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http://www.aaacarolinas.com/Newsroom/Magazine/JulyAug03/JulAug_03_claycar.htm (AAA GO Magazine of North & South Carolina)

A clay cleansing bar may seem like a product suited to a late-night infomercial, but actually, clay cleansing is hailed by car-care professionals as a revolutionary tool for cleaning car exteriors.

The clay bar's claim to fame is its ability to remove tough test surface contaminants from clear-coated - as well as non-clear-coated - paint finishes without scratching. Rather than rubbing and digging into the paint surface to remove debris, clay bars "pull" the damaging particles out of the surface. The clay holds the contaminants inside the bar so they cannot scratch or be deposited again.

Vehicles take a beating on the road every day, and no wax or chemical treatment can protect them. It's not just dirt that flies up from the road; industrial fallout, brake dust, and tiny metal shavings from rail dust and other potential damaging contaminants can lodge in the surface of your vehicle. A dull appearance and a rough, gritty texture to the paint surface are the first signs of trouble, often leading to rust spots if left untreated.

Abrasive components can remove this contamination, but it only takes a few times before much of the clear-coat finish is compromised. Clay bars are considered kindler, gentler and extremely effective.

For years, professional detailers have used clay bars to remove road debris as well as paint over-spray, tree sap, acid rain, and water spots to make a vehicle look as good as new. Today, many brands are available at your auto parts store.

The experts at Eagle One Pro Detail say that the best clay bars are extremely soft and pliable. They suggest looking for a product that is resistant to heat, which prevents the bar from being overly sticky from the friction. A bar that is packaged in a resealable container is ideal.

Clay bars will not remove scratches, swirls, or dull, oxidized paint.
For best results with your clay cleansing bar, follow these tips:

o Clay bars should always be used on freshly washed, clean surfaces. Dirt on the surface could cause scratches.
o Use the clay in conjunction with a spray lubricant, usually packaged with the bar.
o Start by working on a small area. Mist the paint surface with the detail lubricant and glide the clay bar over it. At first, you will feel a slight resistance. As you repeat your strokes, you will feel less friction until the bar glides smoothly.

When the clay bar moves freely over the paint surface, you are ready to move on. Wipe the surface with a clean dry towel and continue in sections until the entire vehicle is complete.

As the bar becomes soiled, pull, stretch, and refold to expose a new, clean side. When the bar becomes dark-colored and fully soiled, discard it. A four ounce bar will typically clean 10 to 12 cars.

Don't let the bar fall to the ground. If it does, throw it away and use a new bar. Debris from the ground can become embedded in the bar and will scratch your vehicle.

When you are finished using the bar, spray it with lubricant and store it in an airtight container or resealable storage bag.

If your car's paint is in good condition and free of scratches, proceed with your favorite wax. If working on an older vehicle with dull paint or surface swirls, follow the claying process with your favorite polish, then wax.
 

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Griot's Garage has a good clay bar product. I use it with a random orbital polisher. They have a special pad that holds the clay bar. Also get their speedshine product. Makes a great lubricant when using the clay bar.
 

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Everytime I am in the driveway using my claybar it never fails that someone walking will ask what the heck I am doing. I absolutely think the stuff is amazing. I always get uptight when I see all the black marks on my lower rocker panel and embedded insects on the front but smile from ear to ear when the claybar gets rid of all of em':29: :29:
 

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hockeyplayer said:
.. I always get uptight when I see all the black marks on my lower rocker panel and embedded insects on the front but smile from ear to ear when the claybar gets rid of all of em':29: :29:
When you use Klasse, the bugs just slip right off the paint. Sometimes you have to wipe twice on the bad ones.
 

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shootist said:
When you use Klasse, the bugs just slip right off the paint. Sometimes you have to wipe twice on the bad ones.
Which of their product?
 

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zafer said:
Which of their product?
All in One to clean the finish and build up acrylic. I also use it diluted in water to hand wash the MDX, and to clean and coat when I dry after a machine wash.
A coat of High Gloss Sealant and Glaze when you have some spare minutes.
 

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zafer,

All this talk about Clay Bars got me curious. So, I used this weekend to try it out on my MDX. The local automotive parts store had Meguiar's Quik Clay Detailing System. I followed the instructions and concluded with another coat of Finish 2001 (must be up to 10 coats now). My MDX was pretty clean to begin with, but I must say the Clay Bar does give the finish that "smooth as glass" feel. Therefore, I am confident the Clay Bar did its job in removing containments from the clear coat.:29:
 

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pdempsey said:
Griot's Garage has a good clay bar product. I use it with a random orbital polisher. They have a special pad that holds the clay bar. Also get their speedshine product. Makes a great lubricant when using the clay bar.
I'll second that. very good products, very good results.
 

