The reasons for doing a thorough detail job on your 'Vette are many, but one of the best is simply that detailing your car gets you right up close to every piece of your pride and joy, and helps you discover problems before they get out of hand.
Buying a Detail Kit
The first step is to get a good, complete first aid kit. That will come in handy if you collapse and hit your head when you find out how much a good, complete detail kit will cost you. Suddenly dish soap and an old dog towel doesn't look like such a bad idea. But resist the impulse to cheap out - you really do need a good detail kit.
You can get quality detail products at your auto parts store or even at your local discount store. Your best choices in a retail store are Meguiar's and Eagle One products. These are professional-quality detailing products at a reasonable price, and you can build your supply according to your budget.
If you prefer to shop online, check out Griot's Garage and Adam's Polishes. Both of these companies offer top-quality products and will cheerfully ship them straight to your door. Consider investing in a full detailing kit, and don't bother with the little sample-size kits. You want all the good stuff and you need it in quantity, so you might as well just go ahead and get it.
Wash Your Corvette Properly
You need a big clean bucket to wash your car. I like a big 5-gallon bucket from Home Depot for this purpose, and I label it clearly as my car-washing bucket. You also need some fancy car wash mix, a couple of car wash mitts, and some good towels to dry the car. Old terry cloth towels that have been retired from bathroom use are perfect. You can spend big money on micro-fiber towels, but in my experience well-worn terry works just fine.
Here are a couple of non-obvious (to me, anyway) washing tips:
- Never use dishwashing detergent on your car. Dish soap is designed to remove grease and wax! Use a quality car wash mix.
- Use separate wash mitts for painted and polished surfaces and gritty places like wheel wells. You don't want to drag sand and small rocks up to scratch your paint! No matter how thoroughly you wash a mitt, once it's been to the underside of the 'Vette it should never touch paint again.
Using the Clay Bar
About once year, you should use a clay bar to remove tough buildup on your paint. A clay bar is just what it sounds like - a piece of modeling clay. Wash the car normally, but before you wax it, you use your detail spray as a lubricant and rub the clay bar on your paint. The clay picks up baked-on grunge and leaves your paint completely shiny. Adam's Polishes has a great DVD on how to use their clay bar to best effect.
Read on to the next page for information about waxing, detail spray, and interior cleaning.