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Should You Clay Bar A New Car?

The excitement of buying a brand-new car can sometimes overwhelm you. There are important things that you need to do after getting your new car, like treating it with a clay bar. You might have some misgivings about this process, so we asked the professionals if it's necessary.

According to most automobile experts, treating a brand new car to a clay bar is a safety precaution. Cars can accumulate dust, dirt, and other contaminants during shipping. Not all car dealers properly prepare them for this scenario so it's best to take extra care of your brand new car.

You might be wondering what a clay bar does, and if it is really necessary. In this article, we will be discussing these questions and more, so continue reading.

A worker polishing a brand new can with clay bar, Should You Clay Bar A New Car?

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Clay Bar Treatment: Is It Necessary?

As we mentioned earlier, most experts recommend that you clay bar a brand new car. This is to prevent any damage to your car's surface.

Using clay bar to cleaning the car surface

Contaminants like dust and dirt are just some examples of what could cling to the surface of your car during transport. And simply using a piece of cloth to wipe them away would do little to remove them. All of those contaminants will cling to a clay bar, thereby removing them with ease.

However, there are some important things you should know when using a clay bar.  To find out more, continue reading.

What Is A Clay Bar?

Blue clay bar

Contrary to its name, a clay bar isn't made of clay. Instead, a type of compound resin is what makes up a clay bar. The process of creating a clay bar can either be natural or synthetic.

Clay bars are more like plastic than clay. Companies manufacture them into small bars before shipping them out to the public.

Check out this clay bar on Amazon.

How Does A Clay Bar Work?

Clay bars work by attracting or lifting the contaminants off from the surface of the vehicle. In doing so, they free the surface of your car from dirt, dust, and other chemical compounds that you might not be aware of.

Do take note that clay bars are like sandpaper, which has an abrasive quality to it. However, this quality is very light in comparison. That's why it's important to use a lubricant before using a clay bar on your car's surface.

The main purpose of a clay bar is to not only protect your car's paint from scratches but to prevent pits from forming on the surface. Additionally, applying a clay bar treatment on your car's surface before waxing or sealant installation is necessary. This is to give a smoother surface and a better overall result, leading to the longer life of your car's outer coating.

What To Use As A Clay Bar Lubricant?

Polishing car surface with clay bar and clay lubricant

As stated earlier, never use a clay bar without any lubricant as the light abrasive nature of it can damage your car's paint instead of helping it. There are plenty of commercial lubricants for you to buy at your local auto shop or even online.

If you don't fancy spending money just to buy a lubricant, you can make one at home. Simply fill a bucket with water and add some soup to it. Keeping the water as soapy as possible is the key to allowing the clay bar to glide on the surface of your car.

Check this clay bar lubricant on Amazon.

Are Clay Bars Safe To Use?

Generally, they are safe and easy to use. The only time they are not safe to use is when you apply them on your car without a proper coating of lubricant.

As we mentioned earlier, clay bars are slightly abrasive so the lubricant is there to help it glide over your car's surface, preventing damage to the paint job. Also, it's important to note that clay bars are available with different degrees of abrasiveness.

Clay bars with a higher abrasive quality are better at removing contaminants. However, they are more likely to mar the surface of your car. Polishing the surface lightly will help resolve this issue.

Can Clay Bars Work On Other Types Of Surfaces?

Clay bars work on other surfaces as well, such as glass or plastic. Just make sure to check the abrasive quality of the clay bar you're using.

Using a clay bar with high abrasiveness would leave marks and a light hazing on these surfaces. Only do so if you plan on polishing these surfaces afterward.

When To Use A Clay Bar On A Car?

Hand polishing by clay bar and clay lubricant for remove dirt on car surface

The best way to find out if you need to use a clay bar on your car is by dragging your finger over the surface. Finding any coarseness or bumpiness on the surface is the best indication that your car requires a clay bar treatment.

Simply washing it won't remove those bonded particles off your car, so it's best to use a clay bar in that scenario.

Additionally, you should use a clay bar before waxing or applying a sealant. As mentioned earlier, this is not only to prepare your car but to give you a more satisfying experience. Applying these products to a smooth surface created by using a clay bar treatment will provide you with far greater ease and comfort.

How Often To Clay Bar A Car?

If your car is well-kept and maintained, once or twice a year should be enough when it comes to applying a clay bar treatment. Make sure that your car's surface has gone through the necessary steps after the first clay bar treatment.

However, this isn't the case for everyone. If you want to know how often your car needs a clay bar treatment, feel the surface carefully. Any bumps or rough patches are a signal for you that it's time to apply a clay bar.

Are There Any Differences Between Clay Bars?

The main difference between clay bars is the quality of their abrasiveness. When it comes to identifying them, there are only three that you need to remember and these are high grade, medium grade, and fine grade.

When it comes to dealing with contaminants that have deeply bonded and embedded themselves into the surface of your car, using a high-grade clay bar works best. Take note that using these can leave behind a mark or hazing on your car's surface. That's why it's best to polish the affected area immediately afterward.

For contaminants that are stubborn and sticking close to the surface but not embedded into it, a medium-grade clay bar should suffice. This too would also leave hazing on your car's surface but unlike a heavy-grade clay bar, a light polish is all that you would need.

Last but not least, using a fine-grade clay bar on a car with contaminants just on the top surface works best. This clay bar is also the cheapest one among the three. Because it has the lowest abrasive quality, it won't harm the car's surface, unlike the other two.

What Alternatives Are There To Clay Bars?

When it comes to removing contaminants from the surface of your car, clay bars are the first choice that a lot of people recommend. This speaks a lot about the product's longevity and efficiency.

However, they are not the only ones in the market that can remove contaminants from your car's surface. Products with the same quality as clay bars like wash mitts and pads are growing rapidly on the market. Their selling point is the fact that they are reusable, unlike clay bars.

Yellow sponges and blue mitts for washing and microfiber fabric with cleaner cloth on white car

Yellow, green sponges and blue mitts for washing and microfiber fabric with cleaner cloth on white car

What separates them from each other is the price. Some car owners prefer buying a clay bar over other alternatives because of how cheap they are, despite the one-time use. Others opt for a more permanent and longer solution, even though they come at a higher price tag.

Check these wash mitts on Amazon.

A wash pad is one of various alternatives to a clay bar.

Check out this wash pad on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Should you clay bar a new car? The answer is a definitive yes. A car's surface can easily accumulate contaminants due to transport, and an automobile dealer might not necessarily do the best job of keeping it clean. So it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your brand-new car.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider checking out the ones linked below. They talk more about the clay bar treatment versus other techniques, like a cleaner war or polish. Additionally, they address issues like how often you should wax a car.

Cleaner Wax Vs Polish Vs Clay Bar: Which Is Best For Your Car?

How Often Should You Wax Your Car?