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1996 STS
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Discussion Starter #1
Never tried it, but always have heard great stuff about the "clay bar".

Anyone want to give their opinions and expertise on how to best use the clay?

Im all ears.
 

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This is the way I use my clay. I throughtly wash vehicle with a good product soap made for cars. Do not use Dawn or Joy dishsoap. After washing and rinsing I make a fresh bucket of soapy water. I cut the bar in two pieces and save one for later use. The reason behind this is if you drop the clay on the ground "DO NOT USE AGAIN". Dip bar into soapy water and apply to surface of vehicle. After claying section rinse and do another section. You can also use one of the detailing sprays on the market. Just make sure you keep the surface water as you rub the clay bar over the surface. After doing several sections reknead the clay bar. You'll end up with a surface that is silky smooth and ready for a good polish and then waxing.
 

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'05 Expedition
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1) I use Dawn before clay. Probably shouldn't, but I know the mixture I can get away with, and I rinse often. I wash about 4 sq. feet at a time with the soap mitt in one hand, hose in the other. I keep a lot of wax on my car and I like to get that and any road film off before I start.

2) I like the idea of using a bucket of car soap & water to keep the claybar lubricated. I hadn't thought of this before. It's a lot cheaper than detailing spray. My experience is The wetter, the better when you're using a claybar.

3) After using the claybar I like to wash the car one last time with a VERY mild mixture of car soap. I want to remove any residue, and I don't want to leave anything behind, either.

4) At this time I use a very mild swirl remover/rubbing compound to get the little scratches out.

5) I love glazes. I really like the "Imperial Hand Glaze" by 3m. Apply with a damp scrap of terrycloth in one hand, and a dry all-cotton t-shirt or rag to buff it off. I only do about 1 sq. foot at a time. Sometimes I'll go over certain areas twice.

6) Follow this up with the wax or synthetic protectant of your choice. I've been using 3m's carnauba paste for the past three years, but I'm beginning to like Zymol. My next car I'll switch to Zaino based on the reviews I'm reading.
 

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2012 Escalade, 2014 SRX
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This is on our web site about clay, Z-18 is our clay product, but this would work for Mother's or Clay Magic as well.

-18 CLAYBAR INSTRUCTIONS

Return to Application Tips

Z-18 ClayBar removes imbedded contamination from the paint finish that cannot be removed using conventional cleaning methods. It works like no cleaner, compound or chemical can and is safe for use on all paint finishes. The following contaminants are a general description of some of the contaminants that Z-18 ClayBar removes.

Rail dust- is actually tiny, sharp bare metal shavings that can adhere and imbed to the paint finish and cause serious damage when left untreated. Over 70% of new vehicles are transported from the factory using the rail system, therefore rail dust is present on new vehicles. There are many instances where a vehicle travels or is parked near a railroad in which case the finish is infected with rail dust.
Brake dust- similar to rail dust, brake dust is also in the form of tiny, sharp bare metal shavings. In recent years, asbestos brake pads were replaced with metallic brake pads, which are actually brake pads made from tiny metal or metallic shavings. Anytime a vehicle is braking; brake dust is disbursed into the air and onto the paint finish. Since the brake dust is now actually tiny particles of bare metal, this form of brake dust can seriously damage the paint finish when left untreated.
Industrial fallout- is the general term used for pollution and can be found in many forms. Eventually, pollution settles onto the paint finish of all vehicles and can cause serious damage when left untreated.
Tree sap, Road tar, Bug residue, Paint overspray, acid rain deposits and other contaminants that adhere and imbed into the paint finish can cause damage when left untreated.


Why you should use Z-18 ClayBar?

Contaminants that are left untreated can weaken the protective properties and even cause serious damage to the paint finish after a short time.
It is the only way to truly clean the paint finish and prepare the surface for protection with wax, polish and/or paint sealant. A "clayed" paint surface allows wax, polish and/or paint sealant to form a stronger bond to the paint finish.

How you should use Z-18 ClayBar?

First you should thoroughly wash the vehicle to make sure that there is no dirt or debris on the paint finish. Although Z-18 ClayBar is not abrasive to the paint finish, if dirt or debris is present on the paint finish, scratches could result when Z-18 ClayBar is rubbed over a dirty surface. Using a dishwashing detergent such as Liquid Dawn diluted with water will make sure
that the vehicle is free from grease, wax and oily film. (Mix 1 ounce of Liquid Dawn to 2.5 gallons of water for an effective cleaning solution)
Z-18 ClayBar should never be used on a hot surface or in direct sunlight. Using on a hot surface could cause Z-18 ClayBar to stick or "track" on the finish, however this can be removed by simply re-lubricating the surface and rubbing Z-18 ClayBar over the area again.
Z-18 ClayBar is designed to be used with a lubricant. The lubricant creates a "slick" surface for Z-18 ClayBar to glide across. In a spray bottle, mix ½ a cap of Z-7 Car Wash to 16 ounces of water for a lubricant. (You can also mix Z-7 Car Wash in a bucked and lubricate the section with a sponge.)
Lubricate a small section of the vehicle to be cleaned (approximately a 3-ft x 3-ft area). Using adequate pressure, begin rubbing Z-18 ClayBar over the lubricated section to remove contaminants. You can actually feel the contaminants being removed and as the section becomes smooth, simply wipe the area with a 100% cotton towel and continue in small sections until the entire vehicle is complete.
As one side of Z-18 ClayBar becomes soiled, simply flip to the other clean side. After both sides have been used, pull, stretch and refold Z-18 ClayBar to expose a fresh clean side. When pulling, stretching and folding no longer exposes a clean side, discard and use a new piece. Note: Occasionally inspect Z-18 ClayBar to make sure there is no heavy dirt or debris present.
Re-wash the entire vehicle with Z-7 Car Wash if you are planning on applying Z-1, Z-2 or Z-5 immediately after the Clay Cleaning Process.
**Important note: Avoid reusing Z-18 ClayBar if it has been dropped on the ground. If dropped on the ground it may pick up dirt, or other debris that can cause serious scratches to the paint finish.

