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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The only things that should be posted in this thread are clay bar questions or clay barring techniques. Everything else will be removed.
If you ask a good question and it is answered well, I will add it to the first post.
There are a lot of questions on how to use clay bars and if it is safe. Well, both are pretty simple answers. The basics of clay barring is spraying a lube onto the surface and rubbing the clay across that surface and if done properly, it is very safe.
Why should I clay?
Claying removes contaminants on the surface that regular washing can not take care of. Claying will even remove particles that pre-wax cleaners cannot get. Claying strips things off the surface, making it naked so to speak, and leaves a fresh, clean surface ready for polishing or waxing. Claying before polishing is a good idea because it removes those particles that could potentially get trapped in your pad and cause unwanted surface marring.
What can I clay?
You can pretty much clay any hard, smooth to mostly smooth surface. It is generally meant for use on the painted surface of your vehicles body, but you can use it for the windows, plastic trim, wheels, headlights, taillights, etc… I have been caught claying scuffs off my hardwood floor and dirt particles off of my counter tops.lol
How often should I clay?
For your own daily driven vehicle, twice a year is common. Once at the end of summer and once after winter. However, it wouldn’t hurt to clay your vehicle every time you wax. I know people that clay once a month. There is no maximum for how many times you can clay your car, but you should at least clay it once a year.
If you are detailing for money, it is a good idea to clay before you polish or wax because chances are, the vehicles surface has never seen a clay bar. As mentioned above, claying before you polish is a good because it removes particles off the surface that could potentially get trapped in your pad and cause unwanted surface marring. It will help aid in the wax on/wax off steps and it will also help boost the appearance with little added work.
You can also “spot clay”. If you get some overspray on your paint and the overspray is still somewhat fresh, then claying will take it off easily. If you get a stubborn bird bomb on your roof and a QD and wash will not completely remove it, you can generally clay it off. Anytime you get a stubborn contaminant on your paint, trying to clay it off might be a solution.
Do I have to do anything after I clay?
Yes. No only does it strip contaminants off of the surface, it will also strip waxes/sealants that you have previously put on. People generally clay before applying wax anyway, but even when you spot clay, it is a good idea to wax that area.
Which Clay is best to use?
This is personal preference. People chose clay for different reasons including, price, brand, availability, etc… There really isn’t a clay that is superior to another. I have used 8 different clay bars from different companies and they all have performed the same. From all the research I have done, most all, if not all, automotive clay is made the same way out of the same ingredients. There are different colors and strengths, but that is about where the differences end. Most locally available clay is a mild clay. You typically can only get aggressive clay by ordering it. The three most common over the counter brands are Meguiar’s, Mothers and Clay Magic. All three work perfectly fine.
How many uses can I get out of a clay bar?
You can typically get 3-4 whole car safe uses out of an over the counter bar. A lot depends on where you use it and how dirty your car is. If you keep you car fairly clean and you only use the bar on the body, you could get more uses. If you car is ran like the Dukes of Hazzard Charger, you only wash it once a year and you decide to do your wheels also, you may only get one use before it becomes unsafe.
Always remember, if you drop it on the ground, chunk it and count your loses.
Where in the detailing process do I clay?
The best time to use a clay bar is after a wash. If you do it before a wash, you are going to scratch the surface of your car everywhere and you will fall asleep that night crying. If you do it after you wax or polish, it is to late. There are really only two times you should clay. During the wash or right after the wash/dry. I don’t recommend claying while you wash because of two reasons. There can potentially be particles still suspended in the suds on the body panel and some car soaps break some clay bars down. If you decide to clay while you wash, I recommend that you wash the panel, rinse it, wipe soapy water on it again and then clay. You also need to make sure that the soap and your clay bar are compatible.
How do I use a clay bar?
If you buy an over the counter clay bar, make sure you read the instructions before proceeding.
Thoroughly wash and dry your vehicle.
Remove the clay bar from the packaging. Tear the clay in half. I do this just in case so if I drop the clay, I haven’t lost the whole bar. Take one half and flatten it into a pancake.
When claying the whole car, a good rule of thumb is to clay from top to bottom, front to back. I usually do it in this order: roof, hood, rear deck lid, front bumper, front fenders, front doors, rear doors, rear quarters, rear bumper and I finish up with the side skirts/rocker panels since they generally get hit with the most debris.
Lube. Most over the counter clay bars come in a system that includes a spray lube. Try to stick with that lube. Never just use water. Always use a proper clay lube when using a clay bar.
To start, mist the first panel with the spray lube just like you would if you were using a Quick Detail spray. For larger panels, divide them in half. You don’t need to soak the panel to make the clay work, but you need to make sure there is enough to make the clay glide. Mist the area and try the clay, if it doesn’t move freely, squirt another mist on the area. Once the panel has been lubed, rub the clay bar across the surface. You will hear and feel gritty sound that will scare you the first time. This is completely normal. It is all the contaminants being removed from the surface. Rub the clay across the surface until you stop feeling and hearing this sound. You will also feel the clay beginning to glide more easily. This is when you know that you can move on.
Once you have clayed the panel, wipe the lube dry with a quality Microfiber towel.
After you have completed two small or one large panel, knead the clay. Fold it in half and reflatten it into a pancake before moving to the next panel.
Complete this over the whole vehicle and you are done and ready to polish or wax.


