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mel_horn HalfDork
7/12/08 9:50 p.m.

Clay Bar? Aren't they a French tire company?

gamby SuperDork
7/12/08 11:42 p.m.

I've used both. No doubt claybar leaves an AWESOME finish.

However, I've found that using Mother's Pre-Wax Cleaner applied and removed by terry cloth pulls out damn near just as much crap with WAY less effort/worry of dropping the damn thing. Leaves a very smooth surface on cars that don't have some sort of insane amount of paint contamination.

Also--put a sheet or dropcloth on the floor/ground in the area of hte car you're working on. If you do drop the claybar, it'll hit the dropcloth and not the ground.

carguy123 HalfDork
7/16/08 11:13 a.m.

A little update on clays. It seems there has been a shake up in the clay industry :p Several salespeople at the different craft stores I visited said they were no longer able to get all the different clays they used to get. They can't get the polymer enhanced clay (what I thought was synth). What's left is a wax based clay, which is exactly the clay you want!

The only reason I liked the Polymer stuff was that it was softer especially in cold weather.

So what you are looking for is a non hardening & reusable wax based modeling clay. I found it at every store I visited. It was always hidden in the crafts section and not in the toy dept. It comes in 2 different color ranges - primary colors and earth tones. You want a color that is different than the color of your car so that you can easily see when little clay pieces have stuck to the body. This is a clue you aren't using enough lube or that you have an exceptionally rough area that needs more attention.

Little specks of clay left on the car wreck havoc with your waxing as when you wax over them they spread out and leave dull areas on the finish. So being able to use a contrasting color clay makes your job much faster and easier.

I ended up spending $1.97 for enough to do 5 clay treatments. Now I could store the clay and reuse it as the Clay kits suggest and get 10 or more cleanings, but why?!

Also I've got big, meaty, hand sized chunks of clay instead of the silly putty size pieces that come in the expensive kits. This makes the work go much faster, you are less likely to drop the clay and it means the clay won't fill up with contaminants as fast.

So let me see... $18 for Mothers and I can do a car 1-2 times or $1.97 + $ .50 for lube and I can do a minimum of 5 times in less than half the time. Well the choice is obvious, I'm going to spend the $18 because it must be better since it costs more!

I mentioned on a previous post about grit in some clays. Someone else mentioned that clay is supposed to lift the dirt out of the finish and not be a polisher. Be warned some clays are polishers! See the link below. http://www.topoftheline.com/auto-detail-clay.html

If you need a polisher, like to clear up the crazing on your headlight covers or take off overspray buy one of the automotive clays with grit in the clay. If all you want is to clean up your car finish use the modeling clay which has no grit added. I wonder if this would work to help clear up the faded plastic back glass in convertibles?

BTW Per did contact me and this is going to be a Tech Tip. I'm so proud. I wonder if this gets me my own parking space in front of the new office?

carguy123 HalfDork
7/16/08 4:55 p.m.

I accidentally found out some more stuff about clays today. One of my customers is artsy farsty and does some sculpting and knows about different mediums.

The polymer clay I had used in the past is a clay that is a little "grainier" than the wax based clay. It will harden if baked and while it won't harden with age, it gets harder with age so this is probably not the clay to leave lying around. Use it quickly.

There is also a very smooth clay that is oil based. Unfortunately it melts at 150 degrees. Since a car surface can easily get that hot in the summer that means it could leave a residue on the car.

The clays have a marble dust in them to make them opaque hence the particles we could see under the microscope. As I mentioned before the automotive clay had rougher and larger particles than did the craftstore clay.

gamby SuperDork
7/16/08 6:52 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: There is also a very smooth clay that is oil based. Unfortunately it melts at 150 degrees. Since a car surface can easily get that hot in the summer that means it could leave a residue on the car.

However, one should only work on their car's finish in a shaded place, where the surface isn't hot to the touch.

Great tip, BTW.

carguy123 HalfDork
7/16/08 8:56 p.m.

