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Removing Pollution

Clay Bars

From the day that your car leaves the showroom, its new car finish is constantly under attack from pollutants and atmospheric fallout. Some of these aggressors are obvious - road filth, bird soil, tree sap and rain spots. Others work unseen and are less obvious, bonding to your paint and building up until it feels rough to the hand and polishing becomes hard work.

Previously, polishing, and the harmful abrading of the top layer of your paint by a cut and polish were the only remedies. After the second or third cut and polish, repainting is sometimes required.

It is important to remember that all modern car finishes contain several layers. The most important are the top layer or clear coat and the colour layer underneath it. The clear coat protects the colour layer from ultraviolet light and the atmospheric attack described earlier. Once this layer is removed by regular cutting and polishing, the lower colour layer quickly deteriorates – matting, colour change, whitening and gloss loss. Even the first cutting can remove the clear coat from the high spots and edges pressed in to strengthen the panels.

Illustration of typical paint layers

Illustration of typical paint layers
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What are Clay Bars?

Clay bars have been around for a long time. Typically used by paint professionals to grind off over-spray, the professional grades are highly abrasive and, whilst quick in an experienced user’s hands, they are dangerous for the home user. Consequently Clays have been used for decades by paint refinishers, but until recently were seldom seen in the home garage. The erazer™ CLAY-BAR changes that, and this gentler grade of Clay Bar, used in conjunction with AUTO-CHEM QUICK-SHINE® is safe for the home user, who aims to remove bonded on pollution and grit rather than excess paint overspray and orange peel.

Picture of ERAZER Clay Bars

Picture of ERAZER Clay Bars
(Click on Picture - To Enlarge)

The importance of using Clay Bars prior to waxing cannot be overstated. What do you think the black stain on your waxing cloth is? It’s dirt, road filth, iron particles, and other atmospheric pollutants. By waxing over it, you are sealing dirt in and preserving the roughness. Therefore you cannot achieve a glass smooth showroom shine without first erasing pollutants with your erazer™ CLAY-BAR and AUTO-CHEM QUICK-SHINE®

What is more, an erazer™ CLAY-BAR is especially good at removing brake dust from your rims and cleaning road film from the exterior of your cars windows. Note that it is best to employ a separate, smaller bar for your rims due to the greater contamination on them, and the ability of a smaller bar to get in to the hard to reach places on a rim. The same bar that is used for the body will serve to clean the windows on your car. Use it with AUTO-CHEM SCREEN CLEAN® as the lubricant (just spray some washer fluid on the windscreen before applying the erazer™ CLAY-BAR. The gloss coating in AUTO-CHEM QUICK-SHINE® would smear your screen, so don’t use this on glass.

Clay safety

The importance of keeping your clay bars clean and free from the grit that could damage your paint cannot be overstated. The greatest risk is from dropping your clay bar on the ground. If you do drop your bar it should ideally be discarded. It is possible to trim contaminated parts of the bar and continue to use it, but be warned – this is a good way to ruin your expensive paint finish if not done with extreme care. Weigh the risks up, if the bar is well used you would be advised to discard it.

trimming a dropped ERAZER bar

trimming a dropped ERAZER bar
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Clay Detailing - Hints and Tips

Always detail a car or bike in the shade.

Wash and dry your vehicle thoroughly. Any dirt residue left on the finish, post washing and drying, will surely get embedded in your clay bar, shortening its useful life.

Spray the area you wish to detail with erazer™ CLAY-BAR lubricant (AUTO-CHEM QUICK-SHINE®), and then glide the bar backwards and forwards over the surface with a very mild hand pressure. As the paint contaminants are removed and embed in the erazer™ CLAY-BAR the resistance felt will diminish. This indicates that the roughness has been removed and the area is finished. Confirm that the area is completed, by passing your hand over it, feeling for roughness.

Proceed as above over all the areas you wish to detail.

ERAZER Bar in use

Picture showing the ERAZER Bar in use
(Click on Picture - To Enlarge)

Points to remember:

  • Use copious amounts of lubricant to prevent scratching.

  • Only the lightest pressure is required to pluck off the contaminants. There is almost no “elbow Grease” required! If the Clay Bar tries to stick to the surface, you have not got enough lubricant. Spray on more AUTO-CHEM QUICK-SHINE® and continue to glide the bar lightly over the paint.

  • Fold the clay bar over on itself periodically to expose fresh clay.

  • If you drop the bar – discard or trim it.

  • Finally clean the car with our AUTO-CHEM ULTRA MICROFIBRE TOWEL®, rinsing it in water as necessary during the process. Then give a final buff with a dry AUTO-CHEM ULTRA MICROFIBRE TOWEL® to raise a wet-look gloss and protect the paint until your next weekly wash with AUTO-CHEM "BLAST OFF”®. A second application of AUTO-CHEM QUICK-SHINE® Detailer spray after the first one has dried and cured, followed by another light buffing, will improve the gloss and add a thicker protective film.