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How To Clay Bar A Car

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Clay Bar: A Secret Weapon For Auto Detailing

How To Clay Bar Your Car – Chemical Guys Auto Detailing

by Automotive Quality Solutions | Oct 25, 2013 | Car Care, Car Knowledge |

Weve learned that frequent and proper washing of a vehicle is essential to preserving the shine of its factory finish. Proper car washing technique is the key here as the very act of washing a car can cause damage to painted surfaces by brushing dirt and grime around, and thus, scratching the clear coat surface.

Yet even after a good thorough wash the car isnt as clean as it could be. Washing is great for removing relatively large dirt and grime particles the dirt, dust, and grime that is visible with the naked eye. Though washing alone cant remove microscopic contaminants from the surface of the clear coat there is a secret weapon that can: Detailing Clay.

Over-spray, tree sap, road grime, bugs, brake dust, industrial fallout, etc. will embed into the surface of the clear coat causing it to have a rough, bumpy feel to it. After a thorough washing these contaminants may no longer be seen, but they can be felt. Gently rubbing ones finger tips over a painted surface will reveal the presence of these microscopic contaminants. Fortunately, automotive clay bar will remove these contaminants leaving a super clean, contaminant free surface.

Here we demonstrate the proper use of a clay bar towel lubricating well with a quick detail spray.

After claying, the painted surface is about as clean as it will get the perfect time to protect the paint with a sealant or wax.

Follow Up With A Polish And Wax

And just like that, you’ve clay barred your car like the pros do. Now that your car is actually squeaky clean, its time to follow your clay bar treatment with a quick polish and wax to correct and restore your paintwork to its original, showroom gloss. We recommend our Hybrid Solutions Polish & Wax to kill two birds with one stone, erasing any scratches or imperfections left in your clear coat while delivering a long-lasting layer of ceramic protection.

How To Clay Bar A Car Windshield

  • Staff Writer

Just like with your paint, water spots, tar or rubber, and other road grime will aggressively build up and stick to your windscreen.

Claying your windshield is the best way to remove buildup of contaminates on glass.

The clay will pull out all sorts of stubborn debris that will cause your glass to feel rough and look dirty even after a thorough wash with even the best glass cleaner.

The process to clay glass is essentially the same as paint. Youll need to thoroughly wash and clean your glass first.

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Does A New Car Need To Be Clay Barred

Absolutely! While your car was transported from the manufacturer to the dealer it did so by rail, highway, and even sea. Most dealers dont do a great job at cleaning the cars once they receive them. This means your car has rail dust, iron particles, road film, salt, and other contaminants already imbedded in it.

Will A Clay Bar Remove Scratches From Glass

How Long Does It Take To Clay Bar A Car

Unfortunately no. All a clay bar will do is remove road grime that is stuck to the glass that simply washing wont remove.

Youll want to use care when clay barring your windshield to ensure you dont create scratches though.

Inspect the clay regularly and fold when contaminants build up on the surface of the clay.

Folding the clay will give you a clean surface on the clay itself. If the clay gets too much contamination buildup you may want to get a new piece of clay.

If you inadvertently pick up sand grains or other hard bits in the clay you can accidentally scratch the glass if youre not careful.

If you drop the clay on the ground the safest thing to do is use a fresh piece of clay.

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Lithium Auto Elixirs Fore Clay And Luster Lube

Made with ultra fine volcanic mud, Lithium Auto Elixirs Fore Clay and Luster Lube is more than just a witty name. Since this clay bar contains no dyes or cheap fillers, its a natural formula that should provide more adhesion than synthetic clay. That means its easier to remove all those contaminants on your cars surface, quickly restoring your paint to a factory smooth finish.

Included with the Fore Clay is a bottle of Luster Lube that delivers incredible hydrophobic properties. The detailer can also be used to clean and boost shine in between washes, leaving behind a layer of protection against harmful UV rays. More importantly, Lithium offers an unconditional warranty. As the company says, It will be the best product you have ever used, or we will promptly refund your money. No questions, no whining, no kidding.

  • Pros/Made with ultra fine volcanic mud, no dyes or fillers, natural formulation, includes bottle of lube, unconditional warranty
  • Cons/A bit more expensive than the competition
  • How To Give Your Car A Clay Bar Treatment The Right Way

    In this article you will learn:

    • When you should give your car a clay bar treatment
    • How to use a clay bar properly to prep and decontaminate your finish
    • The best way to make detailing clay last

    Many car owners think that the final step to any successful car wash is to hand dry their vehicle with a couple of microfiber towels. And while your car may look squeaky clean after that weekend car wash, looks can be deceiving.

