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Old 04-13-2001, 06:01 PM   #1
BJamerican
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Location: Honolulu
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2005 Legacy 2.5GT
Satin White Pearl

Question How to use a Clay Bar

I live in western Pennsylvania where we have very acidic rain, salty roads in the winter, and birds w/ the runs in the summer. In other words, my climate is torture for my Subie's paint, and it's starting to show (rock chips, acid rain spots, and overall hazy).

I keep the car waxed with Nufinish synthetic polymer protectant during the winter cuz it lasts about 3 months, and that doesn't seem to be enough to battle the acid rain. During the summer, I also use Nufinish, followed by a second coat of Mother's natural carnuaba wax. I just waxed my car, and I noticed it just doesn't look as good as it did last summer. It still looks a little hazy and faded, even after the thorough hand washing and waxing.

I've heard a lot about Mother's clay bar system on this board. What exactly does this do, and how harsh is it? Does it remove etched waterspots safely? Is it safe to use on older paint (my car is 1995)? It seems like several people have had success with clay bars, and I was wondering if it would work for me. I just don't want to try it and cause even more paint damage.

Any other suggestions for SAFELY deep-cleaning my paint and making it glassy again?
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Old 04-13-2001, 06:38 PM   #2
Rick G
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Don't expect it to work miracles.Wash car,spray detail stuff,rub bar on car and wax.You may want to use a little Bug & Tar remover first if its that bad.Maybe even polish with wheel after clay.
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Old 04-13-2001, 08:03 PM   #3
Skylab
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Quote:
I've heard a lot about Mother's clay bar system on this board. What exactly does this do, and how harsh is it?
Mother's or any other claybar system is NOT harsh. It removes the fine particles of dirt embedded in the cars paint. Claybar, polish, wax. Three steps to healthy paint.

It's easy to use too. And the results are fantastic. Makes the paint feel as smooth as glass. Get it, use it, and you'll be happy.

Skylab
(closet detailer)
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Old 04-13-2001, 09:44 PM   #4
p-car
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Yep, nuthin to worry about, this is real easy. Wash the car real good and follow the instructions using the spray on instant detailer as lubricant. Don't get the clay dirty - if you drop it or rub it into a dirty wheel well, it's trash.

When you finish with the clay, you can polish it too or just put on a coat of wax, have a beer and admire the smoooooth finish.

As a once a year treat for my 911, I clay bar it, then polish using 3M Imperial Hand Glaze and finish off with a good carnuba.
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Old 04-13-2001, 10:01 PM   #5
remarcable
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Blue w/ Paint Chips & Mud

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Yeah just hope you don't get a bum piece of clay like I did.

If it comes off on your hands then don't use it, return it and get a refund.

I didn't know any better and then spent 2 hours removing clay from the 6 inch section of paint that I used it on. (and yes, before you purists decide to flame me again, I followed all of the directions to a T... it was a BAD Meguier's clay bar).

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Old 04-13-2001, 10:31 PM   #6
Overtime
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I think claying a car only makes a real difference when the paint has some wear. Like someone said before, don't expect it to work miracles. It doesn't completely eliminate swirl marks. It does make the paint feel smooth, but it's no replacement for a quality clearcoat paint job.

I'm going to try claying my car again, maybe tommorrow. I was disappointed with the results before. Hopefully they'll be better this time. The car could use some TLC.

Try the 3M glaze or finish restorer if you don't want to deal with a 3-stage process.
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Old 04-14-2001, 11:28 AM   #7
steve_d
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I finished this yesterday. I used the Meguiar's kit.

First off...don't expect it to work just by rubbing across the area once, it takes quite a bit of rubbing to get it right. I even did a couple of areas twice. The paint is like GLASS now. I'm serious...it took about 3.5 hours to do the whole car...then I waxed. I recommend Eagle-one Wet look or The Wax Shop's slick stuff. The Wax shop's stuff is what we used on the race cars...I nabbed a bottle when I left the team. it was great stuff.

It's very important to get the area VERY wet. I had the bar stick a couple of times on the paint, mostly because the area wasn't wet enough.

Overall the car looks and feels better than showroom. The paint is soooo smooth.

When you do it right, the area should feel like a mirror. compare it to areas you didn't clay yet...I'm gonna post this in it's own topic in dress up and style...

sjd
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Old 04-14-2001, 03:27 PM   #8
Langit
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2002 WRX
Platinum Metallic

Question

3.5 hours for claying alone or the whole polishing and waxing??

usually it takes me only 15 minutes to clay my whole car..I use mothers clay bar..
I used to think that all clay bars are the same..
but 3.5 hours?? hmm
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Old 04-14-2001, 05:37 PM   #9
steve_d
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I had to pull the car in the garage...it was a sunny day on a black car. i'd mist the car, and then it would just evaporate...until I moved it into the garage.

I've got 75000 on a '98. She was pretty abused before I got her at 34k.

This september I'll have her for 2 years.