Modified by 67Customs at 5:21 PM 8-10-2007
 

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Excellent post. I have found that I can get a few more cars out of a clay bar than mentioned here. That is usually on cars that are detailed at least once a year.
If you are in a hurry you can clay a car after washing while it is still wet. You will need to keep spraying it with water to keep it wet. Doing this will reduce the life of the clay bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: (Erlkonig)

Quote, originally posted by Erlkonig »
Excellent post. I have found that I can get a few more cars out of a clay bar than mentioned here. That is usually on cars that are detailed at least once a year.
Not on this one. This this is what the clay looked like after just a 1" section of the hood...

This car was waxed and washed regularly.

That was a 200 gram bar and I tossed it after that one car.
3-4 is just an average, but you are right, if the car is well maintained and taken car of, you will get more uses. Good observation and input. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
I think the reason for the 3-4 uses is because people that us it on their personal cars use it for the first time ever and that first time really takes it's toll on the bar and it can only be safely used maybe a couple more times. I just figured that most people that are looking for a Clay Bar DIY/FAQ is using it for that first time.
As for detailers that use them, they may only get 2 or so cars. Especially if they have clients like the one pictured above.
Most people don't take the time to clay twice or more a year like we do.



Modified by 67Customs at 8:23 PM 8-28-2007
 

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Re: (1.8jb)

I have a question. I bought a Mother's clay bar some time ago, I finally cracked it open planning on claying my car for the first time. The spray lube had nearly vanished sitting in a VERY hot garage. I honestly have about 1/3-1/4 of the bottle left without even using it. What else can I use as lube? Just water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: (SiviK)

Quote, originally posted by 1.8jb »
When should you throw away the clay bar? Obviously the bar in the above needs to be discarded. Can you feel contaminaion in the bar itself?
When it looks like the one pictured above (well, maybe a little less), except all over. IT will begin to feel course when your rub your hands over it. You will also be able to see the large contaminations in it like road tar and such. When there area few of those each time you roll it, then it is probably time to chunck it.
That is one of those things that you can't put an absolte rule and and it is really hard to explain without actually showing someone a bar that is ready to be thrown out.
The next couple of times I use a bar and I get ready to chunck it or turn it into a wheel bar, I will take pictures.
Quote, originally posted by SiviK »
I have a question. I bought a Mother's clay bar some time ago, I finally cracked it open planning on claying my car for the first time. The spray lube had nearly vanished sitting in a VERY hot garage. I honestly have about 1/3-1/4 of the bottle left without even using it. What else can I use as lube? Just water?
No, you can't use just water.
What car soap do you use? The reason why I ask is because you can use the soapy water as a lube if you have the right soap. I only recommend doing this AFTER you have completely washed the vehicle and filled a new soapy water bucket.
I suggest that you go to an automotive store and buy some basic Meguair's Quick Detailer. It is in a maroon Bottle. OR, if you want to keep it in the Mother's family, you can purchase their Mother's Showtime Quick Detailer and use that as the lube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: ([email protected])