    There may still be thousands, if not millions, of microscopic contaminants embedded in your clear coat. These contaminants can’t be removed using a regular car wash soap, and waxing or polishing over them can create scratches and swirls in your paint finish. Luckily, there is a way to get rid of these stubborn pollutants all you need is a clay bar, some clay bar lubricant and a microfiber towel!

    If youre wondering how a hunk of clay will solve your auto detailing problems, then read on! Itll all make sense after reading this article.

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    How Often Should I Clay Bar My Car

    If youre properly caring for your car this should only be once or twice a year. By properly caring I mean youve already clay barred and polished it once, have kept it protected with a good wax or sealant, and have cleaned it routinely to make sure contaminants havent sat on the paint for a long time.

    Clay Bar Before And After: The Showcase

    How To Properly Clay Bar A Car! Newbie Detailing Vlog – Chemical Guys

    We want to give you an inside view of what using clay can do for your car. Check out these videos below to see some of the success stories and the authentic results these folks experienced from claying heavily on contaminated paint.

    Be sure to watch each video to see some drastic results from using clay products and what a huge difference they make.

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    How Do Clay Bars Work

    Clay bars are very lightly abrasive. Think of them like a 5000 grit piece of wet sanding paper. You lubricate the surface of your paint and rub the clay across it which abrades away and pulls out contaminants such as dirt, iron deposits, and tree sap.

    The material clay bars are made out of is also malleable allowing it to form to the surfaces of your vehicle and withstand grating against the dirt and contaminants youre removing which are very hard.

    Its important to remove these deposits with a clay bar. Many of these deposits such as rail dust, carbon, and industrial fallout contain metallic substances which when left embedded in your paint will oxidize and spread under the clear coat leading to pitting and clear coat failure.

    Plus, clay barred paint is incredibly smooth. This makes the application of wax or sealant much easier and increases the bond waxes and sealants have with your paint so they last longer. Win win.

    How To Clay Bar Your Car Faster Smarter And Better Top Auto Detailing Tips From The Experts

    This weeks post from Proje is about how to clay bar, clay towel or clay mitt your car. We know our car detailing, and our car detailing products, so were going to look at when and why to use a clay bar instead of a clay disc, and what specific products you should be using for the best results. Ill take you through the best way to clay your car, and then the fastest, easiest and most efficient way to wax or seal your car after you clay it, because thats a really important part of the process too. Remember that waxing and sealing adds protection back on to a cars bodywork after you clay it!

    Step 1: How to Tell if Your Car Needs to Be Clayed

    The first thing I want to make sure is that you arent going through the claying process for the wrong reasons. A lot of people get in touch with us wanting to buy clay kits because they have a scratch on their car. Well, a clay bar isnt going to do that! What a clay bar does is remove any roughness from the surface of your car, thats caused by general contamination from the air dust, dirt and debris the three ds! These contaminants can cause your paintwork to chip, which can eventually lead to oxidisation and rust issues in the long term. So, after your car has been washed, take a thin glove or plastic bag and put it over your hand. Then rub gently against the surface of your car. If the surface isnt glassy smooth, then now is the time to clay!

    Step 2: Getting Down to the Clay!

    When Should I Use the Clay Bar?

    Using a Mitt

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    Wash And Dry Your Car

    Start by washing your car from the top down with a car wash mitt and an all-purpose car wash shampoo like M.A.X. Power Detergent and a bucket of water. Continue to scrub until youve lifted all the stains and soils from your vehicle, then rinse your car thoroughly with agarden hose. Towel dry using a fresh, microfiber towel.

    What’s The Best Lubricant For Clay Barring Glass

    How To Use A Clay Bar Like The Pro

    When clay barring any surface you need to have a lubricant to allow the clay bar to glide over the surface.

    There are various liquids that can be used. Dont make the mistake of using glass cleaner or similar products though.

    They can break down the clay bar and just cause it to smear across the glass.

    The best lubricant we can recommend is Chemical Guys Clay Luber.

    Its a great choice since it shouldnt streak and will wipe clean with a microfiber towel.

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    Wash And Dry The Surface

    The first step is to wash your vehicle to remove any loose dust and debris which will interfere with the process. Then, use a soft cotton towel to remove any water or moisture from the surface. Its important not to leave any water on your vehicle as this will affect the clay bars ability to form a tight bond with the paint.

    Find out: Why you should never use sponges again for washing cars?!

    Griots Garage Paint Cleaning Clay

    Griots Garage Clay is a product that comes in a plastic container that can be used for multiple paint jobs.

    This clay comes with both a wax and a polish free-grade, so youre able to use it with your clay bar without worrying about damaging the finish. Griots also use advanced optical grade technology to ensure that no scratches are left behind when youre finished.


