A subject that comes up regularly and very few understand.
Contamination on a vehicles paintwork and how to safely remove them. We all to often see comments around removing fallout and tar from vehicles simply going straight to clay bar.
This is by far one of the most incorrect methods you can do to your vehicle and will cause extreme marring in some cases.
Let's start with the basics....
What is contamination? In simple terms it is material or debris that has bonded to the paintwork and will not be removed by washing the vehicle. Often seen as black dots which is usually tar spots, or orange dots which are usually fallout that comes from the vehicle braking system or when the vehicle has been stored outside for a while uncovered.
How do you safely remove this contamination?
It is vital a correct process is followed to prevent causing additional damage to the vehicles paintwork and appearance.
Stage 1. Completely hose down or ideally jet wash the vehicle to remove dirt from the vehicle before washing. If there is access to a snow foam lance, follow the vehicle rinse with a covering of snow foam and allow to dwell on the vehicle while you fill your buckets with wash solution. Jet wash off any snow foam on the vehicle.
Stage 2. Using the 2 bucket method (feature on our YouTube channel explains this), wash the entire vehicle and then rinse off. Towel dry.
Stage 3. The good bit. Removal of contamination. This requires the use of safety glasses and gloves to prevent any damage to yourself as these products are not for the faint hearted.
Using a high quality tar remover, go round the entire vehicle concentrating on the lower areas especially, and spray your chosen product on the paintwork following the manufacturers guidelines. Usually the product has to be left a few minutes before wiping off and for very heavy tar spotting a 2nd coat maybe required.
If you have not done this process before it's worth working on a section at a time.
Once you are happy that all the tar is removed and you have wiped off any remaining solution, jet wash off the vehicle and towel dry.
Stage 4. Fallout Removal. These products tend to have a very nasty smell to them. You have been warned. It is vital that you don't spray onto hot panels and avoid direct sunlight. Spray onto the vehicle using the manufacturers guidelines and jet wash off once the reaction has occurred. You will see tiny red dots appearing on the vehicle as the reaction process takes place. This is the fallout remover removing the iron particles from the paintwork.
For very heavily contaminated paintwork 2 or 3 coats maybe required.
Stage 5. Fully jet wash and then re-wash the vehicle after you are satisfied the tar and fallout has been removed.
Stage 6. Claying the vehicle. This stage removes even more contamination from the paintwork using a special clay product. This product will require lubrication either in the form of a dedicated clay lube or soapy water. Work your way round the entire vehicle using small gentle strokes across the paint keeping the clay lubed. Always use a 50p sized piece of clay rather than the whole block in one go.
As the contamination builds up on the clay fold the clay on itself to use a fresh part. Once the piece you are using is loaded simply dispose of this piece and start a fresh with a new piece.
Ensure any clay lube residue is wiped up as you go along.
It is good practise to re-wash the vehicle at this stage.
It is highly likely some marring will occur during the claying process and this will need polishing out.
All the stages have to be carried out in the correct order to avoid any damage to the paintwork caused by bad techniques or methods. Never skip straight to clay after wash EVER!
CC(UK) will not be held responsible for any damage caused to vehicles by incorrect techniques or methods used. Always use the correct safety equipment and if in any doubt feel free to drop in and see us.
All products needed are available direct from us or the website.