Quote, originally posted by [email protected] »
I have the mothers kit. I used the showtime quick detailer spray and it left a milky residue on my car. I just use a spray bottle with soapy water (Meguair's gold class orange soap) now how bad is that? Also you don't want to soak the panel for lube just mist it?
You might have gotten a bad bottle. I have never had a residue left over from the Mother's Showtime. Did you let it dry to long? Some QDs will leave a residue if you let them sit to long.
There is nothing wrong with using a mixture of water and Gold Class. That is safe. Are you rensing the panel after you spray the Gold Class and water on it though? Letting the soapy water dry on the panel could leave less of a shine on the paint due to the dried soap on the panel. Depends on how concentrated the solution your are using is.
You don't want to soak the panel because you then get to much lubrication. You want enough lube so that the bar can glide across the paint without catching or causing marring, but you don't want to over lube the panel because you are then not letting the bar work to it's potential. You also don't want to waste product.


Modified by 67Customs at 1:23 PM 8-30-2007
 

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Re: ([email protected])

Quote, originally posted by [email protected] »
I have the mothers kit. I used the showtime quick detailer spray and it left a milky residue on my car. I just use a spray bottle with soapy water (Meguair's gold class orange soap) now how bad is that? Also you don't want to soak the panel for lube just mist it?


GC is a fine soap, there are better but it would work for clay lube fore sure.
As far as the amount goes, typically the more the better to avoid marring.
 

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Re: (67Customs)

Quote, originally posted by 67Customs »

You don't want to soak the panel because you then get to much lubrication. You want enough lube so that the bar can glide across the paint without catching, but you don't want to over lube the panel because you are then not letting the bar work to it's potential.

I don't think you can really use too much b/c it will eventually just run down the panel... gravity wins everytime. Also the clay will pretty much displace the excess when you press on it.
I just don't want someone to spritz one spray on a hood and try to clay everything, the poster said he was already getting streaks, which in my experiance, comes from not using enough lube and the clay it's self hits the paint and smears...
 

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Re: ([email protected])

Quote, originally posted by [email protected] »
I have the mothers kit. I used the showtime quick detailer spray and it left a milky residue on my car. I just use a spray bottle with soapy water (Meguair's gold class orange soap) now how bad is that? Also you don't want to soak the panel for lube just mist it?
Modified by [email protected] at 1:12 PM 8-30-2007

You either let it sit too long and/or the surface of the car was too hot. Rinse it longer.
Quote, originally posted by SiviK »
I have a question. I bought a Mother's clay bar some time ago, I finally cracked it open planning on claying my car for the first time. The spray lube had nearly vanished sitting in a VERY hot garage. I honestly have about 1/3-1/4 of the bottle left without even using it. What else can I use as lube? Just water?

I have used just water, but the car panel has to be very wet ie. just sprayed and I always spray it down after it has been clayed. I recommend this only for cars that have been detailed already and a few spots need to be taken care of. I have done whole cars with water only, but they were in really good shape. If I run my finger across the paint and all I feel is roughness/contamination then I use spray wax after the car has been dried. If I run my finger across the paint and the contamination is spotty or very light I might use water only after I wash. Depends on the car.

Generally one should follow the directions on the package. Some clay bars state that only their brand of spray should be used. Temperature and humidity is also a factor. If your microfiber is wet with spray wax then switch to a dry one or you will be doing more work than you have to. --might have been covered by 67 already
 

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Re: (Erlkonig)

I was thinking of getting the Meguiars smooth surface clay kit. Is that a good kit? I have never used a clay bar before and I have these clear dots all over my car I think it's tree sap mist. Do i have to use a clay bar to get this off or can a use a tar removing spray to get it off. Thanks for the help


Modified by JB#3709 at 8:08 PM 8-30-2007
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: (JB#3709)

Quote, originally posted by JB#3709 »
I was thinking of getting the Meguiars smooth surface clay kit. Is that a good kit? I have never used a clay bar before and I have these clear dots all over my car I think it's tree sap mist. Do i have to use a clay bar to get this off or can a use a tar removing spray to get it off. Thanks for the help

Yes, it is a good kit. However, if you can find the Clay Magic kit, I would get that. You get just as good a bar at almost half the price.
Try a bug and tar remover, but for sap, you might have to step up to a clay bar.
Although, if you have never clayed your car before, it would be well worth your investment to get one anyway.
 
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