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Author Topic: Cleaner than Factory! Claying a Terrain...  (Read 19394 times)
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scottyyyc
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« on: May 12, 2010, 07:08:30 PM »

Gave the Terrain its first clay this evening. It looks better and it's cleaner then how it was delivered to me.

The secret here is claying - the process of rubbing clay over the surface of the car to remove the thin layer of crap that no amount of washing can get. After claying, the surface of the vehicle feels glassy smooth - and this is before any wax or polish. Waxing is a process of cleaning - you're not adding chemials, polishes, waxes, or anything of the sort. You're simply cleaning the surface (but perhaps waxing afterwards if you like...).

Anyhow, a quick and tell for the folks here at terrainforum.net! Keep in mind, Jewel Merlot is the only color worth showing off  Grin

Materials I used: Several clean microfiber cloths, claying kit (which includes a clay bar(s) and lubricant) (I used this Meguires kit), and some good music.

1. Wash the car. I took it to a good local washer, but did just a basic wash. You don't want to apply waxes or other chemicals.

2. Started the clay process once the vehicle was dry. You spray a generous amount of lubricant (included in the clay kit) onto a surface of the vehicle (I started with the hood), and then lightly move the clay back and forth along the surface (no circular motions). You'll immediately feel the clay picking up all sorts of stuff. After a pass or two, you will feel the surface becoming smooth. Once the section is complete, wipe the rest of the lubricant off with a clean cloth. You'll notice the surface has gotten very clean/smooth.

Before:



After Clay (no waxes / polishes added [yet]). The surface feels like glass:



Look at how much dirt a single pass with a bit of clay did (again, on a freshly "cleaned" car). I folded over the clay several times, so about 20x this much dirt was removed, JUST on the front end, AFTER the car was "cleaned".



3. Proceed with Wax/Polish. I use Meguires No.2 polish w/ carnuba wax. It's treated me well over the years:



4. Repeat all over...

This evening I did only the front end (front quarter panels, hood, bumper). Here's some more after pictures:

Before - Clean'ish, but not truly showroom clean. If you run your hand along the surface, it's smooth, but not glassy smooth:


After:

(Note, the doors weren't done)



Any questions you have are welcome.
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Seveniron
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2010, 07:31:55 PM »

Thanks for the info. I agree with your colour choice as well   wink   I pick mine up tomorrow at 1 PM...........I can't wait!!!
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 04:16:14 AM »

Wow, that looks great!
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 04:28:29 AM »

Looks great... although it seems like a lot of work.  How long does such a look last?

What is the risk of scratching the clearcoat/paint with that clay process?

Merlot is a really nice colour... I love red vehicles and would have gone with Merlot if the shade was just a little more red.  Carbon black metallic is totally the wrong choice for someone like me that doesn't take the time to even hand wash.  Heck, most of the time I just hit a manual car wash and use the spray (no soap) to get some of the road grime off.  My Terrain has not been literally touched in the six months I've owned it.
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tbox302
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 05:35:57 AM »

wow, that looks awesome scotty!  i've always been a little apprehensive about claying since i've never done it, but i may need to look into it now.  though i'm sure doing the entire vehicle would take quite a while.
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lutherm07
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 06:00:10 AM »

wow, that looks awesome scotty!  i've always been a little apprehensive about claying since i've never done it, but i may need to look into it now.  though i'm sure doing the entire vehicle would take quite a while.

Yeah i was apprehensive too the first time, but i practiced on one of our older cars first.  Truthfully the older car needed it worse of course, but i was able to get the technique down.  And yes doing the whole vehicle takes a while...
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 06:58:54 AM »

We purchased the Sym Tech lifetime Paint and Rust Warranty.
Any ideas if claying would have a detrimental effect whatsoever?

Our Terrain has only had hand, soft cloth and no-touch car washes since purchase and still looks fabulous 8 months, IMHO.
I may give claying a try on our older cars, but can't remember if they had any "treatment" by the dealer.
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scottyyyc
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 07:05:14 AM »

Looks great... although it seems like a lot of work.  How long does such a look last?

I won't lie, it's a fair amount of work. To do the whole car, you can write off an afternoon. That being said, keeping the car cleaned and waxed helps keep it cleaner, longer, since dirt has a hard time adhering to the surface.

Also keep in mind the long-term picture, the cleaner you keep something, the longer it keeps looking new. Clay/Wax a couple times a year and your car will look factory new in 10 years.

What is the risk of scratching the clearcoat/paint with that clay process?

