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Greeting everyone,

So it's time to bring out the lotus for the summer. My buddy last year clay bar'd his mini and it got a ton of crap out of his paint. Due to the fact the lotus paint jobs arn't the best, has anyone ever done this? I know it's an abrasive material and I don't want to screw up my car.

Let me know your thoughts.

Z


Sent from my Autoguide iPhone app
 

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I used a clay bar on mine yesterday, no issues. However it does have the star shield so your mileage may vary, depending on if you have one.
 

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www.theapexinn.com
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I do mine once a year.....sometimes twice.
 

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Agreed. I use a spray wax to help lubricate the surface before rubbing the clay bar.

If you're pulling off paint, you're doing it wrong. :) Clay bars are meant to glide above the paint, don't put downward force into it.
 

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Using a clay bar on these cars is fine.

Clay IS abrasive though. If your paint is particularly full of contaminants I recommend a light polishing afterwards, thought it is not completely necessary.
 

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He's on fire!
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clay the paint, not the starshield. Did mine today. Tape up the seams so you don't get clay into the edges of the starshield
 

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Clay is the way!

I have both the blue magic (more abrasive) and the Griot's clay (ordered but they now sell some products at Advanced Auto).

As noted, it MUST be lubricated. I use Griot's Speed Shine.

I pulls tons of crap off. Another tip - use it on your glass. You'd be surprised what it pulls off. I do it on my paint and my star shield.

As ids notes, tape the edge of the star shield. Clay gets in there and looks nasty. Keep a box of wood skewers on hand (like a buck at any grocery store). They clean up any clay in the star shield edges.

Honestly though, I don't go crazy. I've got a GREAT detail shop nearby. For $150 they do my exterior - clay, wax, polish - the works. AND they remove the wheels and wax the FULL wheel. The guys are true car enthusiasts and do a ton of exotics.

I'm just too damn busy not to pay someone else to do it.
 

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I know this sounds bad, but use plenty of lubricant. slow steady pressure. And NEVER under any circumstance use a piece that has been dropped.
 

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shay2nak
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i use clay bar. even on the starshield with no probs. ( i know they say not to use, but I go easy on it and only if it looks dirty after cleaning it with other methods). Especially rear passenger side where exhaust has yellowed it. Actually got rid of the yellowing! my car is so clean that the clay bar rarely gets any junk on it. :)
 

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Using a clay bar on these cars is fine.

Clay IS abrasive though.
That's true and false. It depends on the clay that you are using.

All consumer clay is of the same grade, non-abrasive. There is no cut in consumer clay at all. However, there are different grades of professional clay that do cut, but that clay is only available at a professional body shop supply store. That stuff is something a weekend warrior should never use. Last of all for those who don't know, all clay in America is made by the same company. So if you're buying Mother's clay or Meguiar's clay, it all comes from the same manufacturer, Clay Magic. They have the patent on all clay sold in the USA as of this post.

Here's a writeup that I did on claying and the benefits of doing it.




What is the clay bar process, you ask?

Clay Bar is used to remove paint contamination, overspray and industrial fallout.

What is paint contamination?


Paint contamination consists of tiny metal shavings from rail dust, brake dust and industrial fallout. This contamination affects all paint finishes and can cause serious damage when left untreated. Paint contamination can be felt as a "rough or gritty" texture on the paint's surface and can lead to tiny rust spots. This contamination can not be removed by washing, waxing and/or polishing. Check out the three stages of paint contamination.

Stage 1:

Metal shavings land on the paint's surface.




Stage 2:

Shavings start to oxidize.




Stage 3:

Rust spots forms in the paint.





Where does it come from?


There are three major causes of paint contamination:

1. Rail dust - produced from the friction of train wheels against railroad tracks. Over 70% of new vehicles are shipped by rail. Rail dust can contaminate a new car's finish before it even reaches the dealership. Anytime a vehicle is parked or travels near a railroad it is subject to rail dust contamination.

2. Brake dust - particles produced from the friction of brake pads rubbing against the rotor. This metal on metal friction disperses tiny particles of bare metal into the air and on the highway where it collects on passing vehicles.

3. Industrial fallout - another word for pollution, industrial fallout is a byproduct of our modern industrial age.


Testing for paint contamination:

After washing and drying your vehicle, put your hand inside a plastic sandwich bag and lightly run your fingertips over the paint's surface. It should be as smooth as glass. If your car's surface has a rough, gritty or pebble-like texture, it indicates the presence of paint contamination. This should be removed with a clay bar before applying a polish or wax.


Removing Paint Contamination:

There is no wax, natural or synthetic, or any chemical treatment that can prevent or protect against this contamination. Compounding with an abrasive polish may remove paint contamination but it can only be performed a few times before removing too much of the top, clear coat finish. This is why the process of claying is required. Claying removes these impurities without removing your clear coat. It is the safest, most effective way to do so.

Claying is a simple process, although you may have to exert a little energy. The secret to proper claying is to keep the area that you are working on wet at all times. Not doing so makes the claying process difficult and it also causes marring of the paint. The amount of pressure that you apply is directly proportional to how bad the paint is contaminated. A 10 year old car that has lived in a driveway all of its life is going to require a little more scrubbing than your new car that you have just driven off the car lot.

The object of claying is to get the paint as smooth as glass. Work in small sections (1 foot square areas). Once you get a section smooth as glass, you move on to the next section. Work in small areas so that you don't miss anything. Here's a short video of me claying an area of a bumper in which a deep scratch resides.




The claying process itself does absolutely nothing to remove swirls or scratches.
It simply removes the impurities from the paint as stated before. Claying is a very important process when necessary, and contributes effectively to obtaining that deep, glossy shine.


When should I clay?

Only when your finish fails the baggie test described above. Some folks clay their finish too often. It is not a set in stone step with paint maintenance, it is only required if your paint needs it. A car that stays garaged, covered and not driven often is not going to get clayed as often as a car that sits in a driveway night and day, in a dusty or dirty environment. I have personally clayed my car once, a year and a half ago. It of course is the first car in the scenario above.

Now that you realize when and why to clay your finish, all you have to do is inspect your paint.

Performing the claying process in the shade or indoors helps keep your lubricant from drying to quickly. Try and do so if possible. :up:

The Junkman
 

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Junkman - just wanted to say thank you again for all your info. I have 2 amazing looking cars now and have enjoyed every min of restoring the paint.

Have a great week!
 

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You can also clay the glass! Great for your daily driver! Amazing how much grime the glass collects.
 
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