After a period, contaminants will damage your car surface. Washing will not work effectively in eliminating this buildup. You may try to rub and polish the surface. However, this will possibly scratch the finish of the car. This is why clay bar will save your day. Clay Bar is non-abrasive. Therefore, it will not damage your car. This is an effective way to return that polish finish to your car.
1. What is clay bar?
A clay bar is just a bar of clay. It is available in various sizes, shapes, and colors. A clay bar can eliminate oxidation that builds up on the surface of your car.
Dust, industrial fallout or insect residue usually contains harmful elements. This is why your car’s paint coat will get damaged over a period. A clay bar will eliminate these harmful contaminants and give your car’s paint a more polish and vibrant look.
Normally, only professional mechanics use clay bar since there are important safety rules to follow. However, it is quite easy to use, and you can try to do it yourself. Just remember to follow all needed instructions and you will be just fine.
If you want to know more about this magical tool, the section below will give you more detailed information about it.
2. Why use clay bar?
What if you left a piece of metal outside and ignored it for a period, well, it is obviously that the metal piece will become rusted. Just like that piece of metal, your car will also get rust spots over time if you do not treat it well.
All harmful things such as brake dust, industrial fallout, tar or insect residue will damage the car surface after a period. These contaminants can penetrate the clear coat and create rush spots on the surface of your car. This is why you need to use clay bar regularly to eliminate those harmful elements and protect the surface. If you have a white car, then, unfortunately, your car is much easier to get rusted.
You may try to wash the car to remove these contaminants. However, it is not effective. Running your car through an automatic car wash system still, cannot eliminate everything. The only effective way to get your polish car back is playing.
What you will do is rubbing the clay bar across the surface of the car. The bar will eventually pick up every metal particles or contaminants without leaving any scratches on the surface. Your car will look like new with a polish finish.
Now you have known why using clay is more effective. The next thing to know is how to use it. Using a clay bar is easy. However, there are few things you need to know to use this magical invention properly. The next section will give you just enough information.
3. How to use clay bar properly?
Initially, of course, what you will need is some clay. Moreover, you also need clay lubricant (or clay lube) to prevent the clay from smearing and leaving residue on the car’s surface. Wash and dry your car to remove any wax. Then take the clay out and knead it as well as form it into a bar shape.
Also, find clay bar will be less likely to mar the surface of your car. On the other hand, a medium clay bar will have more chance of marring the surface. However, if you have a car that has an enormous amount of contaminants, this type or clay bar is more suitable to use. You should polish your car after claying using the medium bar for the best result.
Moreover, you can use clay lube for more safety in this case. Clay lube will create some degree of lubrication when playing on paint surface and glass. It will add more safety and efficiency when using the clay bar.
You can save money by mixing a small amount of clay lube, car washing detergent, and water into a spray bottle. However, you should not use dishwashing detergent since it can damage the clay bar. You can still choose a high-quality clay lubricant for more efficiency.
After having all needed materials, cut the bar into equal pieces. Using a big piece is not a wise choice since you cannot use a clay bar again if you already dropped it on the ground. By cutting the bar, you can have backup pieces to use if any problems happen.
The next thing to do is to flatten the bar with your fingers. To prevent the lubricant from drying out, you should do this step in the shade. Spay the lubricant evenly all over the surface. By spraying it evenly, the clay can work more efficiently.
After that, you need to glide the clay across the surface with light pressure. You should only glide in one direction. If you are doing it right, you can feel the clay picking up and eliminate the contaminants on the surface. Avoid pressing too hard or you can mar the surface.
If the clay moves more easily and smoothly than before, it means that the clay picked up every contaminant on the surface. If after a few passes, the clay will move roughly, it means that you need more lubricant for it to move more easily.
Furthermore, always remember to flip the side of the clay. A fresh side of clay will pick up contaminants more efficiently. You can also fold the clay, knead it or form it any way you want to have a clean piece of clay. Also, some hard and heavy pieces of debris can get stuck into the clay and scratch the paint. That is why you always need to pay attention to the clay.
The area that is usually the dirtiest part is the area behind the wheels. You can use a clay bar to clean this area. Also, you can use the clay bar to clean the window glasses or even the wheels.
To know whether the finish is clean or not, you can use your finger to check it. If it feels smooth and nice, the surface is clean enough. Another method to check is by dragging a piece of cellophane across the surface. If the cellophane grabs on the surface, it means that you need to clean it a bit more. If it glides smoothly, then the surface is nice and clean.
The clay is usually dirty after every claying process. If it is so bad, you can throw it away. If it is not so bad and you still want to use it again, then you can spray the clay lube on the piece of clay and put it in a tight zip-lock bag. This will prevent the clay from drying out.
The claying process takes from about 30 minutes to more than an hour. Of course, if you are not used to claying, the process will last longer.
So what should you do after the claying is over? Well, there are a few options for you to choose. You can wash your car again to eliminate any left debris or residue of the clay lubricant. A quick wash is just enough.
For polishing, you can either use a machine or do it by hand. A machine will give you a nicer look. However, a product such as Line Prime Lite will give the paint just a sufficient amount of shine that it needed.
The final step is to apply wax or sealant to give the surface a complete polish look. At this point, your car is clean, look amazing and have a polish finish. As you can see, claying is not that difficult. All you need to do is follow some simple instructions, and you are good to go.
Does my car need claying even when it is brand new?
You may surprise but yes, you do need to clay your car even when it is new. Before reaching your hand, your car had gone through different lots and docks. That is why they can have industrial fallout all over the surface. You can even find rail dust on new cars as well. Therefore, you should clay your car, even when it is new, to eliminate all contaminants.
How often should I use a clay bar?
Well, it depends on a lot of factors such as the weather, the area you live and so on. However, you should clay your car at least two times per year. You can clay it after the winter and at the end of the fall. If your area is quite polluted and your car is often exposed to dust and industrial fallout, then obviously, you should clay your car more often. On the other hand, if you already applied wax and sealant to protect your car, you may not need to clay the car often.
How to know whether the car needs claying?
You can use your finger to check the surface of the car. If it feels rough, it probably means that it is time to clay your car. Another method to check is by using a plastic bag. This method is quite simple. Just put your hand into the plastic bag and glide all over the surface with your hand. If anything sticks on the bag, it is time to use clay.
In conclusion, claying is an effective way to eliminate contaminants that have been building up on the surface of your car. It will return a polish finish to your car without scratching or marring the paint surface. Moreover, clay bar is easy to use, and you can even do it by yourself. However, you need to follow the instructions to do it properly. After reading this article, hopefully, you had enough information about what is clay bar as well as how it works. Just follow the provided instructions and you will always have a clean car.