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Question on using clay bar

5008 Views 24 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Chicago Tommy
So I always try to keep good care of my vehicles. But before joining this forum never heard of using a clay bar after washing before waxing. After seeing all the results and reading up on the benefits it is a practice I'm going to start doing.

The issue is I live in a apartment complex so I can't wash my Cruze where I live. Typically take to car washes and do myself. Now I read that after using the clay bar you should wash your vehicle again before waxing. But seeing as I would have to drive to wash it after the clay bar and then drive back to wax I would just pick up more contaminates on the trip which defeats the purpose. So after I use the clay bar can I just use a quick detailer to wipe the car down and then apply the wax? Also since this will be my first time using a clay bar should I go with a fine grade or ultra fine grade bar?

Thanks for any help you can give.
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+1 to the above.
 

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I never rewash my car between clay bar and wax. You might have an area or two to wipe with a paper towel or sponge.
 

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A clay bar is used to clean the paint .....I used to use polish to perform this not any more a clay bar is easier to utilize then cleaning with polish. Do not get this wrong ,polish is still a good product to use for removing stuff what have you that can suddenly appear on the doors or hood where ever it may appear. You have to read your directions then jump right into working with the product and Be cool about IT....
 

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So I always try to keep good care of my vehicles. But before joining this forum never heard of using a clay bar after washing before waxing. After seeing all the results and reading up on the benefits it is a practice I'm going to start doing.

The issue is I live in a apartment complex so I can't wash my Cruze where I live. Typically take to car washes and do myself. Now I read that after using the clay bar you should wash your vehicle again before waxing. But seeing as I would have to drive to wash it after the clay bar and then drive back to wax I would just pick up more contaminates on the trip which defeats the purpose. So after I use the clay bar can I just use a quick detailer to wipe the car down and then apply the wax? Also since this will be my first time using a clay bar should I go with a fine grade or ultra fine grade bar?

Thanks for any help you can give.
How often should you clay a car? Also you should never do it in the sun, right?


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U can clay bar your car as much as u want but it's not necessary. Clay bar is basically used to get sediments out of your paint (road grime, salt, acid rain, tar etc..) U can clay bar in the sun but I wouldn't recommend it. Always use a quick detailer spray when u clay bar (the car has to stay wet though) Do one section at a time and wipe down as u go along.. It's the only effective way to do it..Do not leave quick detailer spray on car when u move to next section. No u do not have to rewash your car after your done with the clay bar but I would recommend waxing it after your done though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My Plan is the following:

Wash a self car wash, then dry
Use a fine grade clay bar with Dodo juice born slippy clay lube
Followed by wiping down with Chemical Guys synthetic quick detailer
Then using Chemical Guys Black Light

Eventually I will follow it up with Chemical Guys Lava wax. And then using Chemical Guys Hybrid V7 when I dry the vehicle after future washes.
 

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U can clay bar your car as much as u want but it's not necessary. Clay bar is basically used to get sediments out of your paint (road grime, salt, acid rain, tar etc..) U can clay bar in the sun but I wouldn't recommend it. Always use a quick detailer spray when u clay bar (the car has to stay wet though) Do one section at a time and wipe down as u go along.. It's the only effective way to do it..Do not leave quick detailer spray on car when u move to next section. No u do not have to rewash your car after your done with the clay bar but I would recommend waxing it after your done though.
Exactly. If you maintain your wax there is no reason to clay bar more than once a year (I always do mine at the end of winter). As long as there is good wax on the car you won't have to re-clay because the paint is protected by the wax. In winter if you live in areas where there is salt on the roads there is a 99% chance your wax won't survive. Easiest way to tell is by feel. Once you wash your car if it doesn't feel smooth the paint is contaminated. I use Zaino (have for YEARS, it is awesome stuff) and as long as you use their detailing spray after every wash, add a coat of wax every month or 2 there is no reason you can't get away with claying just once a year.

