People who own a hermetically sealed Porsche 911 Rs with 35 miles on the clock probably bang on about two things; their return on investment and keeping their car in pristine condition. One of the ways in which they do this may be clay barring their car, a process that removes contaminants from the paint to give a smooth finish.
Whether you drive a classic Jaguar XK120 and spend hours cleaning the centre console with detailing brushes or simply want to inject some pizazz into your car, good treatment with a clay bar will give immediate and noticeable results.
A clay bar works by removing contaminants from your car's paint that are usually missed during regular washing. Clay bars will remove metal particulates, tree sap, overspray and tar from your car, injecting shine and glossiness.
We've broken down what you'll need to properly clay bar your car, from full kits for starters to replacement clay bars and even a cheater's option.
Full clay bar kits
The best clay bar kit for beginners
If this is your first time trying clay barring and your current arsenal for car cleaning is
|• Everything you could need to get started||• Pricy|
|• Top-quality||• Bottle of polish is on the smaller side|
Great quality clay bar kit
If you're already a bit of an amateur detailer, but want to take it to the next level with a clay
|• Great quality||• You’ll need your own microfibre towel|
|• Will do three clay barrings per set|
Top quality clay bar
|• Great value and quality||• You only need this much clay if you're clay barring a lot|
Clay is often the first thing to need replacing in a clay bar kit. If you're using Megauir's clay
|•Works well with other Meguiar's products||•Expensive for one bar|
Trying to clay bar but don't want to fork out for a premium brand? In that case, this clay bar
|•Good value option||•You'll still need the other equipment (lube and a microfibre cloth)|
An ergonomic solution
Designed to last five times longer than a normal clay bar, the G3 clay mitt works like a normal
|• Ergonomic mitt design will make application easier than a regular clay||• Clay is reported to smear occasionally|
Proper lubrication is essential to avoid your clay from streaking. Dodo Juice clay lube is
|• Great car lube||• Not essential|
Dry it properly
No matter what you're doing to your car, a good selection of microfibre cloths will be invaluable.
|• Finish the job properly||• One of the more expensive microfibre towels|
The cheater's option
The cheater's option
Can't be bothered or don't have the time to clay bar your car? Autoglym Magma will give you
|• Does the job quickly||• Not as effective as a proper clay barring|
Clay bar FAQs:
What should I do before clay barring?
Detailers recommend properly washing your car before going over it with a clay bar. Give it a once over with some snow foam then a shampoo to dislodge the larger pieces of dirt and then, once it's dried, remove the embedded dirt with the clay bar.
How to use a clay bar:
- Wash your car as normal (use a good car shampoo to get better results) and make sure your bodywork is still damp, don't dry it too much.
- Squirt some lubricant or detailing spray onto your body panels and add a little to your clay bar.
- Run the clay bar over the surface to remove contaminants, regularly folding it over so it remains clean.
- Using a microfibre cloth, dry the panel.
- Repeat as much as you want, you'll be looking for a surface as smooth as glass.
Do I need lubricant?
Technically you don't need to use lubricant, but it'll make your life a lot easier. It won't be as disastrous as trying to run an engine without lubricant but it will give you more of a work out and it won't be easy at all.
When do I replace my clay bar?
It is fairly obvious when you'll be needing a new clay bar because it'll start disintegrating in your hand.
The only other occasion you should replace one is if you drop it on the ground; it'll be too filthy to rub all over your shiny paintwork after this.
How often should I clay bar my car?
It may be tempting to grab the clay bar every time you wash your car considering the fact you'll be replacing it every six months but hold fire. Most detailers only recommend clay barring your car if you're intending to polish it because of the tiny scratches (called marring) that a clay bar introduces to your car's paintwork. These scratches aren't bad in any way (they make polishing easier) but you really should be polishing your car after a session with a clay bar.