After getting some great advice on the forum on how to use clay properly, I decided that after 4 weeks of driving around in a filthy dirty beast it was time to have a good clean up and detail. Any comments on the below are very welcome.
Sunshine on Saturday morning meant a good four hours of work on my E46. Stupidly, I forgot to take a 'before' shot, but this isn't far off what she looked like:
So, to start, here's what I used.
You'll notice the BMW bottle - that was cab roof sealant, bought from BMW @£16, more on that later.
First rinsed with cold water, then washed with AG Shampoo and Conditioner (2x buckets!). Dried with a chamois and given a quick buff with a peach-skin cloth.
Then to claying...
The clay I bought suggested that tap water was fine, but others had suggested to me that I make a lube from water plus a lot of shampoo in a plant sprayer. No probs. This was great - a lot easier than I had imagined and was quite fun. You really can feel the clay working. The piece was filthy after only a quarter of the car (photo shows use after passenger front wheel-arch panel).
I also took this opportunity to finish the wheels with AG Wonder Wheels and to use the BMW roof sealant. Empty bottle into 2.5 litres of water, stir it up and apply 'generously' to roof. Easily enough for two cars, even with it pouring on. Spread it around to prevent spotting and left to dry.
I finished the claying and roof sealant just as it was getting dark, so gave her a quick rinse, dry and buff over with the peach-skin cloths again before moving into the garage...
Inside, I gave her a waxing with the shitty Turtlewax stuff I have. I finally bought some AG Extra Gloss Protection this afternoon and a pad to apply it with. Looking forward to trying that as it seems to be pretty popular around here...
The remaining pics are all post waxing - I'm REALLY impressed with the clay, it's made a superb base for the wax I guess. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone keen to try for the first time. The BMW roof sealant has left the roof looking brand new too. It's a lovely deep black and when out driving today seems to repel spotting rain quite nicely.