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Old 03-11-2018, 07:31 PM   #1
Brian1612
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Detailingworld™ Review - CarPro Clear Cut & Reflect

Introduction

Following on from my reviews of CarPro's Bug Off and the unique Iron X Snow Soap, I am now going to have a look at CarPro's compound & finishing polish offerings, Clear Cut & Reflect.

For any additional info out with this review, please visit https://carpro.uk.com/ who are the official CarPro distributors in the UK.

The Product

Clear Cut is CarPro's cutting compound while Reflect is regarded as a finishing polish. Both compliment each other and are typically used together as a 2 stage paint correction system. Clear Cut is used for the initial cutting stage, removing deep scratches and heavy swirling. Reflect is then used to refine the harsh cutting stage and bring out an increased level of gloss and clarity to the paint work.

Both products came in 250ml bottles with very attractive packaging, especially the CarPro Clear Cut with it's silver bottle & contrasting gold labeling.





They also had easy pour spouts to make applying the correct amount of product to pads a breeze, reducing mess and waste. I personally think this is hugely important for compounds/polishes as I have bought & used another brands 1L bottle of compound without a spout & found it very cumbersome to apply the correct amount of product to the pad.

Clear Cut description taken direct from the CarPro Uk website:

"Tired of spending countless hours cutting heavy defects out of the paint? Who isn't? For the past few years CarPro has been working towards creating a fast and heavy cutting compound, vastly more aggressive than any compound CarPro has produced before! The result is.... CarPro ClearCut! CarPro ClearCut is the compound you reach for BEFORE your finishing polish, such as Reflect! CarPro ClearCut was developed to QUICKLY remove defects whilst allowing you to easily view your work through the polish. Within 1-2 passes you can begin to watch the defects literally disappear before your eyes as the compound begins to become transparent. This allows you to continue cutting as needed OR stop as soon as the defects are removed and you find yourself ready for finishing polish. In some cases and with the correct combinations this incredible next-gen compound may also be used as a 1 step product!

CarPro ClearCut is an extremely fast acting liquid abrasive built from the ground up for efficiency, performance, and speed! Unlike other popular compounds on the market ClearCut doesn't fool you by swelling the paint or hiding water spots and scratches just to see them re-surface later! With NO fillers ClearCut wipes off fully and a simple Eraser wipe down EASILY removes any lubricants.

Unlike compounds of the past, CarPro ClearCut has its own method of application for optimal results... reversing the traditional "heavy to light" method, we start with lighter pressure and finish heavy! Additionally I find myself using a bit more compound with ClearCut than I do with traditional compounds. While ClearCut cuts like a Ginsu, it is also low dusting and wipes off with ease! Say goodbye to hours of wasted time and hello to efficiency and less labor costs!"


Reflect description taken direct from CarPro Uk website:

"CarPro has done it again! CarPro Reflect quickly and easily creates an incredibly high gloss finish that must be seen to be believed! Comprised of diminishing abrasive technology, Reflect removes light swirls, holograms, and compound haze while producing a reflective extremely high gloss mirror finish in its place. Best of all Reflect is not oily and does not contain durable fillers that interfere with your true results.

Here at CarPro we and our Finest detailers have worked hand in hand developing and testing CarPro Reflect over the past few months and we can happily say this has become our favorite finishing polish on the market! Reflect produces an extremely deep reflective finish in less time than other polishes and wipes off like a dream!! From the eyes of some of the best detailers in the world to independant tests done using computer controlled gloss meters we can be confident in the reflections and depth you will create with Reflect as your finishing tool of choice."


The Method

I have tested Clear Cut and Reflect in two ways. Both were used on a test panel to make the results as observable as possible. It has also been used on 3 different cars to showcase it's real world results and give me a thorough experience of both products. First up the painted test panel, this was intentionally swirled using 0000 steel wool to give both products a proper work out. As you can see the swirling was extensive on the black metallic painted panel:



Reflect would be first up to see just how much cut this finishing polish can offer. The machine of choice was my Flex 3401 forced rotation DA. Instructions for Reflect are as follows:

"Directions:

- Apply very thin line or x across pad.
- Spread product on low speed across section with one pass.
- Increase speed to around 5 on Dual Action.
- As Reflects diminishing abrasives break down lighten pressure and/or speed
and continue to work until fully broken down.
- Wipe paint with BOA MF towel and inspect or move onto next section.
- Clean pad with brush and apply 4-5 small dots or 2-3 drops of product for
next section."