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The clay bar is awesome, was a bit leery at first use, but swear by it now.
 

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I was also leery the first time but found it easy to do and really smoothed the paint. I bought Mothers. If anyone is apprehensive about claying I wouldn't worry, it's easy and you'll be happy with the results.
 

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The results of 'Claying' are quite compelling, but clay is still an abrasive so I refrain from frequent use. Within my driving environment I need to clay about twice/year.
 

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Admittedly, I had never heard of "clay bar" until I joined this forum, and have been curious to say the least. Last time I waxed the hood of my X, I noticed many fine rough edges across the surface of the paint - seemingly a perfect situation to do some claying. So I picked up a clay bar this weekend and gave it a shot.

To beat a dead horse, it is truly an amazing product. Simple to apply, and it really works wonders to restore that smooth, "glass-like" surface. I'm sold on it, and highly recommend it to others who've never "clayed."
 

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Clay How-To and Info

Autopia has a very good article on clay bars. If you are new to the product or considering claying for the first time, I highly recommend reading it. It will help you get the most out of your clay and achieve maximum results while minimizing the risk of damage.

Some additional Clay tips:

- Don't use the entire clay bar (if you drop it, you must discard it or risk scratching). Break off a piece at a time and work with that until it's time for a new piece.
- Only clay a surface that is cool to the touch and out of direct sunlight.
- It is generally recommended that a vehicle's paint be clayed twice a year.
- Clay is a paint cleaner and it does remove wax. If you clay your car, wax afterwards so your paint will be protected.
- Clay can be safely used on most hard, non-porous surfaces (painted areas, glass, coated wheels, etc.), but should not be used on plastic or rubber surfaces (ex. window trim).
- Using the recommended lubricant will extend the life of your clay bar. Soapy water is cheaper, but it tends to cause the clay to break down faster.
 

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kunB,

Depending on the envirionment, contaminents can attack even a 4 month old vehicle. Try the clay bar on a small section of your MDX and see if it doesn't make the finish feel smoother.
 

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Can We start using clay on 4-5 month old cars. My mdx is 4 months.
That actually brings up a good point and like Excalibur said you should decide based on how the surface feels. If it is bumpy or gritty even after washing, clay is the solution. And that kind of situation can be present on cars even when they are brand new. Many new cars are transported by rail and get rail dust (tiny metal shavings) embedded in the paint before they even reach the dealership lot. So, yes, it is very possible that newer cars may need to be clayed, especially if the dealership does not take the time to properly remove it before sale.

The type of environment your car is exposed to on a regular basis will help you identify hazards to your paint. The most common causes of paint contamination for owners are brake dust (again, tiny metal particles), paint overspray, industrial fallout, tree sap, bug residue, and road tar. Removal of this contamination is important because most of these are corrosive, meaning that they will continue to damage your paint finish the longer they are allowed to remain there.

Washing (every 1-2 weeks)and waxing (every 2-3 months) regularly can prevent some contaminants from developing as deep of a bond, but some can't be prevented and can only be removed with clay. Just remember, always wax after claying....clean, then protect!

Fun Tip: If you want to enhance the sensitivity of your fingertips, slip a piece of cellophane (plastic wrap from a pack of cigarettes works well) over your fingers and you'll be amazed at how much more you can feel on the paint.
 

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Using your hands, form the clay into a pancake shape. Then you spray the included lubricant liberally onto the surface and gently slide the clay back and forth. Almost no pressure is necessary.

The clay kit packaging usually comes with very easy to understand instructions. Once you do it, you'll be amazed how something so simple can yield such great results.

I maintain that clay bars and microfibers are the greatest thing to happen to paint care in the past decade.:4:

BTW, Meguiars has redone its packaging recently for its clay kit, it's kind of neat because you can feel an area on the box that demonstrates what clay does. I also really like this new kit because:
- it includes a nice plastic case to keep the clay in
- comes with a great microfiber
- and they had the foresight to divide the clay bar for you and package them individually because you really never need to use the entire thing at once (even I would still only use about 1/3 or 1/2 of this bar).
The kit retails for about $17, which may seem like a lot initially, but you will swear it was worth every cent after using it.

Mothers and Clay Magic also offer clay kits that work equally well, but I must say that Meguiars new kit blows them all way with what are you also getting. Its well worth a few extra dollars. The other kits do not include a microfiber or a case to store and protect the clay.
 

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