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Detailers: Clay Bar versus Polishes?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mike51Merc, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,832


    The weather here is finally breaking, and my mind wanders to spring cleaning and detailing the cars.

    I've never used a clay bar. I've been using cleaning polishes, glazes, and waxes (in that order). My results are usually good, but I wonder if I'm missing something.

    Does anyone have a good argument for using a clay bar?
  2. Baron
    Joined: Aug 13, 2004
    Posts: 3,448


    Using a clay bar does make a difference. Try the clay on one part of the car, and do an area right next to it the way you normally do, and you should see ( and feel) a difference.
  3. bgaro
    Joined: Sep 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,189


    i find a good quality snake oil works best.
  4. 226 flattie
    Joined: Jan 6, 2009
    Posts: 307

    226 flattie
    from orange,ca

    Clay bars work . The clay with lubercant pulls dirt and grime out of the pors of the paint or clear. There's a big difference when using them before waxing or polishing . Cleaners sometimes don't remove all the dirt that clay will.
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  5. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503


    A good wash, clay bar, then a coat of Mothers or Maguires and you're good to go. The 2nd go-round with the clay bar is even better.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
  6. plodge55aqua
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,710

    from Alberta

    Dont clay bar in the Sunlight though.. alway Kneed the clay bar to keep the outer grit free.. work in a circlular motion, and keep wet. they work well..and very soft cloths to prevent scratching the surface when wiping and drying..
  7. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    My Son uses the clay bar occasionally and he did my daily driver for me when I bought it. The results were amazing. The surface was not only clean but as smooth a silk. I had cleaned the car before that and thought it was spotless, but the clay bar was filthy when we got done. Keeping it moist seems to be the key.

  8. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,200


    I thought the clay bar was snake oil too, until I tried it. Used spray detailer for a lubricant, sumbich works.
  9. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,730

    from Canada

    I found that it does indeed take contaminates off the painted surfaces. The advice above of keeping the area that you are applying the clay bar to cool and well lubricated with water is a good thing to keep in mind.

    Lots of snake oil products out there, I don't think this is one of them.
  10. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,832


    When I feel a rough surface from grit, pollen, or tree sap, I remove it using either a machine polish or glaze. It works for me, or maybe I'm fooling myself?

    I'm not asking if clay works, I believe it does. Nobody knows why/how clay is different from the method I'm using?
  11. speedfreek155
    Joined: Sep 10, 2011
    Posts: 312


    Clay bar , YES ! As previously stated use liberal lube , then follow with polish . I always start with the finest polish first , on a small section of the car that I tape out , then I inspect for "flatness" , sometimes another pass with fine polish works or you may have to take to the next level of abrasiveness , then work your way back down . I then apply a sealant then wax over sealant . If I have the car in the garage over night I will apply another coat of wax the next morning for maximum protection and shine . Just my process . Bill

    Attached Files:

  12. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,729


    The first time I tried it was because my car had been at a shop for a couple of weeks. Instead of detailing, I tried clay barring the car. I first tried a small 3'x3' square on the roof. It was so fast and easy, I ended up doing the whole car in an hour. After that, I just used detail spray once a week. It always came out as smooth as glass. This, for a car that sat outside under a cover.
  13. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,161


    Clay bar. Spray detailer for lube. Use it everywhere you feel resistance. Polish the surface. Load it with glaze. Top with Wizard Sealant (lasts 5 times longer than wax) or wax (lasts a few weeks) and have a much better finish that cleans up far easier.
  14. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,779

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Mike, the difference is the amount of material being removed. The clay will skim the surface, and grab and hold any contaminants laying on the surface, with very little of the base paint removed.
    Sanding, or polishing will remove much more of the top surface of the paint, taking contaminants, plus an upper layer of paint with it.
  15. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,161


  16. I am sold on clay bars. Works great for light overspray as well.
  17. Just a quick question, as I've never tried the clay bar. Since the principle is that it picks up and holds contaminants, How often does one need to throw out the clay and use a new piece? Is there a rule of thumb or just when it can't be folded over any more to find a clean area?
  18. Bull
    Joined: Mar 17, 2006
    Posts: 2,282


    Thanks for the plug. While we don't have a clay product, we do have the detailer/lubricant perfect for use with the clay of your choice. Our Mist-N-Shine works perfect for that.
    For a polish and sealant, use our Shine Master or Supreme Seal. Shine Master has a micro polish to help with swirls. Supreme Seal is a paint sealant.

    And, as always, use coupon code HAMB15 for 15% off your order.
  19. I second the Wizards products, it is all I use.
  20. Olderchild
    Joined: Nov 21, 2012
    Posts: 476

    from Ohio

    If you want to find out how well it works, use the bar in a small area, place a sandwich bag on your hand and lightly rub your hand over it and feel the difference you will feel every peice of crap stuck on your paint
  21. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 3,351

    from ma

    I've only done the clay bar on my OT 2001 daily hyundai with crappy quality OEM paint. bought it new and washed and waxed it once a week. thought it was as good as could be until I clay barred it. put it in the shade on a nice day with a beer and take your time to hit every spot on the car. after that the finish was like running your fingers over your first teenage bosom! Smoooooth and perfect! :cool:
  22. Sting Ray
    Joined: Mar 24, 2012
    Posts: 936

    Sting Ray

    I throw it away after doing one car. The contaminants that it's picking up could actually scratch paint if it's been used too much.

    Also, wash the car with Dawn soap and hot water before you use the clay bar, that will eliminate previous wax and dirt. After using the clay bar, I like to use a cleaner or polish wax to clean up any bar residue and then seal up with a couple coats of wax. Do your windows too.
  23. Thanks for the advice.:)
  24. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 917

    Joe H

    If its cool out, microwave the clay for a short time to soften it up. I work my clay around always turning and twisting it, three or four cars per bar. I keep a dirty one around for the daily driver, it really helps clear up the glass as well as paint.


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