to keep the trees from harm in the blistering sun. But for cars, it is blended with other oils and materials, like clay, to stand up to high temperatures and intense UV rays. Carnauba wax, even though it must be applied more often than synthetic wax, is very popular among car collectors for its reflective finish.

How often should you wax your Corvette?

There’s no right answer to this question because it’s based on a number of different factors: wax type, frequency of driving, weather, etc.

Many Corvette owners only clean and polish their cars once a year. They do this especially if they don’t go to many car shows and only drive it on occasion. Corvettes often don’t get a regular wax because their owners only bring them out for events in a trailer. But it is best to preserve your finish with an annual waxing no matter what.

If you drive your Corvette more often, it’s a good idea to be aware that polishing and waxing requirements will be different to give the best protection. Simply, the more you drive, the more you need to polish and wax.

Usually, one application of polish and wax at the beginning of the car show season should last you all of the prime show season.

The best look possible is attained when the wax is applied two to four times per year. Some people recommend waxing every 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of wax used.

Remember if you want a high-scoring show car the wax gives paint depth and warmth. You may be doing yourself a disservice if you neglect the crucial job of making your show car look and feel good with a great car wax job.

How To Detail Your Corvette: Simple Waxing Car Detailing Tips

Here are a few simple waxing tips to remember.

Properly polishing and waxing a car can take time and effort, but the result will be rewarding and might just get you that trophy. Be prepared, this will take more than an hour.

  1. Apply wax in the shade
  2. Applying too much wax or polish can leave an uneven finish
  3. Use a microfiber towel to wipe away excess product without incurring more scratches.
  4. Use a different cloth for washing, then you do for the polishing, and waxing
  5. Power tools can help speed up the polishing and waxing, but be careful – they can damage the paint

Car Detailing Tips: How To Detail Your Car Like A Pro – The Rubber & Vinyl Protectant

How to clean your vinyl interior?

The best way to clean vinyl seats is simple soap and water followed by a protectant. Try to limit the amount of water you use, and dry the area quickly to prevent water from seeping down and through to the cushions below. A toothbrush can be used in and around pleats and seams. To ensure protection from UV rays, and prevent your upholstery from wearing out, be sure to use a protectant after cleaning. And if your upholstery is already faded, give it a refresher with a few light coats of the protectant. You should apply a protector spray to the surface and not the cloth.

Time to clean the rubber or vinyl floor mats:

If your mats are made of rubber or vinyl, remove them from the car and shake off the dirt. Wipe it clean with soap and water. Before placing them back in your Corvette, make sure they are thoroughly dry.

The rubber door seals are next:

Soap and water and followed by a seal with a protectant.

How to clean your dashboard console:

Protectants won’t harm the dashboards and best of all they provide shine and UV protection to help extend the life of the surface. You can use a cotton swab to get into tight spaces such as air vents.

How to clean leather doorjambs and panels?

Leather doorjamb panels would be cleaned and conditioned with a special leather cleaner and protection. You can use a toothbrush to clean around the door handles, pulls and window cranks followed by a layer of leather protection.

Car Detailing Tips For The Perfect Competition Corvette: How to clean your leather seats in your car.

Corvette detail tips on how to clean your leather interior.
Corvette detail tips on how to clean your leather interior. – Photo Credit Gary Rosier

If you haven’t already done so, vacuum out your Corvette. You can do the trunk at the same time. After it’s clean of loose dirt you are ready to clean the leather. Make sure you get all the dust and dirt out of the crevices.

Leather is one of those materials that can be easy to damage if you’re not careful, so it’s important to know how to care for it properly. Here are some tips from professional detailers on the best way to care for leather seats.

Here are the five things you’ll need:

  • Leather cleaner
  • Microfiber cloths
  • A vacuum cleaner with attachments
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Leather conditioner

Choose a non-toxic cleaner and carefully clean the interior and exterior of your seats with light wiping motion. You’ll want to spray a microfiber rag with cleaner before wiping down the interior and make sure you never spray it directly on the upholstery if it’s made of leather, since you may cause permanent damage.

If you cannot find an environmentally-friendly cleaner, use vinegar and water, or Castile soap and warm water. Never use ammonia or bleach, as they will destroy the leather. Do not liberally apply detergent or water, because you could soak the leather and cause permanent staining.

Don’t be surprised if some dirt still remains even after you’ve wiped down the seats, so don’t be shy about giving it a good scrubbing! Soft-bristled brush sprayed with cleaner, scrub brush over seats. It’s dirt, it can be easily wiped away with a clean microfiber cloth.

You should avoid scrubbing perforated seats to avoid oversaturating them with water or other liquids. If you notice that your seats are disgustingly dirty, it might be time for a second scrubbing.

Clean any excess water or cleaner away, so it won’t stain.

