Clay bar treatment is a process of mechanical paint decontamination of vehicles. With time, contaminants such as tree sap, nug splatters, industrial fallout, and road grime bond to the car’s paint, and it’s hard to remove them with typical car wash methods.
That’s where the clay barring comes in. However, many people don’t know how often they should do clay bar treatment on their vehicle, and in today’s article, we’ll give you a thorough answer to that question.
Factors That Affect Clay Bar Frequency
There are a few key factors that can affect how often you should do a clay bar treatment on your vehicle:
- Overall condition of the car’s paint. If the car’s paint is in good condition and has a smooth finish, you won’t need to clay bar the car so often.
- The environment in which the car is driven. If you live in an area with a lot of pollution, dust, or other contaminants, you’ll probably have to clay bar your car more often.
- How well you take care of your vehicle. If you often detail your car and apply high-quality paint protection such as ceramic coatings, you won’t need to clay bar your vehicle so often because all the contaminants won’t be able to bond to the surface of your car.
Of course, the way you take care of your vehicle is the most important factor, and that’s why we always recommend you pay attention to your car when detailing and always be thorough during the process.
How Often To Clay Bar Your Vehicle? The Answer
As you can see above, there are several factors that affect the frequency of clay barring your car. Still, there are some general guidelines on how often you should do a clay bar treatment.
In general, it is recommended to clay bar your car once a year if you don’t use any form of paint protectant such as waxes, sealants, and ceramic coatings. With the use of paint protectants, you don’t have to clay bar your car so often, but we still recommend you do it once every two to three years.
If you’re unsure of how often to clay bar your car, you can always stop at some auto detailing shop and ask them for their opinion about the condition of your car’s paint. If they suggest you clay bar it, you should do it. And then, with time, you’ll get a better idea of how often you should clay bar your vehicle.
Tips For Effective Clay Barring
When you decide that the car paint condition requires clay bar treatment, you should follow these tips to get the best results:
- Make sure that the car is clean and dry. That’ll enable the clay bar to successfully remove all the contaminants from the paint.
- Use high-quality clay bar lubricants such as Nexgen Quick Detail Spray. Lubricants prevent the clay bar from sticking to the surface and will make it easier to glide over the surface.
- Break the clay bar into smaller pieces, and always use a small piece at a time. Also, fold it after each panel so you always work with a clean piece, which will prevent scratching.
- Don’t press the clay bar too hard. You only need light pressure and gentle back-and-forth motion. That will safely remove contaminants from the paint.
- After clay barring your car, don’t forget to do paint correction, especially if you used more aggressive types of the clay bar. If you don’t want to do paint correction, at least apply some wax or sealant to your car, which will protect the car’s finish.
When the clay bar starts to glide very smoothly, that’s a sign that the paint is now decontaminated and that it’s 100% clear from any bonded dirt particles. At first, you’ll feel how rough it goes, and as you glide, it’ll become smoother and smoother with each pass.
Don’t Forget To Polish Your Car Afterwards
While a clay bar helps to remove all the contaminants from the paint, even overspray, it leaves marring on the paint. Those are extremely tiny scratches that should be fixed by compounding and polishing your car.
And even though it’s not obligatory to polish your vehicle after clay bar treatment, we HIGHLY suggest you do it if you want the best shine for your car’s paint. That’s the only way you’ll get spotless results. And it’s even more important if you use a more aggressive type of clay bar.
Polishing after clay bar treatment is pretty simple since you’ll only have to do a 1-step polish to get rid of marring. So, pick a fine polish paste and pad, and lightly polish your car to remove any imperfections caused by the clay bar.
Alternative Options To Clay Barring
Another option for removing contaminants from the surface of a car is chemical paint decontamination. Chemical decontamination involves using specialized products, such as iron removers, tar removers, and wheel cleaners (only the ones that are safe to use on paint), to dissolve and remove contaminants from your car.
The advantage of using chemical paint decontamination products is that they can be more effective at removing certain types of contaminants, especially iron particles and tar deposits. Also, chemical paint decontamination is safer for the car’s finish, so you won’t have to polish your car afterward.
We suggest you do chemical paint decontamination once to twice a year, and that alone will extend the period your car’s paint can go without clay barring it.
To conclude, clay bar treatment is an important step in the car detailing process that helps to remove contaminants. As you can see, the frequency of clay bar treatments depends on a variety of factors and shouldn’t be done if not necessary.
Just make sure to wash and detail your vehicle regularly, and you won’t have to worry about clay barring your car so often. We hope this article gave you a thorough enough answer. Wish you happy detailing 🙂