For the people in the apartments, my personal opinion is if you are using a car wash then you should not be claying your car. Car washes (even when you use the do it yourself) DO NOT get the car clean enough to clay. Especially if you drive home after. You want the surface as clean as possible otherwise you can end up scratching it. If you don't have a place where you can wash the entire car get a bucket and a sponge and do one section at a time. I also recommend if you are going to clay use a good dish detergent (I use Dawn) and it will strip off all the old wax so you are working on bare paint. Once you finish with the clay, and depending on the wax you use, you want to apply multiple LIGHT layers of wax. Another reason I like Zaino, you can get an additive for their wax to do up to 3 consecutive coats without waiting for it to harden. After that I generally let it sit overnight if possible so the wax gets good and hard, most likely you will have a few cloudy areas where too much wax built up, I then wash it quickly with a car soap to remove the excess wax, dry it off and enjoy. Spend the time to do it right in the beginning and maintenance for the rest of the year is ridiculously easy.

Do it right and you end up with paint looking like this







 

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Exactly. If you maintain your wax there is no reason to clay bar more than once a year (I always do mine at the end of winter). As long as there is good wax on the car you won't have to re-clay because the paint is protected by the wax. In winter if you live in areas where there is salt on the roads there is a 99% chance your wax won't survive. Easiest way to tell is by feel. Once you wash your car if it doesn't feel smooth the paint is contaminated. I use Zaino (have for YEARS, it is awesome stuff) and as long as you use their detailing spray after every wash, add a coat of wax every month or 2 there is no reason you can't get away with claying just once a year.

For the people in the apartments, my personal opinion is if you are using a car wash then you should not be claying your car. Car washes (even when you use the do it yourself) DO NOT get the car clean enough to clay. Especially if you drive home after. You want the surface as clean as possible otherwise you can end up scratching it. If you don't have a place where you can wash the entire car get a bucket and a sponge and do one section at a time. I also recommend if you are going to clay use a good dish detergent (I use Dawn) and it will strip off all the old wax so you are working on bare paint. Once you finish with the clay, and depending on the wax you use, you want to apply multiple LIGHT layers of wax. Another reason I like Zaino, you can get an additive for their wax to do up to 3 consecutive coats without waiting for it to harden. After that I generally let it sit overnight if possible so the wax gets good and hard, most likely you will have a few cloudy areas where too much wax built up, I then wash it quickly with a car soap to remove the excess wax, dry it off and enjoy. Spend the time to do it right in the beginning and maintenance for the rest of the year is ridiculously easy.

Do it right and you end up with paint looking like this







I agree with everything u said except I wouldn't recommend using dish detergent to strip wax off. It not only strips the wax off it eventually strips the clearcoat off over time. I would recommend just using the quick detailer spray with clay bar
 

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I agree with everything u said except I wouldn't recommend using dish detergent to strip wax off. It not only strips the wax off it eventually strips the clearcoat off over time. I would recommend just using the quick detailer spray with clay bar
It isn't going to harm your clearcoat. You are about to take off the top (dryest) layer of clear anyway with a claybar and polish since that is how clearcoat works. Dish soap will not hurt modern automotive paint at all and just about every major company that sells detailing products (including Zaino) recommends using Dawn or a similar type soap to get the surface as clean as possible prior to applying clay. I've been using it for years and have had 0 issues. They don't recommend using it as a routine car washing soap specifically because it takes the wax off the car and THAT leads to paint damage. Never use dish soap if you aren't going to wax afterwards

Note step #1
Application: Zaino Store -
 

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It isn't going to harm your clearcoat. You are about to take off the top (dryest) layer of clear anyway with a claybar and polish since that is how clearcoat works. Dish soap will not hurt modern automotive paint at all and just about every major company that sells detailing products (including Zaino) recommends using Dawn or a similar type soap to get the surface as clean as possible prior to applying clay. I've been using it for years and have had 0 issues. They don't recommend using it as a routine car washing soap specifically because it takes the wax off the car and THAT leads to paint damage. Never use dish soap if you aren't going to wax afterwards

Note step #1
Application: Zaino Store -
Understandable but one would assume if u shouldn't use dish detergent on a regular basis because it damages the paint then why use it at all.. I've been detailing cars for 20+ yrs and no professional detailer would would recommend using it to clay bar a car. I use to work for Foreign Cars Italia and if they seen me using dish detergents to clay bar a car I'd probably be paying for it.. I don't care how good modern paint is, u just don't use it on automotive paint.. Dishes only!
 

