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.
Prepare your car for Spring with these detailing tips!
As Spring is finally here there is lots to do. What should be on top of the list is some Spring detailing. Winter can be brutal and it can have a nasty effect on your vehicle's finish. If you want to keep your finish looking its best then proper maintenance detailing is absolutely crucial. We take a look at some of the things that should be done after Winter to ensure your keeping up on your maintenance.
As you could imagine step one would be giving your car/truck/suv or even motorcycle a proper bath.
Using lots of soap is always helpful in creating a slick surface. The best way to lubricate the surface before you bring your wash mitt to the paint would be to use a foam gun. We recommend the MTM Hydro foam gun generation 2.
Using a soap designed to strip away any prior protection is always a great idea as well. We want to ensure we get as many as contaminants removed from the surface as possible during the was process as this will help later. Using a soap like CarPro Reset or Limitless Strip Down would be an idea solution.
After you perform a wash we move on to our next strip
In order to ensure we are dealing with a perfectly smooth and clean surface before we move on to the next phase we want to make sure the paint is free of any contaminants invisible to the eye. Sometimes you can feel these contaminants on the surface when you glide your hand across your finish. It will often feel like sand paper or even sound rough instead of smooth and buttery. During the wash process after you have performed an initial cleaning, you can remove iron contaminants and other various road debris embedded in the paint. You could use a product like CarPro Iron X Snowfoam as your soap, which is PH balanced, and contains degreasers that cut through road film and heavy grime with ease. Or, if you choose you can add the additional step of using a iron particle remover such as CarPro Iron X. The key to using this product is after you cleaned the surface but the car is still wet. You want to apply to painted surfaced and even wheels if you choose and watch as the formula turns purple indicating it is working. Lower areas of the car such as side skirts and the bottom of doors are especially prone to heavy contamination. Once you have waited a few minutes your free to once again do a basic wash and then dry the car.
Once the car is dry it is ideal to further ensure a smooth contaminant free surface by claying the paint. We recommend using a clay mitt for ease of use such as the Griot's Garage Fast Surface Prep Mitt. The mitt will last you many uses and make detailing a breeze. Make sure you use it with a proper lubricant however such as Adam's Detail Spray. If you prefer the traditional clay bar you can also try using a fine or medium grade clay bar. If you car is maintained routinely a fine clay bar will probably do the job. Once the whole car has been clay barred your ready for the next phase.
3. Paint Correction and Protection
After you have dried the car off, and have ensure the surface is smooth and clean you can move either straight to protection or if your ever so inclined paint correction. Giving your car a light polish is always helpful in further refining the surface. Just like skin your car will have dead paint and be oxidized which can harm your shine. Refining the surface will allow for a shine like no other. You can polish by hand using something like Adam's Revive Hand Polish or with a machine of your choice and any number of possible compounds, polishes, and pads. The choice if yours to do this step.
After this step your ready for Protection. You can choose to wax your car if you have the time to keep doing so every few weeks. If so a paste wax like Griot's Garage Premium Carnauba Wax will work wonders or if you like a liquid wax you can try Adam's Buttery Wax. If you won't have time to detail again for quite some time try a long lasting sealant like Sonax Polymer Net Shield and you will have protection for month's not weeks. If you want to protect your finish for a year or more at a time you can use a ceramic coating such as ServFaces Ultima. The choice is yours but it is important to protect your freshly cleaned surface as it will help prevent further contamination for the seasons ahead.
As long as you do this routinely you will find your vehicles finish constantly looking like new. And remember if you have any questions you can always ask us by sending an email to Support@DetailingConnect.com