We all love our cars to look perfect. The deep shine, the reflection. What are the steps to take to get a professional level finish? Can we achieve great results at home?
When to use a clay bar
Clay bars are a putty-like resin used for achieving perfectly smooth paint surfaces. Clay bars are used on an as-needed basis.
To use clay bars, you knead your clay into a useable shape, then with ample lubricant, rub down small areas of the car. It is recommended that you don’t use a circular motion when using clay bar. Remember, every time you change area, re-knead the clay so not to scratch with the grit from previous panels. Your paint should now be touch smooth, and the shine a little deeper.
Removing small scratches
If we were to move straight to polish at this stage, your car would retain swirling and micro scratches in the surface. Now the car has been clayed smooth, we need to remove those imperfections by use of an automotive compounding agent. Think of this as a liquid sanding, taking tiny layers off your clear coat to reveal a smooth finish. Much like clay bars, the compound is part of a paint correction process, so use only as necessary.
Showroom finish: How to polish by hand
The final layer to the shine is provided by the car polish. Like compound, polish will bring that shine achieved from an even, clear coat surface. Polish removes the haze produced from scratch removal, enhancing your vehicle’s gloss and shine. The labour for polishing (and compounding for that matter) comes from either a hand held polishing machine, or can be achieved with a soft micro fibre cloth. Both rely on fast, circular motions on non-abrasive pads with the liquids doing the work.
Think of compound and polish as a two-step process in paint correction, doing both ensures you get the best quality finish. Now paint correction has been completed, don’t put up your feet yet. Add a protective layer of wax or sealant to elongate the shine.
Want to know more about keeping your vehicle showroom shiny? Read our waxing and buffing tips here at Innomotive.