If you're reasonably careful, very low. The theory is you've cleaned the car fairly well before starting the clay, so there's only a small layer of dirt that you need to remove (and hence why only clay can remove it). If you keep folding the clay over (so you have a clean clay surface), and use lots of lubricant, nothing should scratch, because the clay is doing its job.
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scottyyyc
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2010, 07:07:38 AM »

We purchased the Sym Tech lifetime Paint and Rust Warranty.
Any ideas if claying would have a detrimental effect whatsoever?

Don't think so. Again, claying is simply a cleaning process, you're not adding chemicals or removing chemicals. You're simply removing dirt from the surface, just like washing. Like I said in my previous post, as long as you're reasonable and making sure you're not being silly about it (i.e. claying a really dirty can without washing it first), there isn't much that claying will hurt. Again, it's just cleaning.
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 07:20:07 AM »

Where do you get the "clay"?
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2010, 07:22:00 AM »

Don't think so. Again, claying is simply a cleaning process, you're not adding chemicals or removing chemicals. You're simply removing dirt from the surface, just like washing. Like I said in my previous post, as long as you're reasonable and making sure you're not being silly about it (i.e. claying a really dirty can without washing it first), there isn't much that claying will hurt. Again, it's just cleaning.
Sounds like a great way to spend a lazy summer afternoon!
I think I'll give it a whirl this summer on our other cars first for practice, then very gingerly do the Terrain!

I remeber about 8 years ago we had a 92 Vette professionally detailed, including clay.
My jaw dropped when I went to pick it up.
It was like a new car!

Thanks for the great info, scottyyc.
I think admin had a thread going here somewhere on claying as well.
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2010, 08:08:57 AM »

Started thinking about claying a couple years ago when I first heard of it. I use to show my Vettes in concourses in Texas and Illinois....never clayed them, but still always come out on top. Now I have to ask myself do I really want to spend hours and hours to get a somewhat better shine(that will last maybe a couple days because of rain etc)........nope(unless I was putting it in a car show).....I'd rather be out riding my Harley since we don't get very many nice days to ride.
My 10 year old Aztek and Vettes looked pretty much like they did when I bought them new....with just using Nu Finish Polish (not wax) 3 times a year.
Maybe we should look into having a Terrain/Nox get together once a year for fun & games AND a car show. That would give me incentive to clay the car.  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2010, 09:09:57 AM »

How dirty did the claybar end up after claying?

I first clayed my 2000 Camaro SS when I received it and the yellow bar turned
rust brown after just doing the roof and hood.  Claying new cars used to be
used to remove the rail dust (iron particles from the rail car wheels) from freshly
delivered vehicles.  Back in those days only Zaino Brothers sold claybars.  I still
swear by their polishes for durability.

My wife's 2004 Grand Prix had much less rail dust when delivered than my
Camaro.  Not sure if rail cars are covered nowadays and the amount of iron dust
is reduced from the old days.
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2010, 09:15:59 AM »

Where do you get the "clay"?

Mequiars makes a kit with all the necessary items.  It's usually available at Pep Boys, Autozone, Checker, Walmart and probably many more.

Claying really isn't necessary unless you can feel the roughness of the surface after washing/waxing.  It also works great on windows with water spots, etc.
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 09:22:56 AM »

Mequiars makes a kit with all the necessary items.  It's usually available at Pep Boys, Autozone, Checker, Walmart and probably many more.

Claying really isn't necessary unless you can feel the roughness of the surface after washing/waxing.  It also works great on windows with water spots, etc.
Great tip, thanks JLF!
 Cool
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scottyyyc
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2010, 09:34:28 AM »

Hover over my reference to the Meguires clay kit, cause I linked to the kit I used.
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2010, 10:05:03 AM »

scotty, do you think the clay bar would eliminate that scuzzy film on windshields that nothing else seems to get off?
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2010, 11:33:45 AM »

I got my MeGuiers clay bar kit from Walmart for like $15 and it came with everything you need from the clay to the spray detailer/lubricant and even the microfiber cloth for cleaning off, even a small bottle of wax.  They say to put your hand in a plastic sandwhich bag and lightly drag your fingertips over the surface of the paint, and if it doesnt feel smooth as glass then it is time to clay!  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2010, 11:45:26 AM »

They also say if it hits the ground the clay hits the trash. It will scratch the finish with everything that stuck to it.
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2010, 12:38:02 PM »

scotty, do you think the clay bar would eliminate that scuzzy film on windshields that nothing else seems to get off?

My guess would be yes, because it does a great job of getting the scuzz off the body, but I have yet to try it. An old friend of mine is a window cleaner, and his secret is a razor-blade. Personally, I've never had an issue with this as I try to keep my windows fairly clean.
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