How to Prep Your Car for a Show

Whether you’re into shine shows, cruise nights or meetups with others who share your passion for certain styles, makes and models, getting ready for your next car show is a big deal. You might be tempted to spring for an expensive detailing job, but you can actually do an equally killer job yourself and there’s no need to buy the most expensive equipment. The classics work, from using Windex and newspapers on your rims to a standard wax job. However, there’s more to prepping for a car show than just shining your ride.

It’s also about building community and showing off your knowledge. Few people know absolutely everything about their car, especially if it’s been customized or you recently picked it up from a reputable dealer or previous owner. Read up on the statistics, research the common issues with your make and model (there will always be a few things) and make sure you ask your body shop pro exactly what process was used for that custom color or design.

This isn’t just your car’s time to shine; it’s also yours.

Choosing the right meetup

There are niche shows and cruises for every type of car lover. It doesn’t matter if you’re into hip hop car culture, vintage VWs or all American muscle cars. Regardless of where you live, there are events happening year-round. However, a big struggle is actually getting to the show. Depending on how rare your ride, you may need to tow it to avoid putting senseless miles on it. This also means you’ll need to have a transportable detailing kit with you right before show time.

Finding your right niche is kind of like rushing a fraternity or sorority; some trial and error is required. You can get a feel for the group via social media. Check out what other cars have made appearances to gauge how you’ll fit in. There’s a right match for every collector car, and spreading yourself too thing can be frustrating. Since there are car shows every week of the year, choose wisely (especially if there’s an entry fee).

Making connections

Unfortunately, many people attend car meetups and shows solely to show off, which means they miss out on the biggest perk: Socializing. It’s challenging to find others who share your same level of passion. Use this as an opportunity to connect, and listen more than you speak. Asking questions is a great way to get to know someone and you’ll even learn something in return.