Cleaning is a bit more than a bucket
and sponge for a gleaming show car

There’s car cleaning, then there’s
valeting, then there’s detailing – and here is where making a car look as good
as possible leaves the traditional Sunday morning bucket and sponge and quick
leather off firmly behind. Preparing a car for show is very much all in the

A specialism

Most people can clean a car, and most
people can probably clean, vacuum and polish or wax a car’s bodywork, too.
Beyond this, preparing a car for show or just generally making it look its best
is very much a specialism best left to experts who not only know what they’re
doing but use the latest in car care materials and equipment to achieve this.

For example, for those looking to get
their old, new or classic car in tip top condition in the capital or beyond
this car detailer in
offers the latest
in state of the art car care methods.

If you’re looking to show your car,
the standard of detailing is so high you’ll likely need a pro who can
accomplish the following to get your car in the right condition to show it off.

What detail is required for the
ultimate show car?

Inspection – a detailer will firstly have a good look all-round the
car to assess what needs doing.

Assess paint thickness – using clever measuring equipment, a detailer will
measure how thick the paint is across various parts of the car to ascertain how
much polishing (as some involves the removal of a small layer of paint to do
its job) can be done.

It also provides clues as to whether
the car has had body and paintwork repair work done since original manufacture.

Wash and decontamination – a thorough wash is carried out and any deposits and
particles removed.

Claying – a clay bar (looks like a bar of soap) is used to remove
finer contaminants and provides a clean surface for the paint protection that
will be applied to adhere to.

Paint enhancement – swirl marks and scratching is removed by a gradual
polishing out; this will enhance the paintwork and provide a ‘mirror’ like
finish eventually. It may take the detailer two or even three days for this

One detailer specialising in very high-end
performance cars even uses a forensic evidence microscope as used by the police
and costing thousands of pounds to detect the tiniest and most superficial of
bodywork scratching.

If required, this process will be
repeated this time using finer grades of polish to enhance the paintwork

Another option you may be advised to
choose is having a ceramic coating to protect the paint and make it easier to
remove contaminants in the future. Is it worth it? This leading
motor authority website

says it is.

Wheel washing – they’re cleaned both front and rear (brake dust and
other contaminants are removed) using softer brushes and then sealed for
protection with a durable wheel coating. This prevents buildup of brake dust
build up on the inside of the wheels.


Detailing can offer even more than the
above depending on what is required. For example, if leather upholstery needs
restoration this can be undertaken along with, of course, a thorough cleaning
and vacuuming of the rest of the interior – nowadays much can be done by a
detailer as opposed to having to call in a specialist to perform a retrim.

What about under the bonnet? Your
gleaming show car could be let down if the engine bay looks a bit mucky and
dirty, so an engine bay detailing would be in order.

The same applies to the wheel arches;
dirt behind the wheels will let the side down so removal of the wheels and full
clean of the arches is another service likely required to get your car to
‘showing’ condition.

Ask for advice

Your chosen detailer should be able to advise on what would be required to get your car to show standard and provide a quote for the various elements involved. For showing your car off, the devil is very much in the detailing