In our first post we spoke about oxidation and how not all polishing is created equal. In this segment of auto detailing definitions you need to know, we will discuss the often stated, rarely actually used “clay bar”.
Clay Bar is used to remove bound contamination from your paint. These are things that can’t be removed from regular washing. Iron deposits commonly referred to as rail dust leave little orange specs especially noticeable on white paint. Tree sap mist and other types of contamination are not as visually noticeable in most cases but can be felt easily by the human hand. But if you really want to know if your paint is smooth, put a plastic ziplock bag over your hand and rub it across your paint after it has been washed. Then you can really feel all the left overs still on your paint.
So Why Is Clay Bar Important?
The main point of clay bar is to create a smooth surface. You see, sealants and waxes bond better to a smooth surface than one that is rough and uneven. A smooth paint surface means better overall protection and longer lasting results without any weak spots.
When Is It Time To Clay Bar?
If your vehicle is new or never been clay barred, the answer is now. Even new vehicles build up contamination from traveling to dealerships and from the manufacturing process itself.
For those who have had the process done in the past, it really comes down to an as needed time frame however, I strongly recommend you have the vehicle clay barred every time you have a full detail done on the vehicle. Then use Express services to maintain and strengthen your protection in between.
Remember that clay barring is not always noticeable to the naked eye. The plastic bag test is a great way to make sure your detailer is providing you with service and not just jargon.