Cost: £15 200g
Date of Review: 24/2/2019 Warm sunny day.
Test Vehicle Background:
The vehicle is a 2001 black VW Golf that has been standing for five years on our driveway. The car was filthy and literally had things growing on it like moss on the rubber sections. The surface of the paint was very rough and dull.
The Sales Pitch from Auto Finesse:
The Auto Finesse Detailing Clay Bar comes as a 200g block and is made from an ultra-fine grade of natural Kaolin clay. This structure allows it to be both more effective against contamination, and less abrasive on sensitive paintwork than common polymer clays. It will efficiently remove both organic contamination (tree sap, mineral deposits from rainwater, protein deposits from insects and bird droppings,) and inorganic contamination (light tar and iron deposits, industrial pollution, paint overspray, etc.) on practically any hard surface. Paint, alloy wheels, glass, bright work trim, and even gloss-finish plastics can all benefit from being clayed.
What You Get:
A nice little box which holds the clay.
I forgot tot take a picture of the clay wrapped in a nice plastic wrapper inside like a little white brick.
An odourless clay bar which can be used to remove contaminates embedded on the paint work to leave the surface smooth and ready for further follow-up treatments like compound, swirl removal or waxing.
There are no instructions with the clay bar itself. But, this product needs to be used with the Auto Finesse ‘Glide’ Clay Lubricant product. https://shop.autofinesse.co.uk/glide-500ml
Here is what the ‘Glide’ product says;
Start by giving the bottle a good shake to integrate the ingredients, and rotate the spray nozzle until the arrow points to the conical-spray setting. Apply one full spray of Glide per 8-square inches (Approximately 20-square centimetres) of work area before claying, and periodically throughout the claying process to maintain a wet lubricant film. For best results, limit your claying to a small area at a time, onto a surface no larger than 12”by 12” (Approximately 30cm by 30cm) square. After completing each section, remove the Glide residue with a plush Microfiber Towel before continuing on.
I tore of a small piece of clay which is large enough to be held by the finger tips and rubbed over the paint area.
The remaining clay in the box.
Before claying you should wash and dry your vehicle, and inspect for heavy tar deposits or iron fallout. If these are present it will be necessary to use dedicated tar and iron fallout removers like Auto Finesse ObliTARate, and Auto Finesse Iron Out, before claying. The Auto Finesse Detailing Clay Bar should be used in conjunction with our Glide Clay Bar Lube for a scratch free smooth finish. Once the vehicle is clean and free of heavy tar deposits, rub the clay in straight lines across all surfaces of the car to remove any embedded road grime.
Here I had already sprayed the area of the roof and started to wipe the clay over the lubricated area in straight lines over lapping the previous section.
After wiping the whole roof in quarter sections at a time the amount of contaminates removed was very disappointing.
The black marks are from the rubber guttering inserts.
After using the clay the recommendation is to wide the residue away. But I deliberately left it as I was going to clean the car again. After feeling the surface after going over the paint with the clay bar it’s obvious that there were still contaminates on the paint. These were not stubborn bits of tar or insects, this was more like a blobs of tree sap.
Here I have a close up of the contaminate where i gently rubbed it with my nail and it lifted of the paintwork, hence the little lines through it.
After going over the whole car the clay piece wasn’t that dirty at all in fact. I turned the clay pad a number of times to make sure the clay was able to pick up debris.
Without the ‘Glide’ being used the clay bar will simply stick to the paint. I tried to get a happy medium with cleaning and usability.
Poor, in relation to other products.
I have used Bilt Hamber clay bar that is a third cheaper and far, far superior. The Bilt Hamber only needs water to lubricate the clay and paint. A single wipe with the BH product removes the contaminates.
I know just how much contamination the other product picked up which was from my clean Mustang after it had been parked in a field near trees for one day only. The tree sap was baked on in the hot sun all day. So I was expecting this clay bar to be filthy and potentially require using another piece of clay going over the paint again as it was so badly soiled.
I potentially believe the problem is with the ‘Glide’ lubricant, it’s to good in doing its job and not allowing the clay to remove the contaminates with a little friction.
Rating: 5 out 10
The product did remove some of the contaminates, but I had to frequently go over the areas again to make sure it was removed. In some instances it just did not remove the contaminates at all, even after more lube and fresh clay area.
With the cost of this product being £15 + the recommended purchase of ‘Glide’ which is another £8 then this is an expensive product. The top rated Bilt Hamber is less than half the price and does a far superior job, leaving the paint feeling like glass, something that Auto Finesse also tries to do, but fails to some degree.
Yes, you get a nice plastic case and the clay feels nice but that is about it. It only seems to do half the job. I reckon you will need a bottle of ‘Glide’ for each bar of clay.
Meguiar’s recommends that with their clay bar that you use their cheaper quick detailer. Is there a reason why you can’t with AF clay bar? I wouldn’t have thought so, but then I haven’t tried.
Would I recommend it? No.
Would I buy it again? No.