Should I protect the finish after using Z-18 ClayBar?

After using Z-18 ClayBar, the finish has been truly cleaned of all contaminants and stripped of all wax and/or polish leaving it vulnerable to the suns UV rays, acid rain and other elements. The finish should now be protected with wax, polish and or paint sealant to protect the quality and longevity of the finish.
For ultimate shine and protection, use Zaino Bros Show Car Polish. Zaino Bros Show Car Polish is easy to use and provides the ultimate "wet-look" shine with the strongest and most durable protection in the industry.
 

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'05 Expedition
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That may be the best single post on the topic that I've ever read. I'm going to sticky this for a while. If anyone has any objections, please let me know.

Thanks, HCVOne!
 

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As I have written for other forums:]

No complete detail is complete unless you have "clayed" your vehicles surface. Kind of a strange name for a product, but I assure you its completely safe when used as directed. It can be rather intimidating if you have never used before, but once you have, you’ll wonder why you waited so long. Clay is designed to pull contaminants away or simply sheer them from your paint surface, safely, and this is accomplished with ease.
So what equipment or materials is needed? There’s no equipment needed at all! All you need is clay, and a lubricant, and a micro fiber towel for wiping upon completion. Now you can skip the towel if you elect to clay while washing.
There are many brands of clay available, and at least two are usually available at your local auto paint supply store or Automotive parts store (Kragen, Pep Boys). Meguiars makes a new version, better than its preceding version, Mothers makes a nice kit, comes with the clay, a lubricant (Showtime QD), and a small sample of Pre Wax Cleaner. The original Clay Magic I believe still comes with a lubricant as well. Make sure you buy or are using “Fine grade” in the beginning stages.

So lets get started !
Lets assume, it’s the beginning of summer, and you want your ride looking the ultimate! You begin with your normal wash routine (see Proper washing techniques), you’ve removed any tar, gum, and assorted crap stuck to the lower panels with a citrus cleaner or tar/adhesive remover (3M comes to mind). Now you have dried the surfaces with a waffle weave drying towel, and "she" looks good, you rub your hand along the top of the hood, and you feel what seems like specs of sand (If you think it feels good at this point, put your hand in a sandwich baggy)..... Close analysis, its actually tiny bits of metal (Brake linings, rail dust), or just normal industrial fallout. Its inescapable, pollutants happen to everyone, and the reason we need to remove these pollutants is, metal contributes to rust, and once rust starts, it’s usually not good! Not to mention physical appearance anyway.
Make sure your working in a shaded area, on a cool surface. Once you get started, the whole process can be completed in about ½ hr. Lets start with the hood. Unwrap your clay product, and take about 1/3 to ½ of it in the palm of your hand. Place the other portion back in the wrapper it came in, you may need this in case you drop the 1st half. If you do drop it, discard it. Spray the lubricant on about ½ to 1/3 of the surface, just as you would while quick detailing it. Take the clay in your hand and knead it until its somewhat soft. Mold to about the size of a small pancake, and place at your fingertips for easy control. Gently place the clay on the surface and glide it back in a front to back motion (grill to window). Use about 10-12 inch passes and overlap each pass. Fold the clay after each area has been cleaned. You will feel some resistance at first, but with passing motions, you’ll be able to tell the clay is removing pollutants! If you feel too much resistance, your either not using enough lubricant or your surface is REAL dirty. A good way to tell you’re not using enough lube or if your surface is too warm, is the clay is leaving product on the surface. This can be removed, with a micro fiber towel. After each area has been clayed, wipe and buff dry with a micro fiber towel.
Clay will remove a portion of wax or sealant protection, so you should follow up with polishing and sealing/waxing. Clay is not a polish! It will remove contaminants, small areas of road tar, road paint, over spray, fallout, and light oxidation. Any areas larger than an eraser tip should be cleaned with a cleaner prior to using clay, otherwise you will end up polluting your clay for future use. You should be able to clay your surface half a dozen times, depending on the quantity of contaminants.
If anyone has additional comments or concerns, feel free to post, or PM me !
__________________
Somewhere between the clear and Blackfire....
 
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