Detailing Defined – Clay Bar
If you have had a vehicle detailed or been to any detailer’s site, you have at least come across the words clay bar. Yet little explanation as to what this process actually does is given by most sites. That’s because in many cases, if a detailer does or doesn’t clay bar your vehicle it would not be noticeable to the naked eye. So why is that and what exactly does clay bar do?
Clay bar is a media that absorbs bound contamination from clear coat surfaces. Or in other words, it’s like a acne pore strip for your paint. Using a lubricant such as a quick detailer or pH neutral wash soap, detailers glide clay bar across the painted surfaces safely removing things like iron deposits, tree sap mist, industrial fallout, and more.
So if I can’t see the results, how would you know you need it?
The easiest way to know if you need clay bar, or if it was done with your service, is the plastic bag test. After you wash your vehicle, place your hand in a plastic sandwich bag and rub it across the painted surfaces of your vehicle. Does it feel rough or gritty? Well, then you need clay bar.
It’s not all about feel
Clay bar creates a smooth surface so sealants and waxes bond more evenly and therefore, last longer. A smooth surface created by clay bar also makes for a better reflection and shine in your paintwork.
How often should I clay?
As needed is always the best answer. If you drive in major cities you will likely need to clay more often. But the plastic bag test is always the best way to find out.
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