I second that. Claying in the sun can be a real pain since the lube keeps drying and leaving weird clay streaks.

In any case you should do one section at a time and then rinse it off to prevent said clay colored streaks. They are usually easy to rinse off, but why take the chance.

SkinnyG New Reader
7/16/08 10:15 p.m.

Anybody tried Silly Putty?

Once it's dirty, just give it to the kids to play with ;)


GameboyRMH Dork
7/17/08 10:29 a.m.

Homemade octane boosters:


I used to use them regularly when the fuel sold here was watered down stale cat piss. Xylene is probably the best - it's relatively safe to handle, can be used safely in a 70/30 mix with gasoline, and it's probably the cheapest.

fastEddie Dork
7/17/08 10:44 a.m.

Did I miss something or are you just in the wrong thread?

Strizzo Dork
7/17/08 11:50 a.m.

and it also destroys catalytic converters!!

carguy123 HalfDork
7/17/08 1:21 p.m.
Strizzo wrote: and it also destroys catalytic converters!!

clay or Xylene?

Strizzo Dork
7/17/08 1:22 p.m.

hell, probably both

Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
7/17/08 1:40 p.m.

first one, then the other.

nickel_dime HalfDork
7/17/08 2:50 p.m.

Someone mentioned cleaning plastic convertible wnidows. I've had very good results using the Novus products. It comes in numbers 1 through 3 with 3 being for heavy scratches. I've used Novus 2 on damn near everything that had light scratches and it works like a charm. The fine grit that's in it breaks down as you rub so in theory it gets finer and finer as you work it.

aircooled Dork
7/17/08 3:39 p.m.
fastEddie wrote: Did I miss something or are you just in the wrong thread?

See my post on the previous page:

OK, OK,.... now tell us all how to make homemade tire softener, and octane booster and....

Still waiting on that tire softener recipe...

Jack SuperDork
7/17/08 5:53 p.m.
aircooled wrote: Still waiting on that tire softener recipe...

Make it a new thread please too!


John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
7/18/08 6:48 a.m.


DIY clay bar (Joanne Fabrics @ $8.00), then Turtle wax rubbing compound, Turtle Wax polishing compound, Mothers machine glaze, Turtle Wax hard shell liquid wax.

carguy123 HalfDork
7/18/08 9:03 a.m.

Looks nice.

Unfortunately pics never do the finish justice.

Wall-e SuperDork
7/19/08 1:47 a.m.

I've never seen "polishing a turd" taken literally before

I kid of course, I've watched alot of German porn so I have seen turds polished, and clay barred

vazbmw New Reader
7/19/08 4:22 a.m.

What was the lube used for the homemade clay treatment?

carguy123 HalfDork
7/19/08 9:36 a.m.

A strong solution of soap and water. By strong I don't mean 50/50 but enough soap to be slippery. I use car wash or Dawn. Dawn is supposed to cut the grease better than all other dishwashing soaps.

gamby SuperDork
7/19/08 9:59 a.m.
carguy123 wrote: Looks nice. Unfortunately pics never do the finish justice.

What's that???

(that's w/ no photoshop help)

(friend's 20th anniversary GTI that I spent about 5 hours on)

vazbmw New Reader
7/25/08 4:29 p.m.

Thanks Will do this weekend

Mowry None
11/2/08 7:12 p.m.

Just to add to the pile...I just tried this trick. First with the beater S10, then with my beloved Legacy GT.

Overall, a great success! The car is black, and looks a bit like a piano. Thanks for the tip!

One caveat: if you get your rallycross car too shiny, you may (like me) become ambivalent about rallycrossing it again. I am now shopping the classifieds for a Neon ACR.

The combo I tried was the cheap Wal-Mart non-hardening craft clay with a 70/30 mix of water and car wash soap.

joey48442 PowerDork
8/17/19 7:18 a.m.

For the first time since this thread was current I clay barred a car!  Turn out incredible. I even used a clay bar that was in my garage and sealed up since this thread was originally posted!

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