How to Clay Bar Your Car — Easy Steps to Detail the Right Way

Does your car’s paint look a little dull? Maybe you have stubborn specks in the paint that you notice while cleaning. Protecting your car’s paint is one of the most important parts of maintaining a vehicle. 

Here in this article, we’ll discuss just that and help you get started with detailing your car the right way. So, let’s get into it.

How Often Should You Clay Bar Your Car?

Many people simply wash their car’s exterior and consider it clean. However, do this simple test, and you will realize your car’s paint may have contaminants still stuck to the paint finish, such as industrial fallout pollution, oxidation, or stubborn tree sap or bud detritus. 

To test your paint, after washing your car, either take the back of your fingers and feel how smooth or rough your paint actually is. Another trick is to put your hand in a clean plastic bag and lightly feel the surface. You will most likely feel the contaminants in the paint. This indicates that your car now needs a clay bar treatment. 

What do You need to Get Started with Claying?

  • Clay Bar

This is the primary tool you’ll need for the claying treatment. Clay bars come in different aggressiveness grades for different usage purposes. You’ll find fine-grade, medium-grade, and heavy-grade clay bars in the market.

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Depending on the stubbornness of contamination, choose a suitable clay bar. Fine-grade bars are easy to use as they are softer. However, they are only recommended if you clay your car regularly and need a light finish. We recommend using a medium-grade bar for stubborn debris and overspray, as it is the best of both worlds. Because heavy-grade clay bars are overly aggressive and can result in scratches.

  • Clay Bar Lubricant

Using a dry clay bar on a dry surface can cause harm to the paint’s surface. Therefore, clay bar lubricant is an essential part that keeps the car surface lubricated. This allows the clay bar to move across the surface easily and not damage it.

  • Microfiber Towel

After claying the car, you’ll need a microfiber towel to clean up the clay residue. These microfiber towels are reusable by rinsing them off after you use them.

How to Clay Bar Your Car?

Many people, including myself, have mistakenly polished the entire car and then waxed it. Polishing is really for defect removal. Clay is for the removal of the roughness you can feel with the backs of your fingers. 

Using clay, the first level of car paint detailing, you can then determine if you need to polish or go straight to waxing the finish. The clay is a pliable bar that the contaminants stick to while lightly skimming the car paint’s surface. 

To use, just spray the Clay lubricant in small sections onto the surface of your car, and do only one area at a time. Take the clay and knead it into a flat paddy that can cover your fingers. Make sure to shape the bar in an oval shape so your fingers are covered. Simply and lightly rub the Clay over the lubricated areas of the car. It will do the job without much pressure. While you do this, wipe away the excess clay lubricant with the towel.

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Doing this back and forth will make your clay bar dirty as it collects dirt. So, knead it again to expose a clean paddy surface and continue. If you drop the clay on the ground, it’s best to toss it, as you do not want to pick up bigger contaminants that can scratch your paint. Do the plastic bag test to see if it feels smooth now. Otherwise, keep on claying section-by-section.

Once you’re done with clay and have removed all the contaminants, your car is ready for wax for extra protection. If you also wish to polish your car, you may do this before waxing it.

Tips to Clay Bar Your Car

That was all for the clay bar cleaning process. However, here are a few crucial tips you need to remember while giving your car a clay bar treatment.

  1. Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure

While rubbing the clay bar onto the car’s surface, use a light touch and don’t apply too much pressure, as this can cause damage. Be gentle, and let the clay do the rest of the work.

  1. Clay in Small Sections

Clay your car in 2 x 2 sections to ensure no missed spots and the entire vehicle is decontaminated properly.

  1. Keep the Clay Bar Clean

If you don’t plan to use the clay bar soon, store it in a sealed container or bag, so it stays clean and doesn’t dry out.

  1. Apply a Protective Layer

Once you’re done claying the car, apply a protective layer of wax or sealant. This is to protect your car’s paint and maintain its shine.

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