How to Clay Bar a Car

Updated: Apr 23, 2021



What does clay bar do?


This process will remove harmful contaminants from the surface of your paint like brake dust and rail dust which can be transferred in your buffing pad in the paint correcting process. This procedure also removes contaminants that hide your clear coat not bringing its true luster like overspray and oxidation. In the completion of this step, this product leaves you with an amazingly smooth finish on the surface of your car.


How often should you clay bar a car?


After washing your vehicle you should be able to feel if your vehicle needs claying. Normally 3-4 times of year is the number of times you would want your car clayed to keep your vehicle smooth and contaminant free. I suggest to clay every time before waxing to ensure the proper protection and shine throughout the year.


What can clay be used for?

Car wash of Dodge Charger
Car wash of Dodge Charger

Auto detailers use this process on many parts of your vehicle's exterior. You can clay your windows, rims depending on the coating, mirrors, and paint.


Can clay bar damage paint?

When using the clay bar treatment if you ever drop your clay on the ground, throw it away. Clay bars are meant to collect small particles like dirt and sand which if dropped, will be embedded in your bar and transferred to your car.

Make sure you keep the surface you are working on slick so that the clay will glide across the finish of the car’s paint.

When the clay bar treatment is finished be sure that you store the clay bar in the container it came in or some type of zip lock bag to ensure it does not collect any harmful contaminants.


Clay bar grades

To choose what grade of clay you need to use you would first assess your paint smoothness and the age of paintwork you have. It's a good idea to choose a medium grade bar which is neutral to the others. The fine grade bar is used in older paint jobs and isn’t too aggressive on the surface. The heavy-duty clay bar is the most aggressive which needs to be used with caution.


What comes inside of a clay bar kit?


Clay kits come with the tools that you need to perform the proper clay bar treatment. First and foremost the kit comes with the detailing clay bars of your preference that you have ordered. This kit normally supplies microfiber cloths to use with removing the clay lubricant after the process. Lastly, the kits contain some type of clay lubricants like quick detailers or spray wax.


What do detailers do after the clay bar treatment?


After the clay bar treatment, detailers protect their work with either wax or sealant. In professional detailing clay baring is the process before paint correction to ensure a smooth surface contaminant free.


Preparation for clay barring


In preparation for correcting your paint, you want to first wash your car ridding of the loose contaminants from the surface. If this step is skipped you risk harming your paint more or even scratching the surface and as a result having to overwork yourself or could be an expensive fix at the end such as repainting or paint correcting.

After the completion of washing your vehicle, you want to follow up with the process of clay baring the surface of your paint. The products you need in preparation to clay your car are:

  • Auto detailing clay bar (can also use clay mitts)

  • Clay lubricant

  • Microfiber towels

  • Plastic bag or glove

How to use clay bar?

Start with small areas of your vehicle most likely around 6in by 6in. Spray the clay lubber to lubricate the surface making it slick so the clay bar glides across the paint. Pull off a small piece of clay from the clay bar and flatten.

Glide the clay across the paint in a back and forth method until you feel a smooth finish. When satisfied use your microfiber towel to buff away leftover clay lube. Repeat this process to the entire paint surface working in the same size area all around the vehicle.

To check if the surface has been rid of its contaminants take the plastic bag and rub across the area in which the process was performed. You can actually feel if there is anything left over. During the claying process be sure to reset your clay by rolling, folding, and smashing together the piece of clay until you see a fresh side.

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