· information · 4 min read

Show Car Preparation Tips

We're easing into the season of car shows and whether you're attending or competing, here are some tips for car shows.

We're easing into the season of car shows and whether you're attending or competing, here are some tips for car shows.


Preparing your car for a show requires a meticulous approach that goes beyond the typical wash and wax routine. Show car preparation is an art form, requiring attention to detail, patience, and a commitment to excellence. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential steps to elevate your vehicle to show-stopping status.

Start with a Clean Slate

The foundation of any successful show car preparation is a clean surface. Begin by thoroughly washing your vehicle using a high-quality car shampoo and microfiber wash mitt. Pay close attention to areas prone to dirt and grime buildup, such as the wheel arches, door jambs, and undercarriage.

Decontaminate the Vehicle

Even after washing, your car’s surfaces may still harbor contaminants such as tar, road grime, and industrial fallout. Use a clay bar or clay mitt to gently remove these impurities, leaving behind a smooth and flawless surface ready for further treatment.

Bug Remains

We all experience this, especially on long roadtrips. Bug splatter contains acids and proteins that can etch into the paint if left unattended. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate and remove these contaminants safely.

Tree Sap

Tree sap can be particularly stubborn to remove, as it hardens and adheres to the paint surface over time. However, with the right approach, you can effectively eliminate tree sap without damaging the paint.

Industrial Fallout

Industrial fallout refers to airborne pollutants such as iron particles, brake dust, and rail dust that can land on your vehicle’s paint and cause oxidation and rust spots. Removing industrial fallout requires a specialized approach.


Overspray refers to paint or other substances that have inadvertently landed on your vehicle’s surface, often as a result of nearby painting or construction work. Removing overspray requires patience and careful attention to avoid damaging the paint.

Polish to Perfection

Achieving that coveted show car shine requires careful polishing. Select a suitable polish or compound based on your paint’s condition and desired level of correction. Apply the polish using a dual-action polisher or by hand, working in small sections for optimal results.

Protect with Precision

Once the paint is polished to perfection, it’s time to protect your hard work. Apply a high-quality ceramic coating or paint sealant to provide durable protection against environmental hazards such as UV rays, bird droppings, and water spots. Don’t forget to treat other exterior surfaces, including glass, wheels, and trim, for comprehensive coverage.

Mind the Details

Attention to detail separates ordinary cars from show-stopping masterpieces. Pay close attention to often-overlooked areas such as door shuts, engine bays, and interior crevices. Use detailing brushes, compressed air, and gentle cleaners to ensure every nook and cranny is spotless.

Dress to Impress

The finishing touch for any show car is the application of dressings and protectants to enhance the appearance of rubber, plastic, and vinyl surfaces. Choose products specifically formulated for automotive use to achieve a natural, non-greasy finish that complements your vehicle’s overall aesthetic.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Proper lighting can make all the difference when showcasing your pride and joy. Invest in high-quality LED lights or portable spotlights to highlight your car’s best features and draw attention to its flawless finish.

Practice Patience

Show car preparation is a labor of love that requires time, dedication, and attention to detail. Take your time, work methodically, and don’t rush the process. The results will speak for themselves when your meticulously prepared car steals the spotlight at the next show or event.

Book a Show Car Detail with Devil Pad!

Show car preparation is an art that requires dedication, precision, and a keen eye for detail. With the tips outlined in this guide, you’re well-equipped to transform your vehicle into a show-stopping masterpiece that commands attention and admiration.

Book a show car detail with Devil Pad today and experience the difference our expertise can make. With our attention to detail and commitment to excellence, you can trust us to elevate your vehicle to show-stopping status.

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