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Auto detailing tutorial - how to remove contaminants and prepare your vehicle for polishing or LSP

August 7, 2013

After you wash your car (link to Auto Obsessed car wash best practices), iron particles, tar and other deposits still remain embedded in the clear coat. Before you begin polishing your paint or before you apply a wax, sealant or nano coating LSP, remove these embedded contaminants and make the paint perfectly smooth.

How to make your vehicle's paint ready for polishing or nano coating:

  1. Wash and dry your vehicle using the foam and two-bucket best practices guide. To remove any existing waxes or coatings, try Chemical Guys Citrus Wash+Gloss or Migliore Citro shampoos.
  2. Choose a small area and apply CarPro Tar-X to remove tar spots that are stuck to your paint. Tar-X has some suspended components that settle to the bottom of the container. For best results, shake well before applying.
  3. As Tar-X dissolves the tar, use your fingers to gently agitate the tar spots and speed up the reaction.
  4. Do not leave Tar-X on the surface for very long. Two or three minutes should be enough to remove the tar. Tar-X can damage paint protection clear film if left to dwell for more than 60 seconds.
  5. Rinse the Tar-X and dissolved tar residue off the area you sprayed. Move on to the next area of the car and repeat the tar removal process.
  6. When the tar removal process is complete, rinse and dry the car.
  7. Spray CarPro Iron-X on a section of the car and let it dwell on the surface. You will see it react with embedded iron particles within 15-30 seconds. The solution will turn purple as the Iron-X dissolves the iron.
  8. Rinse the Iron-X and dissolved iron residue off the area you sprayed.
  9. Inspect the surface of the vehicle. If any iron or tar spots remain, reapply a second treatment with Tar-X or Iron-X, let the product dwell for the appropriate amount of time and then rinse.
  10. Rinse and dry the entire vehicle.
  11. Apply clay lubricant and inspect the surface of the vehicle with your fingertips. For an easier inspection, put on a pair of nitrile gloves or use a plastic shopping bag to amplify the sensation and make it easier for your fingers to feel where you need to use clay on the car.
  12. When you've identified the areas that need to be clayed, break off a piece of clay (ultra-fine grade) from your bar and form it into a flat disc.
  13. Always test the clay on a small area of the vehicle to ensure it won't cause any scratches or damage to the paint.
  14. Apply lubricant and gently run your clay disc over a small area of the car's surface. Use short, diagonal back-and-forth motions across the area until you can't feel or hear the clay picking up any more embedded contaminants off the paint.
  15. Use your fingers to inspect the surface. If you don't feel any imperfections and the paint feels perfectly smooth, you're ready to move on to a new area.
  16. Inspect your clay. If it's very dirty and full of contaminants, fold it over and create a new flat disc with a clean surface.
  17. If you find that the ultra-fine grade clay is not picking up all the contaminants off the paint surface, switch to a coarser fine or medium grade clay.
  18. NB: If you accidentally drop your clay on the floor or ground, it will be contaminated with grit or sand. Discard it and break off a new piece of clay and create a new disc to continue with.
  19. NB: Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Test on a small area of the car to make sure you're not going to do any damage to your finish.

Recommended products for decontaminating your vehicle's finish:

This video is presented for instructional and educational purposes only. Auto Obsessed accepts no liability for any loss or damage whatsoever or howsoever caused in reliance upon such information, application or services. As your results may vary from ours, always know your own product and application and ensure that all techniques used are suitable for your purposes as your results may vary from ours.

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