How to Use a Clay Bar

Achieve silky smooth paint with a clay bar

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Detailing clay bar guide

Claying or clay bar treatment as its sometimes referred to seems to most to be an advanced detailing treatment as its not a common stage of most peoples general car cleaning or car care routine, but its not supposed to be. You don’t actually need to clay your car that often, usually just prior to a good car polish and sealant treatment, maybe as a yearly treat or some people like to do so quarterly. What claying will do is remove any bonded contaminates on top of the paintworks surface that the car wash stage alone doesn’t. An Auto Finesse detailing and car care clay bar removes these contaminants by “shaving” them from the surface, these contaminants the likes of tree sap, tar, iron and other industrial fallout are some of the more common you will find that bond them selfs to your vehicles paintwork over time, leaving your paintwork feeling rough to the touch. They can not only rob your paintwork of clarity and luster, but they can also effect how a car wax or paint sealant will work when applied to the paintwork, as well as in some cases attacking and damaging the finish over time.

What you’ll need

A clay bar

A detailing clay bar, these come in many different types and grades, if you’re new to claying you ideally want to start off by choosing a fine or possibly a medium clay bar, but we would’t recommend aggressive for somebody new to the clay bar process.

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Some clay bar lube

Lube, you can buy dedicated clay bar lubricants and some water based detail sprays (such as our Finale) can be successfully used as a clay bar lubricants also, and if you don’t have any of these available you can use a dash of car shampoo and fresh water mixed in a spray bottle.

A couple of microfiber towels, we find it best to dry as you go.

How to use a detailing clay bar

Firstly you must ensure the car has been washed throughly, if this is going to be your first time claying we would suggest you also fully dry the car at this stage too, if you need more information on how to correctly wash you vehicle be sure to read our car wash detailing guide.

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Firstly break off a manageable size piece from your detailing clay bar and work it in your hands untill its pliable, now flatten this into a small disk shape.

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how to use a clay bar

Work in small sections to begin with, around 1ft x 1ft, spraying your clay bar lube liberally onto the surface as you go, now glide your clay bar across the paintwork and you will feel it working, don’t apply pressure, let the detailing clay bar do the work for you. You’ll gradually feel the surface begin to get smoother as you work.

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Once you feel you have completed this (around 4-6 passes should be sufficient) fold the clay bar contaminated side inwards together, to reveal two more clean sides.

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Repeat the process again on the same area till you stop getting any transfer from that section, dry and repeat this process across the entire car.

The best practise in our opinion is to begin at the top and work your way down towards the bottom of the car. If at any stage you drop your clay bar or a piece of it on the ground, discard immediately.

Once completed we always recommend that you use a car polish and protect your vehicle. This could be with either a paint sealant or high quality carnauba wax.

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