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*Important note to remember* Clearcoat fades b4 paint. If u notice your car faded it's because you have no clear coat left on car.. Therefore u are in need of a paint job
 

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I didn't say to use it to claybar, I said to wash the car with it prior to claybar. I use either an automotive soap of detailer for the actual claybar, dish soap would foam too much. But anyway, I'm not going to argue, you have your opinions I have mine and we both have had good results. You openly admit you never use and I have used it hundreds of times with no ill effects on paint surface. I don't know enough about your process or what kind of cars/paint you are working on to know if there is a reason not to use dish soap to wash the car, but thousands of do it yourselfers successfully use it just about every day with fantastic results. We aren't talking about detailing Ferraris here and most people don't have $500-$1000 laying around for a high quality professional detail. These are daily drivers people just want to look good and ease of application is a big deal here. I am 100% positive there are much better techniques and products out there that cost a small fortune and require a professional level of application but for the average person they want to be able to do it quickly, easily and end up with a good looking car and if the companies that sell the products that they are going to use recommend dish soap then who are either of us to argue with them? If it said for best results do not use dish soap with our product I would certainly take their word for it. But I would like to see a case where Dawn dish soap, by itself, damaged a paint job.
 

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In fact when I get back I may just have to drop a painted part in a bucket of Dawn and see how much damage it does to the clear coat over extended periods of time because unless you are using an oil based paint I am willing to bet it is will probably rust before the clearcoat comes off.
 

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In fact when I get back I may just have to drop a painted part in a bucket of Dawn and see how much damage it does to the clear coat over extended periods of time because unless you are using an oil based paint I am willing to bet it is will probably rust before the clearcoat comes off.
We both agree we shouldn't argue but we are both expressing our opinions.*NOTE* There are steps to painting a car and there are steps to protecting the paint.. I'll try to explain this as simple as possible.. *Paint is protected by clearcoat*Clearcoat is protected by wax and clear coat protectors.. Therefore, if an object is protected by clearcoat, the object loses its clearcoat b4 it will rust.
 
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We both agree we shouldn't argue but we are both expressing our opinions.*NOTE* There are steps to painting a car and there are steps to protecting the paint.. I'll try to explain this as simple as possible.. *Paint is protected by clearcoat*Clearcoat is protected by wax and clear coat protectors.. Therefore, if an object is protected by clearcoat, the object loses its clearcoat b4 it will rust.
assuming it is painted on all sides with clearcoat or any paint, I agree, but most car parts are not. Have to try and find something plastic I have laying around if/when I do this because now you have me curious. I still don't see dish soap taking off paint but I guess anything is possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well Dawn dish soap discussion aside I will add an extra step to my process. I will go to the car wash to get all loose stuff off. Then I will go home and use Chemical Guys hose free car wash and then proceed with the clay bar and everything else.

Question on the hose free car wash. It says all you need is two buckets to do the wash. My question is, is one bucket a dirty bucket and one a clean for a final rinse? Or will I just go through two buckets while washing the car?

Also of note I may live in a apartment complex but I do have a two car garage so I can do all this stuff out of the elements.
 

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I've never used a chemical car wash so I don;t know. I would guess one is for the cleaner and the other is clean water, but not sure
 

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Does all of your chatter resolved the issues.
Now go out there and clean the cruzen ..
Buy my book for the secrets..
 
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