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Clay Bar: What Is it and how to use a clay bars

clay bar

What is a Clay Bar

A clay bar, or auto detailing clay, is an essential part of detailing a vehicle. A traditional clay bar is a literal piece of clay mixed with elastomers. It is used in conjunction with clay lube to remove dirt and contamination from your vehicle. A clay bar kit would typically consist of one or more clay bars, clay lube, and perhaps a towel or two.

Types of Clay Bars

There are different types of clay bars and claying materials. Some brands, like Chemical Guys, will color code their clay bar, with yellow being the most popular and black being the most aggressive. These days there are also clay bar alternatives such as clay mitts, clay towels, and even clay attachments for buffers. While the style and name might change the basic idea remains the same. Clay bars are used to remove contaminants and dirt from the surface of the vehicle. Clay bars can remove road tar, surface contaminants, bonded contaminants, rail dust, tree sap, industrial fallout =, loose debris, brake dust and more.

Clay bar may come in fine grade, medium grade, heavy grade and more.

Where can Clay Bar Treatment Be Used

Clay bar treatment is effective over glass, and painted surface, including single-stage paint, plastic, headlights, and more. While many consider a clay bar treatment to be an advanced detailing technique, almost anyone can learn to clay bar and perform an effective clay bar treatment. A clay bar is often used before paint correction.

Clay Lubricant

Clay lubricant is exactly what it sounds like. It is a spray that you use on the surface to receive the clay bar treatment. It helps to may the process easier and prevent scratches. Excess lubricant is removed using an extra plush microfiber towel. SONAX uses glass cleaner on the clear coat to protect the car’s paint.

What is a Clay Bar Kit

A clay bar kit is a kit that contains clay bar or multiple clay bars, clay bar lubricant and in some cases a microfiber towel. It should contain everything you need to do a clay bar treatment.

Using a Clay Bar

Chemical Guys and others have great videos on this process. Every manufacturer will have a lube they suggest and in some cases, a detailing spray to be sprayed on the car’s surface after the entire car is finished. The basic process is the same. The process will also be similar for a clay towel or clay mitt.

First, wash your car. We highly encourage you to properly wash the car using a two bucket method making sure you have a clean surface and a dry car. We do not encourage you to take your vehicle through the car wash because car washes can create scratches in a car’s finish. PRO TIP: Never take your car through an automatic car wash and never use a clay bar on a dirty vehicle.

Auto detailers and the auto industry alike suggest that after you have clean car you liberally spray lubricant before clay barring. Never do the entire vehicle at once. always work one panel at a time.

After you spray on the lubricant make a few passes and lightly rub with the clay bar — never use a circular motion. You will know a panel is ready when the painted surfaces do not feel rough and start to feel like a smooth surface. That is your indication that your car’s paint is good. Once clay barred take a clean microfiber towel and gently wipe off any clay residue and excess lubricant.

New Clay Bar

a new clay bar may last for three or four vehicles. Break the detailing clay bar apart and make a pall, then flatten it out. We generally suggest you start with a fine grade clay bar so you do not hurt the car paint. While traditional clay bars are great, starting with fine grade bars will make sure you do not damage the car’s paint finish. Once you have mastered the fine grade bar you can move up to a medium grade clay.

Auto detailing clay bar, a clay kit, new clay bar and paint sealants can be purchased at auto parts stores. That said we have seen people ruin brand new cars and destroy the paint surface after being advised to use circular shape motions, or the wrong product. Therefore we suggest you buy online.

If you don’t like using a clay bar, Auto Detailing 360 would be happy to detail your vehicle for you. We can also protect it with the ION series of ceramic coatings from Ceramic Coatings.

Popular Cars, Trucks and SUVs

At Auto Detailing 360 we work on all cars and trucks all the time. From Porsche to Kia and from Corvette to Toyota. We just love cars. Starting in early 2023 we are creating project profiles of the vehicles we work on.