contamination

Regular Trackday Maintenance

Porsche Cayman GT4 with Martini Livery

This Cayman GT4 is heavily tracked. With the right and regular maintenance, this car stays in good condition.

While it's difficult for most car owners to maintain their car's regularly, some car owners use their cars differently as with this Porsche Cayman GT4. This Porsche hits the track usually 2-3 times per month and as a result requires more then just a wash to maintain its condition.

Before taking his car to the track, the owner engaged Project Detail to fully wrap the entire vehicle with Xpel Ultimate Paint Protection Film (PPF). This allowed the car complete protection and gave it the strongest protection available for track use. Find out more about our PPF services by clicking here.

While daily driving presents all sorts of challenges for keeping a car clean such as traffic film/road grime, bugs, tar or regular dust, tracking a car is a level above. With burning rubber hitting your car and building up on your own wheels and body, rocks hitting your car at very high speeds and other debris striking your car beyond the norm. This GT4 was a good example, as it was heavily soiled when it arrived.

Heavy Tar, burnt rubber and bugs riddle the surface of this Porsche Cayman GT4.

Because of the build up, maintaining a track car is often beyond a normal wash. We had to use a mixture of chemicals and solvents which are safe for the PPF material while effectively removing the debris.

Project Detail utilises a 21 Stage Wash & Decontamination in order to provide safe and excellent results whenever we wash a vehicle. In this instance, additional stages were introduced.

In order to cleanse the surface deeply, we have sprayed an Iron Fallout Remover on the surface. This gently cleanses and breaks down brake dust and other ferrous particles.

Once we have removed any contamination safely, we generally foam wash a vehicle once or twice depending on the level of grime and grit present. Our foam is combined with our hot water pressure washer which can heat water up to boiling temperature, this allows safe and more effective cleaning.

Foam washing is an effective wash to break down and remove the majority of grit and dirt without any friction which in turn causes swirls and scratches.

If you track your vehicle often or would just like a safe maintenance routine, contact us today by clicking here and see how our services differ.

To see more photos and ongoing projects be sure to check our social media by clicking here:

How to Clay Bar your Car?

Clay Bar - A How To Guide

Specialising in Car Detailing , Project Detail Sydney & Melbourne will be covering a series of articles focussing on decontamination and in this post, we focus on the ubiquitous Clay Bar.

What a typical new clay bar kit looks like. Colours and variations between fine and course exist.

What a typical new clay bar kit looks like. Colours and variations between fine and course exist.

n a previous post, we discussed how it is important to decontaminate your car regularly in order to keep it looking it's best on conjunction with car washing. The post 'Decontamination - Why is it important?' can be found here

The clay bar looks like a piece of clay, Blu-tak or even plasticine. However, this small piece of mouldable material has become very important piece of car care product for maintaining a proper finish. Detailing Clay was invented in the body shops of Japan in the early 1990's. However, it wasn't until the early to mid 2000's did the rest of the world start realising what it was and just how important it would be. Nowadays, every detailer or even car wash should carry a variety of clay bars and even an assortment of other clay products.

In a nutshell, a Clay Bar is a piece of equipment that is designed to glide over the surface of your paintwork by hand. Used in conjunction with something that gives good lubrication, the clay bar removes physical contamination such as tar, light sap or fall out as it glides over the surface of the vehicle. This in turn leaves the paint smooth to the touch and no longer rough.

At Project Detail, a clay bar treatment is included with every level of detail. It is now the standard and no longer the exception to the rule to provide this treatment in order for the cars we work on to have a better finish. You can find out more about our detailing services here. 

When do I need to Clay my car?

Contamination stains the Clay Bar Brown as it is removed during the claying process.

In order to determine if you need to clay your car it is best to give you car a wash first. If you would a guide recommending how to perform a proper 2 bucket method wash check out our previous article by clicking here.

After washing the vehicle properly, if the vehicle still feels rough to the touch then more then likely there are signs of contamination on the paintwork that need to be removed. This can be done chemically with the right products or physically with a clay bar.  

How to Clay a car?

It is vital to lubricate the surface sufficiently while claying. You cannot over lubricate!

Equipment required:

  • 1 x Clay Bar (preferably fine grade)
  • Suitable Clay Lubricant in a spray bottle. Dedicated lube can be purchased or made.
  • Several clean microfibre towels

Beginning with a clean car and work one small section at a time on a single panel. It is important to begin working top to bottom, as any sediment or run off will drip downwards and not get onto any clean or finished panels.

Liberally spray the  lubricant over the section you were working on. Taking a small ping pong ball size of clay, kneed the clay into a patty shape. Then gently without applying pressure glide the clay bar back and forth in straight line motions of about 30cm's each stroke.
As you are claying, you should begin to notice the contamination being picked up and the clay will begin to slide smoother and any noise it was causing should stop.

It is important to not go into circular motions as any potential contamination picked up can scratch and leave swirl marks. As the lubricant begins to run away or dry, it is very important to keep 

Continue to work your way around the car. Project Detail recommends every quarter of the car, to rinse the vehicle. This will remove the lubricant and prevent water marks or the lubricant drying on the surface.
Once you have finished a panel, you will notice the clay bar changing colour as the contamiantion it removes stick onto the clay itself. This next step is very important, fold and kneed the clay until the contamination is folded in on itself. This will reveal a 'fresh' surface for the next panel and that the previous contamination does not scratch the paintwork.