It’s time to condition the leather once the seats are clean and dry. Leather is more prone to losing its oils in cracked or dry conditions. Conditioning leaves oil in the leather so that it stays soft and healthy.
Use natural ingredients instead of synthetic ones to maintain the quality of the leather. Petroleum or wax may give the leather a greasy or dull appearance.

Next, get a clean, microfiber cloth, dampen it with conditioner, and rub it over the upholstery for even distribution. Too much conditioner could leave behind an unpleasant residue on the carpet, so don’t apply too much of it.

It is only necessary to condition a few times a year.

Don’t forget the Trunk

How to clean the trunk of your car.
How to clean the trunk of your car.

The trunk is generally the catchall for jackets, tennis shoes, and water bottles. First thing is to empty the trunk. If you haven’t already vacuumed the trunk, now is a good time. If possible, you will want to remove the carpet to vacuum it and clean any objects that may be caught.

Over time, grease and dirt collect around the seals of the trunk, but there are ways to remove the buildup. Carefully wrap a thin layer of fabric around the tip of a small paintbrush, and push it gently into the area you want to cover. The soft cloth won’t damage the seals, and the brush provides access to otherwise inaccessible places.

Shine your tires.

This you can do after you get into your car show space. Just give your tires a quick spray of tire dressing to give them a nice shine. Not only does this add shine, but your car will appear cleaner as a whole. In order to shine your tires, you just need the tire shine solution and some towels. It doesn’t take long, so don’t worry about setting aside a lot of time to do it.

What to Bring With You to a Car Show

Some ideas of items you can bring with you to a car show include:

Park in the shade or bring a canopy: Summer car shows can be very hot and many are outdoors. After several hours, you will really appreciate any shade you might have.

Cash: If you haven’t registered in advance, most of the time, the registration fee is paid for at the front gate, and a lot of times they only accept cash.

Car Info: It’s a great idea to bring the information about your car. Including the make, model, and any modifications you have made. Does your car have any historical significance? A show board full of the details of your Corvette makes it much more interesting to the spectators. The media is also more likely to notice your Vette. Remember the spectators might not know anything about Corvettes but are there to learn.

Music: Not all car shows had a DJ. It’s a good idea to bring your own music, not only for you but for others around you. You can even play it from inside your car. Either way, it will help set a festive mood. Perhaps you might want to play vintage music from the era of your Corvette. It is your time to let your Corvette shine and to attract people to come and check it out.

Contact Information: A car show is a great place to meet new friends. Bring something that has your contact information to share with your new friends.

Chairs: You probably won’t be walking around during the whole car show so remember to bring some chairs for you and your group to sit on. This way you’ll have somewhere to sit once you need a rest. Don’t forget the sun protection.

Bring a Cooler and Drinks: This is not always allowed at all car shows and some do not allow alcohol. Check the website before you go or call and be sure what the rules are. But if coolers are allowed, having some drinks will cool you down and keeps you hydrated. The second reason is that drinks at the car show are usually pretty expensive. The third great reason to bring a few drinks with you is that it’s a fantastic way to make new friends, so bring a few extra.

What to Expect at the Car Show

A car show is a great place to meet new friends and say hi to old ones.
A car show is a great place to meet new friends and say hi to old ones.

Don’t just sit by your car the whole time. Car shows are a great place for car enthusiasts to share their passion and make new friends. While attending the Corvette show, make sure to check out the other cars. Events such as car shows are perfect opportunities to share your creativity but it is also a great place to meet with like-minded people. Expect to see some serious high-dollar collector cars and outstanding restoration pieces. You can easily spend the entire day looking at and exploring the other cars. Most owners are happy to talk about their cars and share their knowledge. While enjoying the car show, you will learn to tell the different vehicles apart and know more about the history of the cars.

Are you ready to show off your Corvette?

How to find a Corvette show?

Corvettes at 1 Daytona May 2022
Corvettes at 1 Daytona May 2022 – Photo credit Gary Rosier

You may think it’s impossible to find a Chevrolet Corvettes near me this weekend – but we have the answer. Whether you’re looking for car shows, swaps, or anything else with Corvettes, look no further than Vette Vues Magazine.

We have an extensive list of all types of events you can enjoy with your Corvette. Check out our online Corvette calendar of events. We have the contact information and website links so you know before you go what to expect.

How to find a Corvette Club near me?

Vette Vues Magazine Worldwide Corvette Clubs Directories are your source for Corvette Clubs around the world: United States, CanadaInternational Corvette Clubs, and national organizations.

Our United States Corvette Club Directory is listed by state. Just click on your state and find the clubs you would like to investigate.

Want more Corvette articles? Do you love all things Corvettes?

Then you should subscribe to Vette Vues Magazine. We’re all about Corvettes of all years and models.

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