Washing and waxing will get a car clean, but for your vehicle to truly shine, you will need to use a clay bar during the detailing process. Below is more information about claying and how you can use it to restore a paint job to its original finish.
What is Claying?
Claying is a simple but highly effective means of cleaning a car's paint job. Specially manufactured clay bars are rubbed on the car's painted surfaces and they adhere to the embedded particles stuck in the clear coat. The clay grabs and pulls out the tiny particles that prevent the car's paint from looking its best.
How Do You Clay Your Car?
Claying was once solely performed by professional automotive detailers; however, the practice has now entered the mainstream, and consumers can purchase detailing clay bars from auto parts stores and other retailers. Claying isn't particularly difficult, but a few precautions must be taken to prevent damage to the paint job on your vehicle.
Here is a step-by-step guide to claying your car's paint job.
1. Purchase an appropriate clay bar
Clay bars typically come in a variety of grades, including coarse, medium and fine grades. Coarse grades are more aggressive at removing particles but also remove wax and should not be used frequently. Fine grades are less aggressive, but they are suitable for frequent use and spot cleaning. As the name indicates, medium grade clay bars are in between the fine grade and coarse grade bars.
Most consumers should avoid highly aggressive clay bars such as those with coarse grains, and stick with fine or medium grades. There is less chance of causing damage to the paint job when using fine and medium grade clays.
2. Prepare the surface of the paint
Claying is performed after the car is washed but before it is waxed. A fresh coat of wax will prevent the clay bar from grasping the particles that lie beneath it. However, the cleaner the car is before claying is performed, the better your final results will be; as such, be sure to thoroughly wash the vehicle first.
3. Prepare the clay bar for use
The clay bar will need to be prepared for use the first time it is removed from its package, so don't rush to start using the bar until you get it ready. The first step is to pinch off a small amount of clay from the bar, then seal up the remaining clay carefully to prevent it from drying out or being contaminated.
The amount needed will form a ball of clay about an inch in diameter, but feel free to adjust the amount as you wish. Once you pinch off the clay, begin to work it in your hands to warm it up and increase its pliability. "Cold" clay won't effectively clean and is difficult to work with.
Next, flatten the clay ball into a pancake shape in the palm of your hand. It doesn't need to be perfectly round, but try to make the clay thickness even throughout.
4. Use the clay on the paint
Before rubbing the clay on the car, it is crucial that the paint be wet. Dry paint will result in the clay grabbing particles and scratching your vehicle's finish. Hence, generously spray the paint with a commercial clay bar lubricant to make the surface completely wet.
Next, begin rubbing the clay on the car's finish in slow, straight or circular motions. Cover one part of the car at a time, such as a single door panel, and keep the surface wet during the entire process.
Once you finish an area, fold the clay over and reshape it into its pancake form. Continue the process of working the clay over the paint job until you have covered the entire car. If at any point you drop the clay on the ground, be sure to discard it and get a new piece; dirty clay can cause deep scratching of the clear coat.
If you have questions about your car's finish, then be sure to contact the professionals at Dublin Auto Body for assistance. They will be happy to help with your automotive paint and body needs.