As someone who has taken the pain to learn the how-to's of detailing(from research and also from talking to knowledgeable detailing people), and having spent hundreds of dollars buying and trying out various car detailing products, allow me to add my two bits here. And yes, I have also pored over the Autopia website for more hours than I would care to admit!!!
Yet, you will find that I'm not very different from most of my fellow MINIacs here in wanting to have my MINI look it's best
To begin with, you do NOT need to clay a brand new car, especially one that is only a month old and probably only a few months removed from having been built at the Oxford plant. Your MCSA
would have been detailed professionally by your MINI dealership prior to your picking it up.
Let me sort through some misconceptions about what clay barring does and does not do:
- A clay bar does NOT remove scratches and swirl marks, to the contrary it actually makes them even more obvious and evident than before. What a clay bar does, is to remove environmental contaminants from the finish of your car, that regular washing and waxing cannot remove.
- WHEN do you need to use a clay bar?
A simple rule of thumb - wash your car thoroughly, from top to bottom. Then resoap the car (to ensure lubrication) and with your bare palm, rub it lightly across your car's painted finish. If the finish feels nice and smooth, it does not need to be claybarred. However, if the finish feels rough or pitted, then that particular area needs to be claybarred. (rinse the soap off the car after you have done this inspection).
- When you do decide to use a clay bar, the area that you are going to use the claybar on must be absolutely clean. So:
- Wash the car from top to bottom (do not dry it)
- After doing so, knead the clay bar (I usually knead the clay bar in a container of warm water to keep it soft and pliable while using it). Then, with either a detailing spray or a fresh bucket of soapy water and mitt, spray/soap up the area that you are going to apply the clay bar on. This is to ensure the lubricity of the clay bar on your car's finish, never apply the clay bar on a dry finish. You want the clay bar to 'pull' out the contaminants from your car's paint finish, and not physically damage it. It goes without saying, do not apply heavy pressure on the clay bar.
- ALWAYS knead and fold over the clay bar, till you reveal/expose a clean surface on the bar, while using it. Believe me, the first time you use a clay bar, you will almost keel over from the shock of seeing how much dirt the clay bar removes!!! Don't keep using the dirty surface, just keep kneading and folding over the bar. You can use a clay bar repeated times, as long as you remember to do this.
Never let the area that you are clay barring become dry. After you are done, rinse the car/cleaned area, and soap and wash the car again. You are doing this to remove every last bit of trace residue from the clay barring.
Using a clay bar will remove not only the contaminants, but every trace of protective wax/glaze protecting your paint finish. So, it is absolutely imperative that you rewax/polish the car immediately after using a clay bar.
In your case, you do not need to clay bar yet. You can remove the existing wax finish by using some dishwashing liquid like Dawn to wash your car, then drying it. This will 'prep' your car for the polishing/waxing. Note that this is the only time you should ever use dishwashing liquid. For regular car washes, always use an automotive car wash liquid, which will not strip the protective wax.
If you want to be really 'anal' about waxing your car, and 'hiding' those swirl marks as much as possible - use the #9 first, which is an ultrafine polish and will 'fill' the swirl marks, followed by the 'glaze' (ie the NXT wax), which is what gives the paint finish it's glossy finish, and finally 'sealed' with a wax with carnauba like Meguiar's #26 High Tech Wax, which doesn't actually increase the glossiness of the paint finish, but in effect puts a protective layer over the gloss that the NXT wax has created. (think of it this way, the carnauba wax is a clear coat protective finish for the gloss/glaze!)
The NXT wax is supposed to provide both the gloss and the protective finish, thus eliminating the need for a carnauba wax, but old school detailers still like adding the carnauba layer on top. You can actually rewax your car with the carnauba wax every couple of weeks or monthly, without having to do the dishwashing liquid wash and polishing.
Don't just take my word for it, this is some of what I have learnt from my research, and I am still learning everyday!!! Always feel free to disagree, and do your own research too