The Secret To A “Smooth-as-Glass” Finish
The Secret to a
Professional detailers and paint and body shops have known this secret for years. Yet, the process is so simple and the results so immediate that anyone who can mold a piece of clay bar into a flat shaped disc and move their hand from side to side can obtain professional results every time. The secret is known as “claying” and it involves nothing more than simply rubbing a piece of flattened, non-abrasive detailing clay, like Meguiar’s Quik Clay, across a lubricated paint surface to safely remove the #1 enemy of a “smooth-as-glass” finish—bonded contaminants.
So what are these bonded contaminants and where do they come from? Automotive paint is subjected to airborne contaminants on a daily basis. Whenever your car is outside, whether stationary or in use, it is continually exposed to a full spectrum of contaminants. The most common is tree sap mist. Every tree emits a fine mist of tree sap that can travel quite some distance before landing on your car. There is no escaping tree sap mist, but few people recognize it for what it is. Tree sap is a resin that will bond to whatever it lands on in just a few days under the right conditions. You will eventually realize that your car has lost gloss and slickness, but you’ll probably blame it on whatever car wax you last used.
Paint overspray is another common contaminant that is usually microscopic and undetectable at first glance. Additionally, everything that flies, from a gnat to a 747, expels contaminants that lands on your car’s finish. Add to that industrial fallout, alkaline ash, airborne salts, road tar, hard water spots and the like and you realize that your car is continually in environments that are hostile to its appearance. Keep in mind that most of these contaminants will wash right off your cars, however, others immediately begin to bond to your car’s finish. Week by week, if not removed, there is an accumulation of bonded contaminants that destroys slickness, gradually masks and blurs reflection and gloss, and eventually etches into the paint finish.
How do you determine if claying is necessary? Evaluate your finish by using the touch test. Since many contaminants that are bonding to your paint are difficult to see, use this fool-proof way to know when you need to clay. After thoroughly washing and drying your vehicle, simply rub the palm of your clean, dry hand over the top surfaces of your paint finish, allowing your sense of touch to tell you what your eyes can't see. If your finish does not feel as smooth as glass, but instead is rough and gritty, you need to use Quik Clay before polishing and waxing can create clear reflections.
How does a clay bar work to remove these bonded contaminants? Meguiar’s Quik Clay is completely non-abrasive, yet has the ability to grab hold of these enemies that have attached themselves to your paint and literally pull them off of the finish leaving it as smooth as glass. This new, alternative technology is especially important on today’s clear coat paint finishes that are easily scratched and swirled when traditional abrasive cleaners and rubbing compounds are used.
How do I use Meguiar’s Quik Clay?
1. First, remove all loose surface contaminants by using a pH balanced car wash product like Meguiar’s NXT Generation® Car Wash and then dry the vehicle with a 100% cotton terry towel or microfiber towel. For fast, spot free drying, use Meguiar’s super-absorbent Gold Class Water Magnet drying towel.
2. Working on a small area at a time, use a quality lubricant, such as Meguiar’s Quik Detailer, to mist the paint to ensure that the clay glides across the surface with maximum lubrication. Meguiar’s Quik Clay Detailing System includes a bottle of Meguiar’s Quik Detailer, providing everything you need to successfully create a smooth as glass finish.
3. Lightly rub the clay back and forth over the lubricated surface until the contaminants are removed. Continue to keep the surface wet with Quik Detailer. You may notice coloration or dirt particles appear on the clay as contaminants are pulled off of the surface. Once the clay becomes dirty, knead and fold the clay to a clean side to ensure you do not scratch your surface with the dirt that has been trapped in the clay.
4. If you drop the clay bar, don’t think twice about it, just throw that piece away, and start over with a new piece. If it picks up dirt or grit, you will rub it into the surface of your paint and inflict scratches and swirls.
5. Wipe the surface dry with a microfiber towel such as Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Microfiber, or a 100% cotton terry towel such as Meguiar’s Ultra Plush Super Terry. Re-evaluate the finish by rubbing your palm over the surface. Repeat the claying process, if necessary, until the surface feels as smooth as glass.
By detecting and removing bonded contaminants early before they etch into the paint, you can save your finish and enjoy deeper color and greater shine. Meguiar's Quik Clay Detailing System, which includes a Clay Bar and a 16 oz. bottle of Quik Detailer, allows you to clay an entire vehicle in less than 30 minutes--giving it back that “smooth-as-glass” feel. By doing this, your car will not only look and feel incredible, but it will ensure that the surface is properly prepared for an application of polish and/or wax protection. For great results, finish with an application of Meguiar’s NXT Generation Tech Wax, formulated to create a flawless, swirl-free finish, provide the most durable protection available and dramatically enhance color and shine.
- Always work in the shade and on a cool surface.
- Work on one section at a time to ensure you do not miss an area.
- Quik Clay will not remove below surface defects such as stains, chemical etchings, swirl marks and oxidation. Removal of these defects will require an additional preparation step—cleaning--using a non-a abrasive paint cleaner like Meguiar’s ScratchX or Meguiar’s Deep Crystal System Paint Cleaner.
- Practice prevention: Use Quik Detailer by itself to remove contaminants when they are fresh, before they have time to bond or etch into the finish…and you car will look like it was just detailed---every day.