As winter begins to take a grip, now is the time to guard your car’s bodywork against the bad weather with a decent coat of wax. However, to get the ultimate professional ‘limo’ look and protection, you need to clean the paint first.
That means removing contaminants such as baked-on brake dust, tree sap, bird droppings and oxidisation. And that takes more than a sponge and some soapy water – which is where clay bars come in.
While one of these bars might look like a block of putty or Blu-Tack, the fine compound clay will gently bond with any grime on the paint and remove it, leaving a clean surface for that protective coat of wax.
This is not a something you would do every week or even every month, but it is no coincidence that professional valeters use a clay bar when applying long-lasting paint protection. So which is the best? We looked at 12...
We tried the bars on a bonnet, paint overspray on glass and grimy wheels to judge just how deep they cleaned. We looked for debris on the products, checked the cleaned surface and assessed how much effort was needed in use. The bars were weighed to work out what you get for your money, and extra marks were awarded to those that included microfibre cloths, lube or finishing waxes.
Nearly all our bars did the job, but few combined value and ability like Bilt-Hamber. For us, the Soft was better than the Original, and so takes top spot. Second goes to the Sonüs which proved quite aggressive, removing our overspray and brake dust with ease. It is let down only by price. Finally, the Zymöl slots into third – it was the best performer here, eating through everything in record time and with ease. Only the very high price disappointed.
Advancedcarproducts 07887945653, www.advancedcarproducts.com (Zaino)
DoDo Juice www.dodojuice.com
Morethanpolish 01780 749 449 www.morethanpolish.com
(Race Glaze and Zymol)
Performance Motor Care 0844 884 5940, www.performancemotorcare.com (Mothers, Meguiar’s, Smartwax)
Polished Car Care 01926 882 192, www.polishedcarcare.co.uk
Rubbish Boys 0787 656 3547,
(DoDo Juice, Rubbish Boys, Bilt-Hamber)
Smartwax Smartclay www.smartwax.net
The Ultimate Finish 0845 838 1200,
www.theultimatefinish.co.uk (Sonus, Meguiar’s, Bilt-Hamber, DoDo juice)