Nothing stands out as different here in the instructions apart from possibly using more product on the initial pass. Regardless as the test panel was small I went with my usual 4 pea sized blobs on a black finishing pad.



The polish was spread out on speed 2 across the panel before being increased to speed 4.5 and worked across the panel for 2 passes in a cross hatch pattern with medium pressure, ensuring to overlap each pass. On completion of the second pass speed was decreased to 3 and pressure was decreased slightly for a further two passes as instructed. The panel was wiped down with panel wipe to show the true results. As you can see there is still visible swirling on the panel but if you compare it to the before image the improvements are clear to see.



Although Reflect didn't remove all of the swirls, it certainly shifted a reasonable amount of them. I was quite impressed with the results given that Reflect is a finishing polish and it was used in conjunction with a soft foam finishing pad. Removal was effortless and there was very little dusting from Reflect.

Next up it was Clear Cut which should have substantially more cut and hopefully can deal with these swirls, returning my test panel to pristine condition. Instructions for Clear Cut are as follows:

"Directions:

For Dual Action use:

- Prime (clean dry pad) with a very thin worked in layer of compound and
add an additional 3-4 pea sized drops of product.
- Spread product across section.
- Raise speed to HIGH speed with LOW pressure.
- Use MINIMAL pressure for first 2-3 passes increasing pressure with each
pass.
- Increase pressure with each pass, finishing down with heavier pressure.
- When scratches are gone or polish has been worked through, wipe clean
with microfiber towel.
- Clean pad
- Move to next section and apply 6-8 pea size drops to pad and repeat steps
2-7."


Like Reflect, Clear Cut suggests priming the pad with more product than normal initially but with the size of the area I am working on I didn't see this as necessary. A green hexlogic cutting pad was chosen for this cutting stage and 4 pea sized blobs were added to the face of the pad before spreading across the test panel on low speed. Instructions were followed so speed 5 was chosen and I completed 2 passes with minimal pressure before slightly increasing pressure for the final 2 passes, all completed in a cross hatch pattern. I did notice that by the 4th pass the product was beginning to dry out and some dusting was occurring. It would seem Clear Cut doesn't have quite as long of a work time as I am used to and lacks the same lubricity as other cutting compounds I have tried.



Again the test panel was wiped down with panel wipe to show the true finish. There is no complaints with the level of cut it provided though. All the swirls Reflect failed to remove Clear Cut had no issues with and finish looked ok.

The next challenge for both products was testing them on an assortment of paint types. My dads Audi SQ5 had sustained heavy scratches on the rear bumper from lifting things in and out of the boot which needed addressing. My own car with medium hardness paint was due it's yearly machine polish and my partner had just recently bought a used Alfa Romeo Giulliettia which required a lot of work.







As you can see they are pretty substantial. The bumper lip was divided up into 2 sections and the same method was used as before so initial cutting stage with clear cut, 3-4 passes with increasing pressure with each pass. Again there was quite a bit of dusting from this 'no dusting' product but the cut was good and following up with reflect left a high level of finish. The panel was wiped down to ensure any remaining oils weren't masking the results.









I was very pleased with the results and it removed the majority of scratches on the horizontal surface. It couldn't remove the scratches on the bumper edge but I didn't apply too much pressure so wasn't expecting it too. Both used together certainly helped reduce the significance of them though.

