process of a complete detail Section 2

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    to determine if you need to clay a car, you should wash the car, dry it, then feel for any contamination stuck in the paint, which cannot be removed with washing, or even polishing sometimes. To do this, place your hand inside a Ziploc bag, and run it over the paint… you can also do it with a clean, dry, bare hand. The paint should feel very smooth with no little “bumps” if it does not need to be clayed. If it does, sometimes it is so bad that when you run your finger over the paint, it will feel like you are touching sandpaper… other times you simply feel a bunch of very tiny bumps on the paint, indicating there are small particles stuck into the paint, only removable by claying the car. Usually you can also feel these contaminants when the paint is still wet, but water will make them less obvious, so it is better to check on clean, dry paint. Lastly, the most contaminated areas will be the hood, fenders, front of roof, and front bumper obviously; this is simply because these parts are driving into the contamination. This method of checking (wash, dry, check/clay) goes against my process above (wash, clay, dry) simply because the process above is for a complete detail, when you know you will be claying the car. Once you’ve determined you will be claying the car, the process is simple:

    1. Spray a section of paint (about ½ or ¼ of roof, and move along same as with the wash process… roof, hood, trunk, etc.), with lots of lube (any quick detailer can be used as clay lube, but DO NOT use a spray wax type product… make sure it is a pure quick detailer which is only meant for light cleaning of dust, etc. and has no waxing/sealing abilities, as this will make a huge mess when claying.. basically you’ll be applying a wax with a clay bar, the tool meant to remove wax in the first place…)

    2. Move the clay bar very LIGHTLY (only pressure necessary is enough to keep the clay bar touching the paint, nothing else) over the paint, in any motion you prefer (I usually do the simple, up, down, up, etc.), until you feel no more contamination being removed… you will either feel it on the clay bar or hear, or both, as the clay bar removes contamination on the paint while you’re moving it, and later you will be able to touch the dried surface and notice a difference before/after.

    3. Once, you have completed a section, dry off the lube and clay residue (See the alternate step in the Drying section below), feel the difference, and then move on.

    4. (Optional) it is not always necessary but it is always recommended to clay the wheels on your car to remove some stuck on brake dust, and similar contamination as in the paint. Process is the same for wheels since they are usually painted.

    The main thing with clay is to keep a lot of lube on the paint surface and to apply no pressure other than what I mentioned above. If there is not enough lube, or if there is too much pressure, the clay bar will start leaving marring on the paint by sticking to the paint. Very aggressive clay bars cannot only leave a somewhat solid residue with not enough lube, but can actually mar the paint due to them being so aggressive. This is why the saying “try the least aggressive method first” should always be the #1 thing in your head when maintaining and/or correcting the paint on your car (and especially a client’s car).

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