Auto-clay provides a method of removing harmful contamination from vehicle paint finishes, improving its durability and increasing the gloss level of subsequent waxes.
Contamination can consist of tiny metallic particles from rail dust, brake dust and industrial fallout; or non-metallic substances such as tree sap, bird droppings or insect residue. Contamination affects all paint finishes and can cause serious damage when left untreated. Surprisingly, even brand-new cars and trucks can suffer from paint contamination.
Metallic contamination is perhaps the worst offender; while stuck into the paint surface metallic contamination corrodes and expands leading to the onset of paint film destruction. Paint contamination can be felt as a rough or gritty texture on the freshly cleaned paint's surface.
To assess the degree of contamination on a car's finish simply rub the fingers gently over the freshly washed paint, to magnify the sensation place a piece of cellophane beneath the finger tips and gently rub back and forth, if the paint needs to be clayed one will feel the gritty texture. It is usual to find that horizontal panels such as bonnet roof and boot lid are affected.
Bilt-Hamber Auto-Clay bar removes these particles effortlessly from contaminated surfaces leaving a glass smooth ultra clean finish perfectly prepared for the application polish. A clay prepared paint surface is not only free of damaging particles but will provide better shine and durability when treated with Auto-balm.
Competing clays require the use of special lubricants. Bilt-Hamber Laboratories Auto-clay differs as its formulation enables normal tap water to provide the necessary lubrication. Some clay bars contain surfactants such as powdered detergents or soaps. Long-term use of surfactants can have adverse effects on paint systems - Auto-clay contains no surfactants detergents soaps or other soluble materials.
Grit contamination cannot be removed by washing, waxing and/or polishing. Cutting compounds remove a thin layer of paint but still leave the grit behind.
According to Car Mechanics, July 2005, it looks more like a large square of plasticine but it makes an good job of removing surface debris, without resorting to harsh abrasives that actually eat into the paintwork. Auto-clay is the first one they tried that can be used with water. Most need a special lubricant. They were surprised to find it more effective than the others too, as it looks and fells almost identical.
Bilt-Hamber Auto-Clay is available from Permanent Painted Coatings.