Decontaminating your car’s paint!

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

Washing a car can make you think is crystal clear. This is just your eye playing games because the vehicle’s paint still has contaminants stuck in it. Decontaminating a car’s paint should not be done every time you wash a car, as it can mark the clear coat if you decide to use a more physical approach.

In this article, I want to share some important aspects about how and when you should decontaminate the car’s paint.

What is decontamination?

As a vehicle is driven on roads, there are airborne particles that can stick to the car’s paint, such as bugs, grime and road salt.

These are often not so hard to remove, with a bug remover spray, a good pressure washer and snow foam/car shampoo, the vehicle’s paint should be clear of those contaminates.

However, things such as tar and iron particles can stick to the car’s paint, making a regular wash not removing the contaminants.

How to?

Before using a clay bar the vehicle, you must wash the car thoroughly.

Read more: How to wash your car at home to avoid swirl marks.

  • Clay bar decontamination

A clay bar is a more physical way of decontaminating the car’s paint. This method is the most popular among car detailers as it’s the most effective.

When using a clay bar on the paint, a detailing spray or clay bar lube should be used, to ensure there is enough lubrication to reduce the chances of scratching the clear coat.  You can purchase clay bar kits that include a detailing spray.

Avoid circular motions and always fold the clay bar once it gets dirty to prevent fine dirt particles from causing scratches. You will feel when the clay bar is removing the decontamination as you feel the clay bar catching while rubbing the paint.

  • Clay bar grades

There are three different clay bar grades, from soft to medium and heavy. Depending on the level of contamination in the paint.

Examine the paint carefully and do not use a heavy clay bar if it is not necessary.

A soft clay bar is used to remove small contaminants such as debris and can be used as maintenance after washing the car.

A medium grade clay bar is more abrasive and removes debris that is deeper embedded to the paint such as overspray, tar and iron particles. This grade of clay bar should be used before compounding or polishing the car.

A heavy clay bar should only be used by professionals that know what they are doing. This type of clay bar is often used before polishing windows or wheels because it’s so abrasive, it can damage the clear coat if not used correctly. After using a heavy clay bar, it should be followed with a polish.

  • Chemical decontamination

Chemical decontamination is done with chemicals such as tar remover, iron remover, bug remover etc. This method is more costly than simply using a clay bar.

If you are more cautious about making contact with the car’s paint, this method will work best.

After washing the car apply each chemical decontamination to the car and allow it to work. Do not agitate the solution on the paint, just spray and dry using a microfiber drying towel.

You are all set to decontaminate your car!

A clean car is a happy car

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