A clay bar treatment is used by professional auto detailers to remove contaminants and pollutants that are caused by brake dust, rail dust, tree sap, bird droppings, and industrial fallout from the surface of your car’s paint and glass. Many car owners believe that washing and waxing is all they need to protect a car’s paint and keep it shiny. However this can be deceiving due to microscopic contaminants ingrained in your paint’s clear coat. These contaminants are beyond what a simple wash and wax can do.
The special resin material allows you to lift off any contaminants build-up before polishing or doing any kind of paint correction. This is a must step to avoid causing further damage or scratches during the polishing or paint correction stage.
Even if your vehicle doesn’t require polishing, it’s recommended to get a clay bar treatment at least once a year. This helps your paint sealant or wax last longer and better overall look.
How to determine if my paint surface is due for clay bar treatment?
The process is easy. Grab yourself a ziploc or sandwich bag and wear it like a glove. Next, swing your hand over the surface of your vehicle. The bag will make it easier to feel any contaminants as the surface will feel rough, if the surface feels smooth and slick then you can skip the clay bar treatment and move on to the polishing or waxing stage.
So you ran the bag experiment and you felt the gritty texture and roughness, that means your paint is due for a clay bar treatment. Don’t worry we are here to walk you through the steps to do this in your driveway/garage and achieve great results.
1- Wash your car
First, give your car a proper hand wash to get rid of loose dirt and grime and to make sure you are working on a clean surface.
2- Prep your clay bar
Divide your clay bar into two halves. Work with one half at a time by shaping it into a flat form about the size of your palm. It’s very important to trash the clay bar if you drop it or if it catches big particles. Working with a dirty bar will cause damage and scratches to your vehicle’s paint.
3- Lubricate the surface
Grab yourself a detailer spray/waterless spray and make sure your clay bar and working surface is well lubricated before starting the decontamination process. Work in small areas around 1’ x 1’ sections, this will produce better results and minimize the chance of damaging the clear coat.
4- Let the clay slide
After lubricating the bar and paint surface, start sliding your clay bar over the surface of your vehicle’s paint using back-and-forth motion to lift off embedded contaminants. As you work your
way, check your bar and when it starts getting dirty, fold the clay over itself to reveal a cleaner portion and reshape it again.
5- Test your work
As you finish each section, wipe off any residues and test your work using the ziploc or sandwich bag method. If the surface feels smooth keep on moving, if it still feels gritty and rough repeat step 3 and 4.
6- Protect your paint
Now that your paint is decontaminated, it’s time to apply some paint polish or wax to restore the showroom shine and protect your paint against the elements.
What surfaces can benefit from clay bar use?
You can use detailing clay on any smooth, hard surface, including glass and chrome. However, it’s not recommended to use clay on clear plastic, such as headlight covers.