Have you heard of clay bar detailing?
Chances are the answer is “no” – unless you’ve gotten professional auto detailing done before.
But now that you’re thinking about it…
What is Clay Bar Detailing?
Clay bar detailing is when you use an engineered elastic clay compound to remove particles from your car’s surface that a thorough car wash could never get. This includes:
- Brake dust
- Metal dust
- Industrial pollution
- Road grit
Everywhere you go, your car is being pelted with miniscule particles that bond to its surface.
They can work their way down through the clear protective coat, through your car paint, and all the way down to the metal frame.
You’ll know you have a lot of particle buildup if you run your fingers along the paint after you wash your car.
Does it feel bumpy?
You’ve got particle buildup. But this won’t be solved with a simple wash. You need clay bar detailing.
How Does It Work?
Clay bar detailing takes place after a wash and dry, but before a polish.
Using a clay bar is pretty simple. We just need 3 things:
- A detailing spray or clay bar lubricant
- The clay bar
- A microfibre cloth
First, we apply the detailing spray or clay lubricant to a small area of your car. This is important: without some sort of lubricant, the clay could damage your car’s paint.
Then we slowly glide the clay along the body of your car. It’ll grab the surface, and pick up the particulates that bonded to the paint and frame.
Think of it a bit like Play-Doh. It moves and stretches in a similar way, and picks up dirt and particles – just like Play-Doh does.
When the clay stops gripping the surface and glides smoothly, we’ve gotten all the particulates from that area. We’ll wipe it down to remove any lingering residue, and do a touch-test. The paint should be smooth – no bumps.
The touch test should be done with your hand inside a plastic sandwich bag. This will help amplify the texture of embedded dirt on your car paint finish, and keep any oils from your hand from getting on the paint job.
We repeat this process until we’ve finished your entire car. We then follow up with a hand-wax and machine buff to get you that new-car shine.
Clay Bar Detailing vs. Clay Towel/Mitt
Whether you’re opting for traditional clay bars or a clay mitt (or other clay bar alternatives), the process is pretty much the same.
Any clay bar treatment will leave your vehicle with a clean surface, free of brake dust, rail dust, or other industrial fallout and surface contamination.
The upsides to clay mitts are that they are usually far longer lasting than a clay bar, and you can do the entire vehicle much quicker than if you use a clay bar.
The downside is that it might be harder to tell if your car is fully rid of surface contaminants.
The dirty clay is what lets you know it’s working, and with clay mitts or towels, you’ll have to do the plastic bag test (see more on that below) over and over again until you know you have a contamination-free finish.
Can Clay Bars Fix Existing Paint Damage?
There’s a common misconception that clay bars will also remove scratches and swirls from the paint.
This is not true.
A clay bar removes bonded particles to prevent future damage, like paint swirls, but it cannot fix existing damage.
If you want to protect your car’s paint from damage, you may want to consider paint protection options like paint protection film or ceramic coating.
Any Cons of Using a Clay Bar?
Using an auto detailing clay bar is a great way to keep your car’s surface completely clean, but like any detailing method, it must be done properly in order to protect your car.
If you drop the clay bar on the ground, it should be immediately discarded as it will have picked up any loose debris on the ground.
Only use a new, clean clay bar, and lightly rub on the car surface rather than using lots of pressure. Let the detailing clay do its work.
You also need to ensure that you use enough spray lubricant to keep the surface damp at all times.
Wipe any excess away with a microfiber towel once your clay barring pass is finished.
So… Is it Worth It?
You may not be able to see these particles, but they’re constantly there, settling on the different layers of your car’s paint and paint sealants.
Over time, these particles could permanently damage your paint.
These particles also prevent wax and polish from working properly, which means you don’t get as clear a shine.
If you want to protect your paint job in the future and have your car look its best, clay bar detailing is absolutely worth it.
What Else is Included in a Bemac Detailing?
Clay bar detailing is only one part of a Bemac detailing. You’ll also get:
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s important that you’re detailing your car semi-monthly to maintain its condition.
Whether you want your car to look fresh for a special occasion, give someone a useful gift, or just want that new-car feel, a Bemac detailing will do the trick.