Updated: Feb 9
A lot of our clients here at SpeeDetail Mobile Auto Detailing are aware that a clay bar treatment is good for your car's paint. What they usually don't know is, "What does a clay bar do?" As you know, we love to educate and want to fill that information gap. The clay bar is another part of the decontamination process, which is vital in exterior car detailing. This step follows the decontamination wash and removes debris that is still stuck in the paint.
On a microscopic level, the paint on your car is porous. Gradually, these pores become gunked up, just like the pores on your skin. For this reason, we explain this process to our clients as 'exfoliating the paint.' It's a simple concept and everyone knows what it means. The main culprits of clogging these pores are; paint overspray from body shops, brake dust from your car and others on the road, rail dust from trains and even pollution from living close to plants and factories. These contaminants cannot be removed from regular washing. Take a look at the graphic below to get a clear idea of what a clay bar treatment does.
In our professional opinion, claying your car is one of a few x-factors in making your car shiny and standing out from the crowd. It is also a necessity to ensuring any type of paint protection lasts as long as it should. If you haven't used a clay bar on your car in a while, the paint will feel a little unsmooth and gritty when you rub your fingers across it, even after washing. After claying, the paint will be extremely smooth and even squeaky. Of course, this is what we want. To make detecting contaminants easier, grab a sandwich bag and put it over your hand before rubbing the car's paint. This will magnify the effect, making it easier to feel where the worst contamination is.
Have you asked yourself, "How to clay bar my car?" Or "Should I clay bar my car?" You can clay your car on your own, but use caution. There are many different types of clay bars. Some are great and some are cheap. Some are fine grade clay, some are heavy grade clay. Clay bars, like most things, will mar the surface of your paint. Either more or less, depending on how careful/experienced you are. We recommend this only 3-4 times per year. This is because of the marring it can do to your paint and it just isn't beneficial on a monthly basis.
Don't try to use a clay bar on dry paint, it will make for a long day and likely a call to your local car detailer. As with regular dirt, most of the contamination will be on the lower panels of the car because they are closer to the road and your wheels. The back end also is a hot spot due to the aerodynamics of most vehicles. You also must make sure the paint and clay bar are thoroughly lubricated. We use a 'soapier than normal' wash solution as our clay lube to ensure the least amount of friction as possible. One last pointer- you don't need to put a lot of pressure on the car when claying. This will lead to more severe marring and won't do any better of a job removing contaminants from the paint.
Check out the quick demonstration below and watch us clay bar part of this hood. It's sped up to save you time ;) It wasn't very dirty, but note the lubrication and how we didn't apply pressure to the hood.
We want to thank you for taking the time to read another of our car detailing posts. Hopefully, many of you found this helpful. If you need help on properly giving your car a clay bar treatment, reach out to us! You can also schedule a free vehicle inspection at www.speedetailoh.com/booknow.
Thanks for your amazing support!
Your SpeeDetail Team
Butler & Warren Counties