    • This is a high-quality non-abrasive clay that wont cause any scratches on your paint.
    • It also comes in a container that can be reused, and its easy to work with.
    • This clay bar is well suited for use on the entire car without causing any damage to the finish but be sure to keep it away from clear plastic parts as it might cause damage.


    Some people dont like the way this clay smells, but you can always use it with a cotton cloth to wipe the smell away. Otherwise, the only negative thing I can say is that it feels a little bit sticky on the hands when applied.

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    Mistake #2 Reusing Clay Bars

    People often reuse a dirty clay bar without even realizing the damage theyre doing to their cars exterior. Once that clay bar has picked up any dirt or debris, its contaminated, so using it again is a big no-no. Instead, try using a spray with a reusable clay pad like Torque Details Clay Decon Kit.

    Milan Mastracci Detailing The Grossest Infiniti Ever

    How to PROPERLY Clay Bar Your Car! Professional DIY

    This car was absolutely caked with contaminants! If you look at the clay bar after it was used for rubbing just a tiny section of the hood, youll see just how gross and dirty it got.

    Depending on the clays roughness, youll see how it actually installs some scratches. This of course depends on the product used. However, those will come out after polishing the car, and it will then look like a million bucks!

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    How Often Should You Clay Bar A Car

    This will come down to preference, but its a good idea to clay bar a car before you plan to apply a fresh coat of wax. There is no specific grit level that requires claying, its entirely up to how clean you want your car. If you feel the paint is gritty even after a fresh wash, it might be time to consider using the clay. Even some brand-new cars need to be clayed if theyve been sitting on a lot for a long time or were hit with overspray.


    What Is Clay Bar Lubricant And Why Do You Need It

    Because a clay bar is designed to be super tacky in order to grab on and remove embedded contamination, some type of lubricant is needed for the clay bar to slide across the surface of the paint and glass properly. A clay bar lubricant is used for this process, and provides the clay bar the perfect amount of lubrication to slide across the surface while still grabbing hold of contamination.

    Quick detailers can be used as well, but these contain polymers that cause the paint to feel slick even though the paint might not be properly decontaminated. This gives the user a false sense of slickness to the paint, making them think the paint is actually decontaminated when in reality, the quick detailer is just making the paint feel slick. This is why dedicated clay lube is recommended for the clay bar process.

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    Spray Lubricant Or The Homemade Solution

    Begin by spraying a small area of your car with the clay lube. Spray generously, so that the area is saturated with the clay lubricant. It will help prevent scratches on the car’s paint.

    Start at a cleaner surface of the car, roof or hood, and work you way to the heavily contaminated areas. By doing this, you clay bar will not get loose debris as quickly.

    Cleaning With A Clay Bar

    How To Properly Clay Bar Your Car

    Follow these steps to clay bar your car:

    1. Get your car ready for claying by washing and drying it as you normally would.

    2. Cut your clay bar into about four equally sized pieces. Handle the clay carefully if you drop it on the ground, it will become contaminated by anything it comes into contact with, and youll be unable to use it.

    3. Flatten the piece of clay youre working with into a small pancake.

    4. Working in sections of about two feet in diameter, spray the lubricant on your cars paint.

    5. Swipe the clay across the lubricated surface, and be sure swipe it in the same direction with each pass. Youll be able to hear the clay as it collects debris. Use a light touch. If youre too heavy-handed, you could scratch the paint. After a few passes, you should notice that the clay glides more smoothly and more quietly than it did at the beginning. This indicates that the section is clean.

    6. Move on to the next patch and repeat the process. Fold the clay or flip it over to make sure youre working with a clean side of clay for each patch. Check the clay to make sure it doesnt contain any large chunks of debris that could damage your cars paint. Continue until youve used the clay bar to clean the entire surface of the car.

    7. Do a quick wash afterward to make sure all debris has been cleared. If youre working with a wax or sealant, apply it after the wash.

    Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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    How Do You Use A Clay Bar

  • You should wash your car first. Trying to clay a dirty car can cause scratches.
  • Use plenty of lubrication. I use a Chemical Guys Clay Luber.
  • Break off a small piece of clay and knead it into a flat shape.
  • Clay in the shade as it will stick to hot paint.
  • Use side-to-side motions and not circular.
  • Dont use too much pressure.
  • Keep checking the area to see if its smooth.
  • If the clay starts to stick to the paint, use more luber.
  • Use a super soft microfibre towel to dry the area after.
  • Use a fine clay bar for a new or relatively new car.
  • Use aggressive clay bars on older beat-up cars.
  • Once the clay bar gets dirty, fold it over to a clean side.
  • Dont do parts of the car that already feel smooth.
  • Dont do glossy plastic trim.
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