What is a detailing clay bar?
A clay bar is a deep cleaning and smoothing system that instantly removes harmful pollutants from today’s vehicle finishes without using strong, acidic chemicals or harsh abrasives.
Clay is not just another cleaner, it is a totally unique product that instantly removes the environmental contaminants which can deteriorate a vehicle’s finish. It works by shearing off or pulling away any particles that stick up above the finished paint surface. Clay even removes particles invisible to the naked eye for a glass-smooth finish.
Clay bars were developed as a solution to the increasing damage being done to today’s high-tech paint finishes of vehicles due to harsh pollutants that can burn right through conventional protectants and bond to the finish. Invisible pollutants such as industrial fallout, car exhaust and oxidation from acid rain, along with visible impurities like road tar, tree sap and insect residue, can cause irreversible damage to a new finish in a short time. Clay bar treatment can be effective in removing paint over-spray.
What is a clear coat?
A clear coat is, essentially, a layer of clear paint applied on top of a base coat, which contains the color pigment.
Base coats have no luster or color depth. The clear coat is applied to the top of the base coat to add the shine, color depth and reflection. Clear coat is a paint, therefore it requires consistent polishing and waxing efforts to help protect it from the environment.
What is the difference between a polish and a wax?
A polish is designed to remove minor surface imperfections such as scratches, spotting, and oxidation. Polishes work with abrasives and/or chemical cleaners to flatten, or level, the surface.
For example, a clear coat scratch can reflect light from its microscopic edges. That’s what makes it stand out from the surrounding area. A polish can smooth out, or level, the edges, reducing the amount of light the scratch reflects. In many cases, a polish can completely remove minor surface scratches and other imperfections.
A wax is designed to enhance and protect a previously polished surface. The protection is necessary to keep airborne pollutants, road film and other contaminants from sticking to the surface, causing potentially long-term damage.
Some single-step products combine the cut of a polish with the shine and protection of a wax. They work great when speed is important, but aren’t as effective overall as a two-step polish/wax process. In most cases, Mobile Shine recommends the two-step process for best results.
How often should I wax my car?
It varies based on the age and condition of your car’s paint. Other factors such as where your car is parked (garage, outside, combination of both) and the region in which you live can influence your car care needs.
As a rule of thumb, wax and/or polish your car at the change of every season. At the minimum, twice per year, just to keep up with the forces of nature and man. Once a year waxing is better than nothing at all, but just barely. This is a good guideline for a new car. As a car ages, the process of waxing should be done more frequently.
You can increase the amount of time between wax applications by “claying” the surface prior to waxing. The clay will safely remove bonded surface contaminants from the paint that didn’t come off during the wash. Some of that dirt includes tree sap mist, paint overspray, road tar, rail dust and other environmental contaminants.
How is a paint sealant different than a wax?
Car waxes are liquids or pastes that feature a specific ratio of naturally-occurring premium carnauba wax as the main ingredient. They usually offer a wetter, glossier shine and are usually easier to apply than paint sealants due to their greater oil content. The tradeoff is less protection longevity. Car waxes usually provide protection for 1-3 months.
Paint sealants are liquids that contain man-made polymers, resins, and synthetics to mimic the properties of carnauba-based car waxes, but with greater longevity of protection over wax. They are more time-consuming to properly apply and the product cost is significantly more than a wax, but their value comes because they last longer than wax and are much more durable than wax against the environment.
What is a compound?
A compound is a very aggressive product designed to “cut” or “level” the painted surface very quickly. Compounds contain abrasives that remove the surface of the paint under rotation of a buffer pad, or under pressure such as your hand on top of a towel. They offer a faster cut than most polishes for removing oxidation, heavy spots and scratches. Compounds will produce heavy swirls which will need to be buffed out with a polish.
Can I use dish soap to wash my car?
Dish soaps work great on dishes, that’s why they’re called “dish soaps.” The truth is, many dishwashing soaps aren’t pH balanced and can actually strip the wax right off the car! Professional car wash soaps used by Mobile Shine are pH balanced and fortified with optical brighteners to clean the dirt and add some shine without removing the wax or dulling the paint.
Do once-a-year waxes work?
Once-a-year waxes are typically not waxes, but fall more into the category of a polymer or paint sealant. They may also have chemical cleaners in them to provide a good bonding to the painted surface. If the car is garaged and well cared for, they may last a year, although they cannot keep the surface from being scratched or contaminated with airborne dirt and industrial fallout. When people see the car’s finish losing it’s shine, they assume it needs waxing. Actually the surface may need polishing and then resealing with a premium wax.
Can I wax or polish my car in the sun?
Polishes and waxes work best on a cool clean surface. The hot surface evaporates the chemical cleaners and they become very dusty. The waxes dry out too quickly making the wax and polish hard to remove. If you have to wax or polish in the sun, work your products in very small sections and keep the surface “wet.”
How often should I wash my car?
Some people like to wash their cars once per week (or more) while others prefer once per month, or longer!
In fact, our cars are under constant attack from airborne pollution and contaminants. Left on the surface, these finish killers can embed themselves into the paint, some very quickly. Bird droppings, for instance, can eat through to your clear coat in as little as one hour during the heat of summer and leave you with an ugly and permanent bird dropping signature!
Another example, tree sap can be almost impossible to remove if left on the clear coat for an extended period of time because it can crystallize and become imbedded into the paint’s surface.
The key is getting into a habit of regular car care maintenance.