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To continue our short guide to detailing, today, we will discuss the wonderful world of clay. If you haven’t heard of claying a car (aka clay bar treatment), it is a process in which you remove embedded contaminants from your car’s clear coat. It is one of the most widely used car care practices and for several good reasons. This article will walk you through why we clay, and when to clay your car.

What is claying your car?

So maybe you heard your neighbor talk about how he or she clayed their car this weekend. To those not much familiar with claying, it may sound like some art piece. Of course, claying your car is a beneficial detailing process. Unlike waxing or protecting your finish, clay “fixes” a contaminated surface. Often you will feel tiny bumps in your paint or notice that the smoothness isn’t there. If this is the case, it is a sign that you may need to clay your car. When you do clay eventually, the embedded contaminants causing the small imperfections in your finish are picked up by the clay bar and eliminated forever.

When to clay your car

Unlike polishing or a simple car wash, the naked eye cannot identify when a car needs to be clayed. When to clay is a debatable topic with no specific answer, and there are plenty of things to consider. First off, if you are going to polish you car, you should always clay first. If the clay is not used before polishing, those embedded contaminants will be dragged across the surface by a polishing pad or a buffer – leaving you with untidy marks. Secondly, if your paint looks dull, you can do a simple test to see if you need to clay, then polish, then wax. Note that though claying will make your car’s surface smoother by removing the debris, the entire process is not done until you have finished with a protective sealant. You can test if you need to clay your car by doing the plastic baggie test.

The Plastic Baggie Test: If you place your hand in a sandwich bag and lightly glide it across the surface, you will be able to feel every last imperfection. You will feel bumps not visible to the human eye, and these are telling you it’s time to clay. The test should not take any longer than five minutes and can be done during the clay process.

Got a question about claying? We can help. Contact us today, and we will be glad to answer your queries.

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