How To Use a Clay Bar on Cars For Students of Auto Detailing Courses

Vehicles kept outside are consistently exposed to environmental toxins and weather contaminants. Over time, these vehicles accumulate layers of dirt including tar, brake dust, dead bugs, and tree sap. Particles of dirt may settle into the exterior of the car, damaging paint jobs and preventing wax or polish from creating a clear shine. 

That’s why professionals in auto detailing are highly valued for their skills in transforming the condition of a car. Clay bars are a common method of detailing that work by lifting harsh contaminants from the car’s surface. Alongside washing, polishing, and waxing, clay bars are a valuable tool to add to the car care routine. 

Read on for a guide on how to effectively use a clay bar. 

When to Use a Clay Bar 

As those in auto detailing courses know, cars are often covered in layers of dirt that regular washing doesn’t remove. That’s where a clay bar comes in. Most cars can benefit from using a clay bar, even if they appear to be clean. Often, harmful contaminants may not be visible but can cause significant damage to the paintwork down the line. For that reason, it’s worth using a clay bar on a car before applying the first coat of wax. Beyond that, use a clay bar a few times a year before waxing. This will help to maintain the paintwork down the line. 

For professional auto detailers, there are a few indicators that a car may be in need of a clay bar. When sliding your hand along the surface, you might feel small bumps or grit, and the surface won’t feel as slippery. If a car is lacking a glossy finish or appears dull, it might also be time to use a clay bar. 

Professionals who work in auto detailing should use a clay bar to remove buildup of dirt

How to Clay Bar a Vehicle 

If you choose to work in auto detailing, you’ll need to know the proper method for using a clay bar on a vehicle. It’s important to prep for the process by washing and drying the car thoroughly to remove any grime. Once you’re ready to start, knead a portion of the clay in your hands to make it soft and malleable. Spray your clay lubricant on to the surface of the car until it is wet and slippery. Using the piece of clay, rub the panel in straight lines until it begins to glide easily along the surface. You should finish the process by buffing the clean surface with a fresh cotton cloth. The process can be repeated across the entire car, including the trim, glass windows, and mirrors. Since a clay bar removes the wax coating, it’s a good idea to apply a fresh coat of wax to the surface as soon as possible in order to protect the paintwork on the vehicle. 

Apply the clay bar in smooth strokes until it begins to glide across the surface

Things to Look Out for After Auto Detailing Courses

For professionals in auto detailing, there are a few things to note when offering a high standard of service. Synthetic polymer clay bars tend to be favoured over natural clay bars, as they are more durable, can be remoulded more times, and can be cleaned. Whichever clay you choose to work with, the surface should be spotless as this will reduce the chance of trapped dirt scratching the surface of the car. The most contaminated areas to watch for tend to be the roof, hood, and bumpers, so make sure to replace the clay more often when working on these surfaces. If you drop the clay, it’s generally advised to throw it away. By carefully following these tips, you can ensure that you’re providing the best possible service to your clients. 

Are you ready to start your auto detailing program?

Contact ATC Toronto for more information!


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