Surface Prep

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I waxed my car – why is the paint still rough?

One of the key steps in a professional detail is the surface prep of the paint. After the car has been prep-washed the next step is to use a surface preparation bar, also known as a “clay bar” to prep the paint for polishing and waxing. This process removes paint overspray and other contaminants that find their way onto vehicle’s surfaces.

The clay process is the newest way to remove paint overspray that has landed on the vehicle and is available in different grades for light contaminants up to tough stubborn paint overspray.

clay-barTech Note: Clay bars will not remove industrial fall out also called, IFO. This type of contaminant requires the use of an acid wash and should be handled by a professional.

Items needed to complete this process

  • Surface Prep Clay Bar
  • Surface Lube Spray

When the car has been washed and is dry, position the car in the garage or a shaded area. Never attempt this step in the direct sunlight. If the surface temperature is hot to the touch, allow for the vehicle to cool before continuing.

Start with the hood and spray an ample amount of the surface lube on a 24 inch by 24 inch section of the hood. Rub the clay directly on the paint surface and be sure not to allow the lubricant to dry. The lubricant allows the clay bar to glide on top of the paint surface easily.

Tech Note: Always clay the vehicle in one direction do not swirl the clay in a circular fashion – this will result in cob web scratches that will show when the sun is shining on the car. See image below.

You may wipe any excessive lubricant up with a clean towel. The lubricant is a water based product and will not harm any surface of the vehicle.

You will notice if you turn over the clay, you will see all the impurities the clay has collected from the paint surface that previously were felt when you ran your hand over the surface

Continue around the vehicle in a clock wise fashion until all panels have been clayed. It is a good idea to at least wax the surface after this process has been completed.

The clay can be used over and over and is packaged in a resuable plastic storage box, if your clay did not come in a box it is a good idea to keep it in a zip lock baggy.

That’s it – you will be amazed at how quickly and effectively contaminants and overspray are removed with surface prep clay