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How To Use A Clay Bar

Rob

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Editor’s Note:
To me ‘Claying’ is one of the most important steps in the car care process. The Clay will do a deep cleaning of the paint with its ability to safely remove Overspray, Rail Dust, Light Tree Sap Residue, Bug Splatter Industrial Fallout and General Road Grime.

The Clay Bar, known to professional detailers as a surface preparation bar, removes all those contaminants listed above so that there is nothing on the paint except for wax. It is not a wax and it leaves no residue behind. It is safe on all paint types and does no damage to the paint.

Before beginning make sure you have the following:

(Clay Bar and Lube) A Clay Bar System [see guide below]
(Towel) 100% Cotton Hand Size Towel
(Wrapper) Cellophane Cigarette Wrapper

In a well-lit, cool and dry area:

Step 1: Check for Surface Contaminants.
Technique: With two fingers inside the Wrapper gently glide it across the Surface. This will magnify any amount of Surface Contamination.
Tech Tip: Do not press down hard as you may free up some of the Surface Contaminants and scratch the Surface.

Step 2: Break off a 2 oz. portion of the Clay Bar.
Technique: Break off a 2oz piece of the Clay and roll it into a ball (store the remainder of the Clay in the container).
Tech Tip: If the Clay Bar is ever dropped onto the floor discard IMMEDIATELY.

Step 3: Saturate the Surface with the Lube.
Technique: Mist the Lube onto the Surface.

Step 4: Rub the Clay Bar onto the Surface.
Technique: Firmly press the ball of the Clay Bar onto the Surface to mold it to the contour of the Surface. Rub the Clay Bar on the Surface in a side-to-side motion with the Contour of the Panel.
Tech Tip: If the Surface begins to show any signs of drying wet again with the Lube.

Step 5: Wipe the Surface with the Towel.
Technique: Do not press hard onto the Surface with the Towel as you may induce some light surface scratches.
Tech Tip As you move from panel to panel 'fold' the clay to a new section.

Step 6: Inspect the Surface.
Technique: With the Wrapper inspect the Surface as in Step 1
Tech Tip: If the Surface still has some roughness to it repeat Steps 2 through 5.

Source: DetailingDude
 
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Rob

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Clay Bar Guide

The Blue Clay Bar:
I recently tested 3M's and ClayMagic's clay bar and have the same one that is imported from Japan (even has the same exact patent numbers on them, LOL). However, there is a tremdous price variation between the two with 3M's being around $5.00 less. I have found the 3M one for around $18. My Rating: Very Good.

The Yellow Clay Bar:
I recently tested Mother's and Zaino's clay bar and they appear to have the same exact one (although there is no patent number, LOL). Mother's clay bar is available for is available for around $18 as well but I was given my Zaino clay bar so I am not sure of the price. My Rating: Very Good

The White Clay Bar:
I tested Meguiar's clay bar a years ago and was not at all impressed. Meguiar's clay bar retails for $10. My Rating: Good

The Grey Clay Bar:
I recently tested Lusso's clay bar and the quality appears to be right in line with the 3M, ClayMagic, Mother's and Zaino. Lusso's clay bar retails for $14. My Rating: Very Good

The Red Clay Bar:
I have not recently tested AutoMagic's red clay bar. It contains a mild abrasive. I would recommend that this bar only be used in a professional bodyshop atmosphere. I will not give this product a rating.

Source: DetailingDude
 

Cadillac Tech

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I've used clay bars from Griot's Garage and Mothers and liked both. The Griot's kit has a large clay bar that should last most people for years.

Bruce :wave:
 

Deluxe

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Oct 12, 2007
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Location
Florida
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Blue '05
You can tell when you're done with an area when moving the bar doesn't make any more noise and has very little resistance. When it is removing contaminants it will make a little swishy sound and doesn't move quite as easy.

Subtle but easier to tell than it seems.
 

HOMEGAMEROOM

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Oct 16, 2008
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Georgia
My XLR/V(s)
2004 Light Platinum, President, "Midwest Marauders"
Bruce convinced me to "clay"ing my XLR this summer - WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!! She's as smoooooth as a baby's bottom!!! TWO THUMBS UP! I think I used Meguiar's - I may try Mother's this winter.

I read somewhere that someone recommended doing it every year. My only suggestion - use LOTS of the spray they give you (I think it's basically a detailing spray). You can't go wrong!
 

b_pappy

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Oct 17, 2008
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Northridge, CA
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2005 XLR
Adam's makes some incredible products, including a clay bar. They have a tutorial video on their website how to detail a car, including the clay bar use. Very interesting and informative. (wow, it's official, I have no life)
http://www.adamspolishes.com/
Bruce
 

Popbigguy

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Oct 17, 2008
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Lincoln, NE
My XLR/V(s)
2007 XLR-V RII'07 RIII'08 SA'09 CO'10 NCSC'11 PA'12 BG'13 MT'14 VBOBX'15
I use the Zaino clay bar, I like it. the "lube" that I use is what Zaino recommends. Just mix a little car wash soap in with some water in a spray bottle. Just like you guys say, use a lot of lube, keep the surface wet where your rubbing.
 

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