So youve finally finished restoring the classic car of your dreams. It runs great and youre ready to take it to a car show or a cruise night.

Unfortunately, it needs to be detailed. If youve spent a lot of money restoring the car yourself, youre probably looking at detailing the car yourself as well. For some, detailing may be harder than the restoration.

However, car detailing is not as tough as you may think.

The most important thing about detailing is giving yourself enough time to do the job right. If you dont, your car will look terrible and no one will appreciate the restoration job you did.

Weve highlighted two of the most common detailing problem areas below, your wheels/tires and engine. Weve also included some tips on how to clean and polish these problem areas.

Problem Area The Engine: If youre going to a car show, you want the engine to look great. Cleaning a classic car engine is one of the more tricky detailing steps. Before you start cleaning the engine, be sure the engine is cold. You can injure yourself if you try to clean a hot engine.

When cleaning the engine be sure to take the following steps:

Be sure to cover the intake, any filters as well as the alternator.

Use a degreaser to remove grease buildup in the engine bay.

Rinse the degreaser off and use a brush to remove any excess grease and dirt.

Let the engine dry and apply and polishes and/or waxes to make the engine shine.
Following these steps will get your engine looking great for your next car show.

Problem Area The Wheels And Tires

Your classic cars wheels and tires are probably another part you want to look spotless before a car show or cruise night. People have different methods for getting great looking tires and wheels.

The most important part is finding a good tire dressing formula that will not cause sling. If youre unfamiliar with the term “sling,” its the process when the tire dressing formula splatters onto the fenders and door while driving.

If you want your car to look great, youre going to need a good tire dressing formula.

Once youve found a good tire dressing formula follow these steps:

Spray tires and wheels removing any lose dirt and brake dust.

Use a tire cleaner along with a tire brush to remove brake dust and dirt.

Rinse tires again and dry. Be sure to remove all traces of the tire cleaner.

Apply a tire dressing formula to tires. Be sure to follow directions on the bottle.
Following these steps will help make your tires and wheels look great for your next car show or cruise night.


Cleaning the engine and tires are two of the toughest areas to clean on a classic car. Following the steps above will help keep you classic car looking great.

Be sure to take care of any routine maintenance issues before taking your car to a car show or cruise night. Having an auto repair manual can help you with maintenance issues. Auto repair manuals for classic cars can walk you through various maintenance issues.