I have never used clay before, but would like to learn more. Besides moving surface contaminants and paints, is clay good also for removing surface scratches/scuffs from the clear coat. What's a good brand of clay to buy, and where to get it (on www?). I have used Formula 7 liquid polishing compound with good success on body panels for a long time. But it does not seem to be terrible effectively in moving surface scuffs
from plastic parts like bumper covers. Would appreciate advice. Thanks.
07-30-2001, 04:21 PM
Clay is really effective in removing the contaminants from your paint's surface. After using clay, your paint's surface will be as smooth as glass. A quality glaze/polish/swirl remover is best used for minor swirls/scratches. Alot of Audi people (including me) use 3M glaze. Griotsgarage, Zainobros.com sell clay bars. I would suggest reading several detail articles, BEFORE you use the clay - not AFTER. Try carcareonline, automotivedetailing. autopia for reference information, regarding clay bars.
Use ALOT/ALWAYS/CONSTANT lubrication, when using a clay bar. I use a towel, full of soapy water, running all over the area i'm claying. Use light pressure, when claying. Just do a couple of quick wipes with the clay bar and move on to the next area. After awhile, kneed the clay bar and use a different part of it. If you drop the clay bar - THROW IT OUT/DO NOT USE IT AGAIN. Hope this helps ..
07-30-2001, 04:37 PM
Some don't buy the Clay but I've found that when properly used, they work quite well. I've used Griots clay bar with their Speed Shine product. You use the Speed Shine as a lubricant. This is VERY important. Spray a small area of the car and move the clay back and forth until you don't feel any "drag" and the clay has done it's job. Clay seems to do a really good job of removing surface dirt and such. It will do nothing for scratches. In fact, if you get your clay dirty (or god forbid, drop it) you can really scratch up the paint!
I usually Clay. Then polish (this removes the scratches and further prep's the paint for the wax). After polish, you wax. Clay is said to prep the paint better so the wax will last a bit more. It also makes it easier to get on and off.
If you clay the paint again, you'll remove all the wax of course.
Clay isn't going to help at all with swirl marks or scratches.
07-30-2001, 04:48 PM
I use a 3M clay bar and it works fine. I have heard that brand name does not matter much with clay bars. If you decide to use a clay bar make sure you use it with a quality quick detailer such as Eimann Fabrik Clear Pearl, One Grand Show-Off, Pinnacle Crystal Mist, etc... The reason for the aforementioned quick detailer is for lubrication. Clay bars do a fantastic job of removing surface high spots, brake dust, tar, bugs, etc... Imo they are not the best option for removing scratches however. When using a clay bar make sure you use lubrication or you very well may create more scratches.
For removing minor scratches and swirl marks I would recommend 3M IHG. This is a great product and I am sure others will tell you the same thing.
After the 3M IHG I apply one coat of Klasse AIO followed by two to three coats of Klasse SG. Klasse products are acrylic-based and do not contain any carnauba wax. These products provide a great shine and provide protection for up to 12 months (at least this is what they claim). I usually apply the Klasse products twice a year.
Many apply a coat of One Grand Blitz over the Klasse for an added depth.
I have used all the products listed above, with the exception of the Show-Off and Crystal Mist QD's, and definitely recommend them.
If you decide to use the clay bar I am sure you will be amazed at what it can do. On one occasion I had something (bug?) on the front of my car that would not come off with any other product, and I tried about everything. I sprayed Clear Pearl on the area and made two passes with a clay bar and it came off instantly.
07-30-2001, 06:35 PM
Thanks to all of you for providing such thoughtful commentary. It is much appreciated, and very helpful in my understanding what the clay is all about.
07-31-2001, 07:40 AM
1. Clay works great on glass too. Try it on your windshield and then see how well your wipers work the next time it rains!
2. The clay bar manufacturers would love to sell you detailing spray too, to use as lubricant for the bar. But that's unnecessarily expensive. Just as good and much cheaper: diluted car wash liquid.
3. I hadn't used a clay bar before either, until just recently. See my previous post about my experience: http://forums.audiworld.com/detail/msgs/228.phtml
07-31-2001, 02:03 PM
I used some of the free 3M clay that Audi was giving out, and I found it to be very stiff and difficult to use. It didn't pick up contaminants as well as the mother's clay bar (which was much more pliable as well). So...I stand corrected...they are not all created equal.
07-31-2001, 05:18 PM
I'll admit that I have only used 3M clay so I cannot compare to other clays. I did a search on the autopia forum and found that most liked Clay Magic, 3M, Mothers, Zaino and Pinnacle (expensive). The one clay that most did not like was Meguiars.
I still feel that the most important aspect of claying is the lubricant used. Some use car wash soap but I can't imagine using anything other than a QD.
Thanks for the tip on Mothers, I'll give it a try.
08-01-2001, 05:06 PM
I gather, also from reading the posts, that you are using the clay to details all body panels, in full. Are you using the entire bar (intact) to work problem areas? Or is it more common to break off what you need to treat the affected area?
08-01-2001, 06:56 PM
flatten to increase surface area of small piece. As you use the clay make sure you remold the clay so that the surface contaminants removed from your car are not on the surface of the clay. As clay gets dirty, this is somewhat subjective, dispose of that piece and grab another piece. If you happen to drop the clay on the ground dispose of it immediately (better to drop a small piece than the whole bar).
Again, use lubrication!
08-02-2001, 04:07 AM
Thanks again for the advise. Looking forward to working with clay. I have Casa. White on my A6 Avant, so you know this will be a handy technique to develop.
08-02-2001, 04:35 AM
08-11-2001, 05:06 PM
....and they like the Mother's and the Erazer the best of the clay bars that they tried.
I asked them about the Meguiar's clay (that's what I have been using), and they didn't like it very much...something about the consistency of it. I have no complaints with it, but will try either Mother's or Erazer next time.<ul><li><a href="http://www.autofanatics.com/paincleanand.html">Clay Bars at AutoFanatics</a></li></ul>