Why "Clay" Your Car?
It is often asked why one should clay bar their vehicles exterior.. other times we ask what clay even is?
To put it simply claying your car is the best method to ensure the surface is contaminant free. If you have ever run your hand along the surface of your paint after a fresh wash and it doesn't feel perfectly smooth then it is a good sign you need to clay your paint.
Below you will see a nice picture the explains it best...
The next question you may ask is, What is Clay?
Clay for detailing as it is known isnt really clay. Rather it resembles clay. It is a synthetic material that is designed to be safe to use on the exterior surfaces of your vehicle. With more elasticity to allow for you to knead it and bend it to the shape that best suits you while working with it. It also allows you to mesh it into a clean surface once a heavily contaminated area has been treated.
Now to make it easier for you there are several options for claying your car.. there is fine grade, medium grade, clay mitts, and clay towels, even clay buffing pads. What works best for you is whatever is comfortable and easiest for you to use. While a clay bar is more traditional the option to use finer grade or medium grade depends on how contaminated your surface is. A fine grade clay bar will pick up light contaminants with ease but will take a lot of effort to remove heavy contamination if at all. It is sometimes best to have both options at your disposal.
Either of those will tackle most jobs and be sure to use a clay lubricant such as Limitless Clay Spray.
Now as technology has evolved some companies have found ways to manufacture the synthetic clay material into other forms such as Clay Mitts. Griot's Garage offers two options for tackling a clay job. The Fast Surface Prep Mitt, good for the toughest of jobs or the Fine Surface Prep Mitt, good for light contamination. Now the advantage to a Clay Mitt is that it requires no kneading to remove old contamination like you would find in a clay bar. Also if you drop it, unlike a clay bar which would need to be thrown away, you can wipe it and keep going. An additional benefit is that due to its size you can often use more pressure from your whole hand instead of just your fingers, making the job much quicker and easier on the body. While these cost more then clay bars, if your detailing often it is worth the investment. You also will get many more uses out of a mitt compared to a bar. Make sure you use a clay lube with the mitt as well, it is extremely important to have a slick surface when using friction as you don't want to implant unnecessary swirl marks.
Last we have the Carpro PolyShave Decon Towel. This is a clay mitt with no pocket for your hand. It is a one size fits all method of tackling your clay jobs and all types of contamination.
Carpro has also introduced us to a product called Iron X which effectively removes metallic contamination caused by brakes, rail roads, and construction. It can be used on all exterior surfaces of the car and will do more then just using a clay bar alone.
Below is a photo of Iron X at work removing contamination from wheels.
It is always important to ensure the most decontaminated surface is had before applying your protection of choice. Whether it be wax, sealants, or even a coating, these will all help protect against future contaminants from embedding themselves into the paint.