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2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i CVT
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gave my new Forester a wash today and applied a coat of wax in preparation for the winter. After I buffed the wax, I was spot polishing the hood and felt small imperfections in the paint.

On closer inspection I could see tiny flecks of black, which I suspect happened at work when they were resurfacing the parking lot next door to our parking lot. I didn't know they were working out there until quitting time when I walked out and saw the crew laying down the black goop on the parking lot. I did a walk round but didn't see any obvious marks so didn't worry.

The flecks came off without any problem when I just ran my fingernail over them so I am thinking a clay bar would be the best solution to get the hood back to pristine condition. It's a long time since I used one so I am hoping someone can advise if this my best solution and the best way to use it, or if something else would work better.
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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259 Posts
What I do:

Wash car
Dry car
Take spray "detailer" (I like Meguiars). Spray on a secition (2x2ish)
Take clay bar, knead in fingers, flatten it out, then rub it lightly back and forth. (light pressure)
You can probably hear the clay bar picking up contaminants, when bar becomes dirty, knead between fingers again, flatten it out.
Wipe off detailer.

Done, it'll be nice and smooth.

And use microfiber cloths.
 

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2010 Forester Premium X AT
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I will stress "light pressure". The clay should glide over whatever lube you're using. I've used either detailer or just plain old auto soap and distilled water in a spray bottle. They work the same. Be careful not to run the clay over over body panel projections (creases). Also, be careful you dont overrun the clay onto a dry spot.

Kneed after every section.

If you drop the clay, throw away.
 

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2004 FXT 5mt
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296 Posts
The amount of pressure really isn't that critical as long as you knead the clay - if you don't get in there with a little pressure, you won't lift the contaminants out. The kneading is very important; I do an area of about 1-2ft square and then knead. Creases and overrunning onto a dry spot don't matter either, it is CLAY. There should be enough "lube" that a dry spot does not matter because the clay will have a little liquid on it, and even without, it won't hurt anything. The clay is not harmful to the paint at all, as long as you don't have major contaminants being picked up, which you shouldn't because you should have washed the car before using the clay. I don't "hear" the contaminants being picked up, but you should definitely FEEL it. Once the surface feels like glass to your hand, you're there.

Agreed on the dropping - use smaller pieces and if you drop it, toss it.
 

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2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i CVT
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, all good advice - especially about using smaller pieces so if it gets dropped you don't lose the whole thing. Looks like I know what I'll be doing on Saturday morning!
 

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2010 Forester Premium X AT
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Pressure was not as big of an issue on the older cars. These newer model year clear coats will swirl from just about anything.
 

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2017 Forester XT CVT
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219 Posts
To save a little money as the spray detailers are a little $$ i just use a a good car wash soap mix to act as the lubricant. I like it better then the sprays personally.
 

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2004 FXT 5mt
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296 Posts
To save a little money as the spray detailers are a little $$ i just use a a good car wash soap mix to act as the lubricant. I like it better then the sprays personally.
Inspector mentioned that and this is the case. I already have the detailing spray because I use it a lot, but it isn't really necessary if you don't already have it.
 

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How long does clay last? Can it expire? I've had some sitting in a box in my shed for a few years and haven't looked at it. Would it be best just to buy some new stuff?
 

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2016 Forester XT Touring
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If it has been a few years, I would buy new, it isn't expensive and honestly, rather spend $15 now, than risk scratching my whole car. I like to buy from Advance Auto, use their online code and then set for store pick up. You can save up to $40 for every $100 spent. Some car detailing supplies, wiper blades, washer fluid and a little filler item and you are good to go for $60+tax out the door.

I know a lot of people have their choices, from the easier to find car detailing brands, I like the mother's gold clay bar(I buy the kit) and mequiars ultimate QD spray(I buy separately). About 2 weeks ago, I found a bottle of mequiars on clearance at Target, it was $2.99 for the full size bottle. I looked for more but apparently grabbed the last one.
 

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2014 Forester CVT - Automatic
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8 Posts
I use Meg's DQ when I clay as well. But as was said, you can save some money by using a spray bottle with some water and car wash soap in it. Anything that will provide a slippery surface on the paint will work.

You want to clay light enough so the clay isnt "grabbing" at the paint but hard enough to be able to actually feel the clar bar picking up and removing bumps and junk from your paint. After claying, wash the panel good and move on. :icon_cool:
 

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2014 Forester 2.0XT CVT
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366 Posts
Just be careful with the clay bar not to drop it. With the spray detailer it does get slippery, especially on the sides. I've dropped a couple myself.
 

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2014 forester xt scv
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How often would you clay bar? I did my wife's car the other day, 4 year old car, the hood was a little dirty but couldn't notice any difference on the body.
 

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2014 Forester CVT - Automatic
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I usually only clay my cars once. I do this when I get them, whether new or used. First thing I do is give it a nice wash and then clay it. If you use good product and get stuff off your paint in a timely fashion (road tar, bird shiz, bug guts, tree sap) then you really wont have to clay it again.
 

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2016 Forester XT Touring
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I probably claybar on a higher than normal frequency.

I fully clay bar my car(s) maybe two or three times a year during a full detail. Usually in early Spring, late Fall and maybe mid summer.

I usually claybar and wax my front end/hood/headlights after I get my car hand washed just to make sure I take care of the part that, I feel, is abused the most by the elements.

Also, use it to get off containments as needed.
 

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2013 Forester Auto
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I do a full detail 2x a year. Wash-Clay-Polish-Wax. In between I hand wash-dry and spray detail the vehicle. Really extends the detailing.
 
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