The Purpose Behind a Clay Bar


The Purpose Behind a Clay Bar

Although using a clay bar on your car is an essential part of detailing, it shouldn’t be done unless absolutely necessary. The clay bar has a specific job – to remove bonded contaminants from your paint. Even when used properly, it should be considered a necessary evil since it can be abrasive.

Clay is overused by DIYers and detailers. We used to clay bar every car. We no longer clay bar vehicles even if they need it unless we are going to machine polish the vehicle following a clay. Why you ask?

Even with a proper lube there is friction between the clay and paint surface. This light tension causes micro marring or micro braiding on the paint. Over time 2-3 clays will have dulled the pristine mirror reflection, left clay scuffs and marring of the paint. You may disagree but you are wrong. I can prove to you in our shop that clay is awesome but should be used only as needed. If used 1-2 times, polish the paint.

Smooth As Silk…Here is your assignment. Take your hand and gently slide across the exterior surface of your vehicle. Test several areas…i.e. the hood, roof, trunk, or any side panels. How does it feel? It should be smooth as silk. If it has any texture feeling, roughness, or friction, it’s in need of decontamination. Clay bar can help your vehicle’s exterior surface achieve that smooth-as-glass look and feel.  Use car clay when traditional car washing cannot remove stubborn surface contaminants, such as bugs, bird droppings, and rail dust. Use clay bar on paint, glass and chrome.

When Is It Time To Clay Bar My Car?

If your car hasn’t had a clay bar treatment in a few years and it sits outside, it’s probably time to do it. The best way to check is to run your hand across the paint after you’ve washed it. Does it feel rough and textured? Can you hear the sound of your hand moving across the paint? Those are both tell-tale signs that your paint is contaminated. In this case, a clay bar is an excellent thing to use.

Clay bars are designed to grab onto contaminants that are stuck to your paint and pull them off. Think of these as things that get embedded in the “pores” of your clear coat. A clay bar is typically the final step that makes sure your paint is surgically clean. Use clay bar on paint, glass and chrome.

How Do You Use Clay Bar?  It’s Easy.

  • After washing your car, cut or tear your clay into several pieces (about 1/3 size).
  • Knead one piece of clay in your hand until flat.  Store your unused clay between wax paper and return to box.
  • Lubricate your car’s surface using clean soapy water or a quick detailing chemical.
  • Gently glide your clay across the lubricated surface. As the clay becomes contaminated with dirt fold the clay to reveal a clean working surface. Apply more lubricant if the clay begins to stick to the car’s surface.
  • Wipe the surface clean using a microfiber towel.
  • Store your clay between household wax paper and return to the storage box.
  • Polish after claying.

WARNING: If you drop your clay use another piece.

How Does Clay Bar Work? Automotive clay bar is an engineered resin mixture designed to remove containments from surfaces. When you glide the clay bar along the surface of your car, it picks up anything extending from the surface. The dust and dirt get stuck to the clay, and so you’ve successfully removed the containment. An important note to keep in mind is that you always spray lubricant or detail spray before claying. The lubrication stops loose debris from scratching your car.

Clay Bar “Does Not” do the following:

  • Remove scratches
  • Remove swirl marks
  • Remove paint
  • Solve the world’s problems

Click HERE or call 910-769-0503 to schedule your appointment with one of our detailing professionals!