Clay? Polish? Compound?
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  1. #1
    Registered Member Original Equipment's Avatar
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    Clay? Polish? Compound?

    Hello,
    We have a car we bought brand new a month and a half ago. We just put 7500 miles on it for a long American road trip. The car was so new I never had a chance to apply wax before we embarked and I depended on the dealer prep spray wax to help protect the finish.

    The car got covered with a layer of bugs and we were traveling so much I didn't have a chance to wash it thoroughly until we returned.

    I have washed the car using a lot of soaking time before trying to remove the bugs, and it has worked well.

    I tried a coat of Ultimate Paste Wax and it showed me that there were still some bug "spots" that I need to work out.

    What's the best step for a new car that has had a hard first month?

    Clay bar? Ultimate Polish? Ultimate Compound?

    I am used to using cheap cleaner/wax paste, and think it would have taken care of the bug spots, but want to start this car with a regimen with Meguiar's Ultimate Paste and it seems to need some extra prep work.

    I had never heard of a clay bar and assume it is just a contemporary way to deliver "rouge" or light compound.

    What would you recommend?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Registered Member Old Bear's Avatar
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    Re: Clay? Polish? Compound?

    Detailing clay is not like a rouge bar.
    It is a synthetic clay that removes above surface contaminants. Examples include brake dust, airplane fuel residue, etc.

    Here is a video with Mike Phillips showing a new truck with above surface contaminants.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfEfLGL59GI

    Mike might now suggest that we use a "baggie test". Place your hand in a smooth plastic bag when feeling the surface for contaminants.

  3. #3
    Product & Training Specialist |MOL Admin Nick Winn's Avatar
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    Re: Clay? Polish? Compound?

    Welcome to Meguiar's Online. Congrats on the new vehicle. Always very fun.

    There are many, many users which in your situation would opt to clay the vehicle even when new just to ensure there are no bonded above surface contaminants present. New Cars typically go through quite an adventure from the place of manufacturing to the dealer. They are typically not very well protected in transit. They are typically not cared for all that well at the dealer as well, low quality washing techniques, sitting in various lots without being washed, etc., so this increases the chance of environmental contaminants bonding to the paint and/or swirls/scratches being inflicted. With that said, it really is up to you regarding the use of clay. The use of Detailing Clay like our Smooth Surface Clay Kit is used on an as needed basis. It's a matter of evaluating. When the surface is clean & dry, feel the paint with your hand. If it feels rough, or not completely smooth, this is an indication there are some above surface contaminants present which can be removed with a clay bar. Keep in mind, claying only removes above surface contaminants. Detailing Clay is an extremely non invasive process and there is no issue using it on a new car. This is performed all the time.

    After washing, and claying if needed or preferred, it sounds like next you want to deal with the stains left behind from bugs. A mild paint cleaner like you have mentioned should take car of this. An example of a dedicated cleaner/polish product you could use would be Meguiar's Ultimate Polish Pre-Waxing Glaze. This product also works to remove any light swirls & fines scratches, and will work to add polishing oils to the paint for an additional high gloss. Remember to work on a clean vehicle ideally in the shade on a cool surface. Also use quality accessories for applying & removing like our W0004 Soft Foam Applicator Pads & X2020 Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels.

    After removing the stains, you can go straight to the Ultimate Paste Wax you have chosen for protection.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to post further questions.

    Nick
    Nick Winn
    Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Online Forum Administrator
    Meguiar's Inc.
    Irvine, CA
    nawinn@meguiars.com
    800-854-8073 ext 3845

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    Registered Member Original Equipment's Avatar
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    Re: Clay? Polish? Compound?

    EDIT: the post below was written while the helpful answer above was being written. I think it may have answered my questions.



    Thank you. Is the point that the synthetic clay product only lifts surface contaminants off of the paint while older style rouge pastes may be aggressive enough to actually polish the surface of the paint?

    How does the Clay Bar, the Ultimate Polish, and the Ultimate Compound compare?

    I just went to the store and purchased the Clay bar kit, but in the past I probably would have used a very small amount of rouge or compound paste to work on a tiny little spot that wax or soap-and-water did not lift.

    I am just trying to learn.

    Thank you.

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    Registered Member Old Bear's Avatar
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    Re: Clay? Polish? Compound?

    Here is a second video about using the clay bar to lift surface contaminants. This features Mike Pennington.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8InVdzi3Idk

    Clean the paint before using the clay bar.
    Keep the surface highly lubricated.
    Fold the clay patty into itself and knead it to keep fresh parts of the clay in use.
    Don't get the clay too close to rubber parts, like window weather seals. Keep about 1/4 inch away. Clay on the rubber will pull some off and make the clay dirty.

    This removes particles that if left on the surface would likely get trapped into the bottom of our wax/polish/compound pad. Then they would be abrasive as we rubbed the finish. The clay step helps us remove that particles so we don't add more scratches.

    Polishes are usually less aggressive than compounds. Many include some level of abrasives. They may also include oils and other things to help "temporarily" hide scratches.

    Compounds are more aggressive (more and or larger abrasives)

    My only experience with rouge bars has been when using a spinning wheel that has cloth attached. This would be similar to a bench grinder. The abrasives we used were for metals, like stainless steel and aluminium. I might use them to polish up an old steel adjustable wrench as in your avatar. The abrasives for metal might be more aggressive than I would want to use on paint.

    Anyone/Everyone is encouraged to correct/refine these answers.

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    Michael The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: Clay? Polish? Compound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Original Equipment View Post
    EDIT: the post below was written while the helpful answer above was being written. I think it may have answered my questions.



    Thank you. Is the point that the synthetic clay product only lifts surface contaminants off of the paint while older style rouge pastes may be aggressive enough to actually polish the surface of the paint?

    How does the Clay Bar, the Ultimate Polish, and the Ultimate Compound compare?

    I just went to the store and purchased the Clay bar kit, but in the past I probably would have used a very small amount of rouge or compound paste to work on a tiny little spot that wax or soap-and-water did not lift.

    I am just trying to learn.

    Thank you.
    To make it even simpler

    Clay is for above surface contaminants (junk that sits on the top of the paint)

    Compounds and polishes are for below surface contaminants (swirls, scratches). As stated a compound is more aggressive than a polish.

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    Re: Clay? Polish? Compound?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Guz View Post
    To make it even simpler

    Clay is for above surface contaminants (junk that sits on the top of the paint)

    Compounds and polishes are for below surface contaminants (swirls, scratches). As stated a compound is more aggressive than a polish.
    I second this.

    I think you should be ok with just a clay bar. Try using a bug and tar remover to help with getting some stubborn bug guts off, but be aware that you will need to rewax the area that you sprayed bug remover on. You also need to rewax after using a clay bar.
    mujjuman

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