How Often Should You Clay Bar Your Car?


Have you ever run your fingers over the paint of a freshly washed vehicle? If that’s a yes, you will agree with me that it feels smooth and glass-like.

But if you run your fingers over the paint and find that you can feel small bumps and gritty bits, then you may want to consider using a clay bar to clean your vehicle. In this post, we shall talk discuss matters revolving around automotive clay bars.

How often should you clay bar your car? In case you have been pondering over this question, then you will find the answer right here in this post.

Related: Top 13: What Are The Best Car Cleaning Products

Our Favorite Clay Bars For Your Car

1.Mothers® Clay Bar KitCheck Price
2.Chemical Guys Clay LuberCheck Price
3.Mother's Speed Clay 2.0Check Price
4.Meguiar’s Smooth Surface™ Clay KitCheck Price
5.Griot's Garage Paint Cleaning ClayCheck Price
6.Trinova Quick Cleaner Check Price
7.Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay SpecialCheck Price

When Should You Clay Bar Your Car?

Well, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Different factors will determine how often you clay bar your vehicle. Some of the factors include:

  • The location where you park or drive your car and what’s floating in the air.
  • How often you use your vehicle.

The environment where you pack your vehicle plays a major role when it comes to how often you need to clay it. If for instance, you park your vehicle just a few blocks away from a paint spraying garage, the chances are that the paint they use during their paint jobs will settle on your vehicle after being carried in the air.

Also, the number of trips you take in your vehicle can also determine how often you clay bar it. The trips expose your vehicle to all manners of assault from the external environment, ranging from airborne pollutants to thin films from your exhaust and airborne pollutants.

As a general rule of thumb, you should clay your vehicle twice in a year.

Related: How Often Should I Wax My Car? Old, New and In Between

What Is An Automotive Clay Bar?

Clay bar, initially reserved for professional detailers and car dealerships is resin compound engineered and used to remove contaminants from the external surface of a vehicle.

It can be used on surfaces such as fiberglass, glass, metal, and painted areas of the vehicle. A clay bar is elastic and can be smashed, flattened, rolled and stretched.

How Do I Us A Clay Bar On My Car?

Follow the simple steps outlined here:

1. Wash and dry your vehicle.

2. Break off a considerable piece of clay and mold it until it becomes flexible.

3. Now flatten the clay to a disc shape.

4. Working in small sections (two square feet), spray the lube over the clay bar and your working area.

5. After every square foot is covered in clay lubricant, glide the clay bar over your working area (left to right or up and down).

6. Continue with the process until the clay bar glides smoothly or you no longer feel rough patches on the paint.

7. Continue step 4-6 until the whole vehicle is properly clayed.

Here is a illustrating the steps.


  • Do not use soapy water as a substitute to clay lubricant as it will prematurely degrade the clay bar.
  • Remodel your piece of clay after each section. If the piece of clay has been overused, break off a fresh piece of clay.
  • Do not use too much downward force to clean the paint.

Related: How Often Should You Wash Your Car? (Winter, Summer, Spring?)

You will find three different grades of clay in the market. This includes fine, medium and heavy clay. If you are unsure of the grade to use, you can begin with a fine clay bar and work up through the grades if necessary.

A good clay bar and a designated clay lube are important when it comes to the safe removal of contaminants. A microfiber towel is also useful as it helps in cleaning excess residue.

Over time, your vehicle accumulates contaminants such as brake dust, paint overspray, rail dust, industrial fallout just to name a few. But even with regular washing, it is impossible to remove all of the contaminants from your vehicle’s paint. You need a clay bar to decontaminate the car paint.

I believe that the commonly asked question “how often should you clay bar your car?” has been answered in this post. Feel free to leave your comments or make suggestions.

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