Ah, summer. What a great time of year. The sun is up, the shows are in full swing, birds are out crapping, and your truck is probably in need of a little cleanup. No matter if your ride's been sitting in a garage waiting for the sun or if it's been out in the elements, it's going to need a good wash.

I'm sure you know how to wash your truck, but I'm still seeing things at shows that lead me to believe there is still some knowledge left to pass along. This is the first installment in a series of detailing articles, with swirl removal and color-sanding and buffing to follow. The remaining two stories will be a little more advanced, requiring powered machines to get results, but this one is all about the power in your arms.

No detailing story would be complete without a vehicle, and for that I'm using my S-10. The truck was painted a couple of months ago, so there isn't any oxidation to remove, but the paint needs to be protected to maintain that shine. Also, a few things have found their way onto my paintjob like minor scratches and some stains from the crap that floats in the air. At the time I wrote this story I didn't have carpet in my truck, so I used my pop's pickup for those photos.

For all products used in this article, I decided to make a one-stop shopping trip to Meguiar's. The company offers great car-care products, and some of the stuff in its new line is flat-out awesome. My personal favorite is the new Ultimate Quik Detailer, which has additives to make the paint surface hydrophobic (repel water). The result: Water beads up like crazy. Also, the Smooth Surface Clay Kit is nice because instead of one big ol' piece of clay, it's packaged with two smaller pieces and a neat container to keep the clay fresh.

I think that's enough with the blah-blah-let's move on to the work.

The Products
Here is everything I picked up from Meguiar's. It's not nearly everything the company offers; it's just what I need for my truck. Notice there is no wheel cleaner. I have billets, which I wash with soap, so all I need is the polish. I've used all of these products before, and they definitely produce results anyone would be happy with.