Clay Bars are essential tools when it comes to detailing cars.  It is most often seen in professional car detailing environments, but it is useful when detailing a vehicle at home as well. Find out what a clay bar is, the time to use it, and how to use it.

The Purpose of Clay in Detailing

Claying a vehicle happens when a car has contaminants on the surface of the car that land there from being blown in the air. They land on the surface of the car and actually have the potential to damage a car's finish. Clay bars remove these contaminants by pulling them up into the clay without damaging the finish. In fact, it leaves the finish shinier and smoother than before.

Clay opens the pores in the clear coat and allows wax and paint to soak in. One way to clay the car involves applying a detailing spray before using the clay to avoid scratching it. The second way to apply is right after a car receives a fresh coat of paint. Apply the clay while the paint is still somewhat wet to remove any contaminants.

When to Clay

Claying occurs during an exterior detailing and is done before polishing the exterior. After the car undergoes a cleaning, check the exterior to see if a claying is necessary. It is no means a daily part of car maintenance. Checking at regular intervals ensures that the car exterior stays in good condition. If the vehicle undergoes cleaning, polishing, and waxing regularly, claying is a step to skip because it's not necessary.

Test your vehicle's paint by putting a plastic bag on your hand and running it over the surface of the car. A gritty or rough surface indicates contaminated paint in need of clay.

What to Know About Clay

Clay comes in three different grades; fine, medium, and heavy. The grade of clay used depends on the type of paint used on the car and the level of contamination on the surface.

Rail dust or fresh tar on the car necessitates only a light clay. In situations where contamination has built upon the surface, like tree sap, a heavier clay takes care of the task at hand faster. It needs a polish immediately after, however, to smooth out the paint.

How to Apply Clay

Prior to claying the car, ensure that it is washed and dried sufficiently. This is all that is required for the claying process. Once complete, take the clay bar and cut it up into 3 or 4 equal pieces. Flatten one piece out until it is able to be held by three of your fingers. Work the clay across the vehicle in small sections, covering it in clay lube first and following it with the clay itself.

Rub the clay back and forth in one direction and don't use a lot of pressure. The clay will make a sound when it comes into contact with the surface. Be sure to use a fresh side of the clay always by folding it more than once, kneading it, and flattening it. Use a microfiber towel and wipe each section as you go. A lubricant gets rid of any residue. When you're finished, run your fingers over the paint and if it's not smooth, apply clay to the affected areas again.

Claying a car brings back the shine to the car not seen elsewhere.  Do your research prior to buying clay and using it on the car. Don't miss our inventory of clay bars and accessories designed to bring the best out in your cars.

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