Next up was my own car which was getting it's yearly decontamination and machining. My intention was to run over the full car with Reflect but the car was actually worse than I had expected. The initial condition of my Abarth Scorpione Black metallic paint can be seen in the below videos:

(Please ignore the wrist strap dragging along my paintwork )



A section of the spoiler was treated to 4 passes of Reflect on a soft polishing pad. This stage was done to confirm whether Reflect would be enough on it's own to remove the swirling on my paintwork. The results can be seen below:-


As you can see although Reflect removed the majority of the scratches, the paint was still going to require a heavier cutting stage from Clear Cut if I wanted to achieve a full correction.

A medium cut pad was combined with Clear Cut and only 3 passes were made on the spoiler this time. This was due to the small amount of scratches remaining and also as an effort to reduce the dusting from the product. This was then refined down with Reflect before being wiped over with panel wipe.


The results as you can see were exactly what I was looking for. All defects were removed and the refining stage with Reflect has brought out brilliant gloss levels from the paintwork and when the full car was complete the results were superb.



My only gripe with the products again was the levels of dust produced. Clear cut throws up substantial amounts of dust which is a nuisance when it comes to wiping the car down again. Reflect is substantially better but it can still cause a little dusting if worked that little bit too long.







Finally my girlfriends new to her Alfa Romeo Giulietta would test out Clear Cuts cutting ability specifically as the car was 2nd hand and showed clear signs of neglect, it was riddled with heavy swirls/scratches that required some real attention.

The following photos show the before and afters of some of the scratches/scuffs:

















I was seriously impressed with what Clear Cut achieved on the Alfa paintwork. There was several scratches I didn't expect to remove but to my surprise Clear Cut was capable of shifting them. One extremely deep scratch remained but it was massively improved.

The areas of heavy/deep scratches were spot corrected using my Shinemate EP803 rotary polisher on a heavy cutting pad, taking extra care to monitor pressure, machine speed and resulting heat due to being on the rotary with a firmer pad.

Once the deep scratches on each panel were removed the full panel was machined with Reflect on the Flex 3401 to level, refine and bring out the gloss. My girlfriend was over the moon with the results and I don't blame her, the car looked great.



Price

Prices for Reflect start at £10.99 for the 250ml bottle I have here, going up to £17.99 for 500ml and £29.99 for 1L.

Clear Cut is a bit more expensive at £14.95 for 250ml, £24.95 for 500ml and 1L is £39.95.

Either can be purchased by clicking on the following link: https://carpro.uk.com/collections/polishes

Both are priced above the market average I would say but Car Pro are often considered a premium product and as such priced at the upper end of the market.

Would I use it again?

I will happily continue to use Reflect. It was a pleasant polish to use and offered a surprising amount of cut for a finishing polish. The resulting gloss and clarity achieved from using it was spot on and it left an excellent finish.

Clear Cut is an entirely different beast. It offers real cutting power but there are negatives such as dusting and lack of work time I just don't like personally. Due to this it isn't a compound I would reach for again.

Conclusion

Reflect does everything you would expect from it with minimal fuss. The cutting ability from a finishing polish/finishing pad combo is surprising, it achieves excellent gloss levels while offering good lubricity and minimal to no dusting. It feels light when in use and removal is a breeze due to this. As far as finishing polishes go it's a good offering from the company.

Clear Cut on the other hand is almost the polar opposite. It requires you to work in extremely small sections with less passes than normal due to lack of lubricity and it feels 'thick' in use. It has a very small window of working time and going even slightly beyond this results in a lot of dust throw out. This is a feature of the product I found very difficult to control and dealing with it was tiresome. Removal wasn't exactly easy and it was more grabby than others I have used. Despite that it does cut extremely quickly and should reduce the amount of passes/time required to correct paintwork. Whether that is worth sacrificing on ease of use and dusting is completely down to the individual.

For me personally as a 'weekend warrior' who isn't machining paintwork very often, I don't think the quick cutting ability makes up for the rest of the drawbacks. This is a compound I wouldn't grab again during correction work for my own requirements but I can see how this product would be useful for full timers machining day in, day out were time is money.

Thanks for reading guys and feel free to ask any questions.

DW reviewer has followed the Manufacturer’s Instructions and accepts no responsibility to any circumstances arising from any member using these products or following this test.
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