Yes...3.5 hours just for clay. i think there was a wash in there somewhere too. That took 20 minutes though.

The whole clay process went like this. spray, clay, clay some more. I can hear it starting to get smooth...ooooh...now it's smooth. Wipe, feel how smooth, compare to part of car not yet done. Move to next section. spray, clay, clay more, wipe, feel, compare to done section, spray, clay more...etc...for the whole car...I'm pretty compulsive about it....

I don't just wash...I detail...I might very well have the cleanest, 75000 mile car on the board....just gotta get rid of the hail damage...

sjd
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Old 04-14-2001, 07:26 PM   #10
Skylab
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Quote:
Yes...3.5 hours just for clay
Steve, it's ok to love your car, but not to LOVE your car. hehehe

Time can really go by when you are aiming for perfection. The longer you spend, the better she'll come out! Don't you just get wood when you stand back and admire how beautiful the paint looks!


Time for a wash,

Skylab
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Old 04-14-2001, 10:21 PM   #11
Overtime
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I actually bought a bottle of the Eagle 1 spray-wet stuff because I wanted to clean her up today for the big job tommorrow.

Very nice for the amount of time I put into it. I'm going to take some pics tommorrow after the claying/detailing. It looked good today...it's gonna look great tommorrow.
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Old 04-15-2001, 09:25 PM   #12
nor1212
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Hello, u guys are talking about this thing that is sold in a box which contains :
1) a yellow plasticine-looking thing
2) a spray bottle of Mothers instant detailer
3) a bottle of caranuba wax
correct ??
if yes, then i too have the same clay-bar. However , my clay-bar is quite dirty, it has black spots in it. I have lost the original packaging and so i do not know whether i can exchange the dirty bar for a new one. Can i do that ? If i cannot do that, does anybody know how i can clean the bar ?
I have tried washing it with water, stretching it out and moulding it back again, sort of like making noodles. I also keep it in a zip lock bag. However it is still not clean. Anybody got better ideas ?
thanks all..
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Old 04-15-2001, 09:37 PM   #13
silverSurfer
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2006 Rav4 Sport Silvarrr

Talking

Yeah i first used the clay bar on my '90 Celica. lemme say WOW! what a difference. Now I use it at the start of the season (spring). It's supposedly only good for about 4cars worth or 2 suvs worth. It kinda really depends on how "dirty" your clear coat is.

-chrisC
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Old 04-15-2001, 10:15 PM   #14
nor1212
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silverSurfer: if what u said is true, then the clay bar does not really last that long. Does anybody know what the yellow clay bar is made of ? issit really Clay ??
I may be wrong but the clay bar does resemble plasticine/playdoh in terms of malleability and texture, so it might be really it .. IMHO.
my "clay" bar is still dirty after use today.

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Old 04-15-2001, 10:35 PM   #15
Adrian128
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I too have used the clay bar before.. and i love it..excellent results.. and yes.. it takes a while for it to work.. but you can actually feel it work. When you first start rubbing it (lightly, no need to press down) there is a bit of friction, but after rubbing on the same spot a few times, you can actually feel that it is cleaner.

nor1212.. the clay bar lasts long physically, but after using it a few times, it becomes dirty and abrasive, and thus it will do more harm to the paint than good, so you should throw it away. But if you say your bar was dirty when you first opened the package something is wrong. It should be clean and in it's own plastic wrapping. You should have kept everything and went back to the store you got it from.
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Old 04-15-2001, 11:00 PM   #16
Pipercub
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82 BRAT with 12 in. lift

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How is the block constructed? If it becomes dirty can't you use a razor plane and cut off a 1/8 in. ?
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Old 04-15-2001, 11:13 PM   #17
silverSurfer
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hey piper,

it's likea 1/2" x 2 3/4" clay bar that is stickier than any play doh I've played with! The instructions state when it builds up with contaminats, just fold it in half and use it again. Sure you can try razoring off a piece, but in all honestly, when u're exerting pressure and doing the "wax on, wax off" bit it tends to spread the malleable wax between your fingers making it nearly impossible to do so. So just use it, bend it in half, keep using it till it's loaded and toss it! You'll run out of the shine/lubricant that you need to use the clay bar. besides, its only $20 PEOPLE!!!!!!!

-chrisC
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Old 04-16-2001, 08:10 AM   #18
stgardner
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The important thing is to be sure your car is CLEAN immediately before you use the clay bar. If you wait until the next day after washing like I did, even if parked in a garage, there can be lots of dust deposited and that just fills up the clay bar. In fact, wash it twice.
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Old 04-16-2001, 04:31 PM   #19
MattJP
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my 2 cents...I just used Mequires body scrub, a liquid, that took off the bug and tar with some mild rubbing...i could feel the surface change to smooth then buffed to a squeaky clean shine. I followed up with Mequires swirl remover (once over lightly) and then the Mequires Hi-Tech yellow carnuba. Worked wonders!!
I learned a lot at www.carcareonline.com a site that another club member posted. Check it out!
Matt -
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