Heavy contamination staining the clay. Kneed the clay in on itself to reveal a fresh surface.

Once the entire vehicle is done, rinse off the vehicle again and then proceed the dry the vehicle. Be sure to check out our article "How to dry your car" to make sure no further scratches are incurred.

Once the vehicle is dried, congratulations you car should mostly be contamination free! The paintwork will not only be smoother but for those with heavily contaminated vehicles, the paintwork will actually look brighter and show more colour as well as there is no contamination staining the surface.

We typically recommend the weekend warrior to clay their car once a month to once every 3 months in order to stay on top of the contamination. Removal of heavy contamination particularly on softer paints from certain makes can leaving marring, scratches of defects that will require paint correction to remove.

Quick Tips & Tricks

  • Please note that matte wraps or factory matte paint cannot be clayed successfully. 
  • Without suffcient lubricant, the clay will stick and scratch the surface
  • Once the clay begins to break apart or change colour entirely throw it away.
  • If you drop your clay onto the ground, throw it away. Due to its stickiness, it will pick up dirrt and gravel which will scratch the surface entirely.
  • You can clay any hard and smoother surface; metal, chrome or even glass!

To find out more on how Project Detail can help you detail your vehicle check our other articles from our blog here or to ask us a question or if you have an enquiry be sure to click here.

Decontamination - Why is it important?

Paintwork Decontamination - A Professional Outlook 

A traditional clay bar being used to remove bonded contaminants on a E39 BMW 540i, as part of our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination

A traditional clay bar being used to remove bonded contaminants on a E39 BMW 540i, as part of our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination

We get a lot of customers that are concerned about their paint feeling rough, or texture very similar to a sandpaper. This usually happens with a combination of a car that hasn't been detailed for a long period of time and also lacking of any form of paint protection. It happens when a vehicle is being driven and being exposed to the harsh environment, dirt, road grime and also iron particles such as brake dust from not only your car but from other vehicles on the road too. Hence why paint protection (in any form) is important. You can refer to our blog post earlier: Should I consider paint protection for my car?

Over time, these contaminants gets bonded to your paint and hence why your paint will feel rough or sandpaper like and usually a normal routine car wash will not be able to remove these contaminants. 

Decontamination is part of our 21-Stage Wash because they are vital to good results. Every car and contaminants level is different from car to car and how often the owner decides to wash and wax it or get it detailed properly. We usually check how bad they are by feeling the paintwork with our bare hands and with a plastic bag to 'magnify' the feel of the paintwork.

Different levels of contaminants decides which method we shall use - ranging from fine grade to heavy grade. And if its mild like a brand new car, we usually use chemical decontamination and very fine grade if necessary. We do not advice to use a higher grade if its not necessary. 

A chemical decontamination being used to remove any iron fallout from day to day driving on a GC8 Subaru WRX.

A chemical decontamination being used to remove any iron fallout from day to day driving on a GC8 Subaru WRX.

Types of Chemical Decontamination

  • Iron Fallout remover such as CarPro's Iron X to remove iron fallout particles, also known as ferrous. 
  • Tar and Adhesive remover such as CarPro's Tar X to remove stubborn bug and tar spots from heavy country driving such as bug splatter, tree sap etc on the windshield, mirrors and front bar.

    Both of them works really well and if the car's contaminant is mild, usually a clay bar is not needed.

Physical Decontamination

  • Clay Bar - Traditional method of removing bonded contaminants, ranging from fine grade to heavy, depends on how much the paintwork needs. Sometimes a medium grade won't be able to remove contaminants completely. 
  • Clay mitt/towel/cloth - A revolutionary product that would able to remove contaminants in half of the time compared to traditional clay bars, we usually use a clay mitt/towel/cloth if a car is going through an intensive paint correction because if usually the clay mitt/towel/cloth is close to medium to heavy grade and they usually causes paintwork marring, especially on softer paints.
2016 BMW 340i

2016 BMW 340i

How can I stop contaminants or prevent them?

As bad as contaminants sounds, they are very normal but there are ways to prevent them from building up on your precious car's paintwork. 

Low cost solution: By regularly wash and waxing your car would be able to reduce contaminants from building up your car over time, and also make sure to check regularly for contaminants and use a clay bar treatment if necessary and these products are usually available widely at local auto store

Medium cost solution: Bringing to a reputable detailer on a fortnightly or monthly basis for a maintenance detail. A good reputable detailer knows if your car needs a light or heavy decontamination and they usually have high quality waxes or sealants in their arsenal. We do have maintenance detail packages for your car care needs. Be sure to get in touch with us if you need to get your car detailed regularly.

Medium to High Cost Solution: Permanent Paint Protection Coating, also known as ceramic/glass/quartz/nano coatings. A good coating does provide a long term protection permanent protection that doesn't wear off while washing, self-cleaning effects from their very hydrophobic nature and also its inability for particles to adhere to the surface, hence a extremely low chance of getting contaminants build up on your car's paintwork. If a coated car is regularly maintained properly, not only your car will look as good as it just has been detailed from Day 1, also your car will be contaminant free at all times! We offer permanent paint protection coatings for both brand new and used car. 

Feel free to contact us for any detailing questions or enquiries.