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Auto Finesse Detailing Clay Bar: Real World Test And Review

Auto Finesses Detailing Clay Bar is a 200-gram block of fine clay which is normally used to remove embedded contamination from paintwork in preparation for polishing.

I found Auto Finesse clay to be super soft, it is one of the softest clay bars I have used. I would class it as a ‘fine’ clay bar.

This has the downside of making it the least aggressive but is very gentle on the paint, causing very little marring. This can be an advantage when dealing with lightly contaminated paint.

I found that Auto Finesse Clay Bar was soft and great for jobs where you don’t want to cause too much-marring damage. For example, this clay bar would be advantageous when working on slightly damaged paint, classic cars, exotics or cars with a car with thin paint.

Prepmycar Rating: 8.1 / 10

Auto Finesse Clay Bar Large 200g Soft, Fine Clay Bar Removes Organic And Inorganic Contaminates From Paintwork Safely Ultra-Fine Grade Of Natural Kaolin Clay

Auto Finesse Clay Bar Large 200g Soft

  • 7.0 Contamination Removal
  • 8.5  Ease of use
  • 9.0 Marring
  • 8.0  Value for Money
  • 8.1 OVERALL TEST SCORE

Pros

  • Auto Finesse clay is soft compared to many other clay bars.
  • Easy to form and manipulate.
  • Can be used using just soapy water as a lubricant.

Cons

  • Very slow at removing thick contamination.

Real World Testing Process

I used the Auto Finesse clay in several scenarios to gauge performance. I was looking for how easily contamination was removed, how easy the clay was to form and manipulate, and how severe the marring inflicted by the clay was. 

Auto Finesse sell a clay lubricant to be used in conjunction with their clay bar, however I used a dilution solution of Optimum No Rinse as a clay lubricant. 

Contamination Removal 7.0/10

When using clay, I use the ‘hash-tag’ technique. I use the clay in vertical motions and then horizontal motions, I do not use circular motions. I work in fairly small sections, roughly 30 cm x 30 cm, applying lubrication, as necessary. 

As mentioned, the Auto Finesse clay is fine, with the result of being very slow at removing thick contamination in some cases. I used it on a roof that had some tree sap embedded into it, and the clay really struggled to remove the sap. The clay bar did turn brown, so it was removing contamination, but it took considerable effort to remove the sap. 

Using the clay in other cases did make paint feel much smoother. This is a clay ideal for well-maintained cars, I certainly would not use it on a car that has never been clayed. 

Form

Auto Finesse clay is soft compared to many other clay bars, which is a great feature. I would recommend using scissors to cut pieces from the main bar, as pulling the clay will deform the whole bar.

With a small piece cut it is easy to fold over when necessary, and quickly moulds around any contours in the paint. I did not encounter any pieces of clay breaking off the piece I was using, as can happen with cheaper bars. 

Ease of use 8.5/10

The Auto Finesse clay is sold as a standalone block and also as part of a kit containing clay and lubricant. The softness of the clay makes it easier to form and use, I would recommend using scissors to make cutting smaller chunks easier. It is easy to kneed in to shape, even in colder temperatures. 

Marring 9.0/10

Marring is caused by friction between clay and paint and is quite a common occurrence when using clay. It is easily removed by machine polishing, but it is ideal if as little marring as possible is inflicted.

Auto Finesse’s clay is very soft as mentioned, which means the marring inflicted is very light if even noticeable at all. The photo below shows a machine-polished panel with near-perfect paint.

After claying using some diluted ONR as a lubricant, I took this photo, which shows very little marring, the least I have tested (the small scratch was there beforehand.)

Lubricant

Auto Finesse do sell a dedicated clay lubricant for use with their clay, called Glide. I have not used it but do tend to use ONR as a lubricant. With that said, I also tried the Auto Finesse clay with just water, with no noticeable drop in performance or increase in marring. 

Value for money 8.0/10

Auto Finesse sell their 200-gram block of clay by itself for £14.95 ($15.90 USD).

Compared to some other manufacturers, 200 grams is actually quite a generous amount, while many clay bars are around the £15 ($15.95 USD) mark.

The amount of clay needed will vary depending on the size of the car and also the amount of contamination on the paint. I estimate around 50 grams of clay would be needed for a medium sized car, meaning one big bar contains enough clay for four cars at a cost of just under £4 ($4.25 USD) per car.

As clay should not be used frequently, probably once a year at most, this is not a very expensive product, it betters the Meguiar’s clay bar, but falls behind the Bilt Hamber clays in terms of value for money. 

Auto Finesse

Auto Finesse are a British detailing brand founded in 1999 as a mobile valeting business.

They have a wide range of products, many of which have been reviewed on Prep My Car. They are popular among enthusiast detailers and recently opened a UK-based detailing academy.

My Final thoughts

As a detailer, having a range of clay options is important. Not every car needs the most aggressive option, especially cars with softer paint.

This clay bar is a great option to have when confronted with soft paint, or even to use annually on a well-maintained car to minimise the marring inflicted by claying. 

I like how it can be used using just soapy water as a lubricant and also the convenient resealable bag it comes in to keep the clay clean. 

FAQ

Does Auto Finesse need a special lubricant?

While Auto Finesse do sell a dedicated lubricant, Glide, I have found using water with some added car shampoo will be sufficient.

When do I need to clay my car?

If the paint on the car feels rough to the touch it may need claying. Using iron and tar removers will reduce the frequency clay is needed.

Does Auto Finesse clay cause scratching?

Not if it is used properly, it is one of the softest clays on the market and causes minimal marring. Ensuring the clay is well lubricated and using dedicated iron and tar removers beforehand will help reduce the chances of marring.

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Jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan has been a car fanatic since his dad got him hooked on the Ferrari F40. Whilst he has dreams of owning one someday, he's poured his life into being the best he can be when it comes to detailing. Whilst car detailing is just a hobby, the countless hours and money invested makes him a unique addition to the detailing industry, offering unbiased opinions and methods that often go against the trends.

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