You can make your vehicle's finish sparkle with regular washes and waxes, but a truly exceptional shine comes by using a procedure known as claying. Below is how to use claying to bring out the absolute best in your car's finish.
How Claying Can Help Your Car Look Its Best
Most vehicles contain a two-layer finish, with a transparent coating known as a clear coat on top of a tinted base. The clear coat comes from the factory or body shop in flawless condition, but it doesn't take long for the clear coat to lose its luster.
Many types of contaminants, including brake dust, tar, sand, paints, and other chemical residues, stick to the clear coat and even embed themselves. The accumulation of these contaminants causes the clear coat to become dull, and no amount of washing and waxing can remove the embedded particles.
However, automotive clay is capable of removing contaminants from clear coat and can restore the original shine. Automotive clay is different than regular clay in that it is designed especially for clear coat restoration. It comes in various formulations, depending on how the user wants to apply the clay.
How You Can Use Claying to Restore the Shine
Before you being the claying process, you need to be sure the paint job on your vehicle is ready to accept it. For example, if you have recently had your car repainted, check with the body shop to make sure that claying won't dull the finish or if you need to wait for a while before claying.
Once you get approval to begin claying your finish, here is a step-by-step process you can follow.
1. Purchase an Automotive Clay and Claying Lubricant
Leave aggressive auto body clays to the experts who understand how to use them properly. Instead, choose a relatively "mild" clay that is suitable for auto enthusiasts and won't damage the finish.
Besides the clay itself, you will need to purchase a claying lubricant. The lubricant allows you to glide the clay over the finish without it grabbing the clear coat. Clay and lubricants can both be purchased from automotive parts stores.
2. Prepare the Finish for Claying
After you have bought a suitable clay and lubricant, the next step is to prepare the finish of your vehicle by washing. Thoroughly clean the car with a high-quality car wash soap, then rinse and dry the finish. Don't apply a wax yet, as the claying process will strip off whatever wax you apply.
3. Apply Clay to the Finish
Once the vehicle has been cleaned, you are ready to begin the claying process. Park the car in a shady location, if possible, as this will keep the finish at an ideal temperature for claying.
Next, pinch off a ball of clay about the size of a ping-pong ball and flatten it with your hands until it resembles a pancake. To make the "pancake" easier to manage, fold it half and push the halves together.
Spray an area where you wish to begin claying with clay lubricant until it is wet; it is impossible to use too much lubricant, so don't worry about overdoing it. Next, begin rubbing the flat piece of clay you folded over the moistened area. Rub in different directions to try to capture as much debris as possible. Once you have gone over an area well, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe away the lubricant and any residual clay.
4. Repeat the Process
After finishing an area, simply spray a new area with lubricant and repeat the clay application process. Periodically fold the clay over on itself to expose a clean surface.
You should be able to use the same ball of clay for an entire finish, but throw the clay away if you drop it on the ground. It will attract contaminants that may scratch your car's paint.
Once you have finished claying the entire vehicle, it is ready to be waxed and admired.
If you have questions about your car's finish, including care-related concerns, be sure to contact Jim's Body Shop, Inc. for help. The professionals at Jim's Body Shop can help you make your car look its very best.