Clay Bar and the Proper Maintenance of Paint Finishes

Of all the information out there and of all the products being sold to the public to preserve and protect your vehicle’s finish, little or nothing is said about a simple product used in the Automotive Detailing and Paint Repair industry. The breakthrough paint protection technology effects from your car is different from other paint protection products.

Some detailers don’t really understand the benefits of using this product in the way I am going to talk about, and how it is beneficial to their customers and why it should be done on a somewhat regular basis!

Well what is this product?

It is called a Clay Bar.

This is not a new product or a secret product. However, it is not a well know product. Its use even by manufacturers is not well explained or understood.

We have some insight that is unique and not well understood by detailers or body shops because of the range of automotive appearance restoration we specialize in. Since many of the vehicles we work on have already been detailed we have to leave the vehicles “front line ready” when we are finished.

Unlike a body shop whose job does not include any kind of ‘detailing” we have to leave the vehicles we work on “front line ready”. Also, unlike a detail shop we have paint restoration experience.

Why does this matter to you, and how can our experience and knowledge benefit you?

First of all let me explain a basic rule to paint preparation when preparing for refinishing. The surface being worked on has to be completely “sterile” and properly scuffed in order for new paint to adhere well to the area being refinished.

Let me illustrate it this way. If I paint something that has decal on it and I paint over that decal what happens if that decal’s glue looses its adhesive quality? That area will certainly peel off sooner or later. You would not paint over a pin stripe or decal but on a larger scale if you have removed all surface contaminates you will have great adhesion and a long lasting paint job!

One of the biggest things that makes a paint job a quality paint job is how well the surface has been “prepped’! I cannot stress this point enough!

Have you ever priced a paint job? Have you wondered why some body shops can do a paint job for $400 and others will tell you $3000?!

Did you know the factory paint job on your vehicle can be valued somewhere between $3000 to $6000 depending of the make and model? Any paint work that is not done to the factory standard can devalue your vehicle the amount of your factory paint job.

The prep work done for a paint job when done properly can be the difference between a factory quality paint job and disaster!

So you have this $3000-$6000 paint job on your car, how do you protect it?

First of all do not neglect it by not removing damaging surface contaminates such as tar, sap, bugs, industrial fallout etc. Sap can actually boil in the sun and burn off the finish under the sap, ruining the panel where the sap is.

Second, make sure your waxes or sealants used to protect your paint job are of good quality and prepare the finish for proper adhesion of your wax or sealant.

Should you “prep” the finish for was or sealants? Absolutely! However, most people think they are but they are not. So how do you “prep” the finish for wax?

The best way to “prep” your vehicles finish for wax or paint sealants is the use of a clay bar! Before you wax and after you have washed your vehicle use a clay bar at least once a year or every six months for the best protection of that expensive paint job.

A clay bar will remove any surface contaminates that washing did not. It can even remove hard water stains on the paint if they are not too bad.

How do you use a clay bar?

A clay bar has to be used with a lubricant. It is a simple process really. In fact you can even use water as a lubricant. However, it is better to use a spray way that will both lubricate the panels you are clay baring and can be used to clean up clay residue as you go.

Simply spray the area you are clay baring…a 12″ X 12″ area is best and rub the surface with the clay bar back and forth in a side to side motion. You will hear the clay bar picking up light contaminates and as the surface is cleaned you will stop hearing the movement of the clay bar.

You can also feel the surface. If it feels rough like tiny pieces of sand after you have washed it, it needs to be clay bared. Use the same method above and listen and feel the area you are working on after you dry it off.

So work your small area wipe it dry when you think it is finished and check the surface with the inside of your hand rubbing lightly feeling and listening for rough areas. Once you have completed a section you can move on the next.

A word of caution, it has been said, although I gave never experienced this, that a clay bar can rub the paint off eventually if not kept lubricated while using. Use common sense and you should be fine.

Well there it is, this is the best way to prep for waxing your vehicle and a great way to be sure you are getting the best results from your wax.

Enjoy and I hope this article helps!

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I own an automotive paint repair company specializing in spot repairs, custom color matches, color blends, body repairs, touch up and scratch repair. We also run a website where we sell our exclusive headlight restoration kit which we designed and created. We have sold well over 2000 kits from our website and on eBay. We also have over 1900 positive feedback for our headlight restoration kit.

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