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All About Clay Bar: What It Is, How It Works, & When to Use It


Every day, and everywhere you go, your car is exposed to the elements and hit with tiny particles that bond to its surface. Over time, these particles can hurt your car’s paint — not to mention being an eyesore. The good news: A clay bar treatment can help you remove stubborn pollutants, protect your vehicle, and make it shine again.

But what exactly is a clay bar? We’ll walk you through the basics and when you should use a clay bar, as well as our professional process at Premier:

What It Is

A clay bar is a synthetic resin compound that removes contamination like tree sap, brake dust, industrial pollution, or road grit from your car’s surface. These pollutants can settle on your car and stubbornly stay there, even after several car washes and rounds of polishing. But clay bar detailing will lift those contaminants from your vehicle’s surface that a regular car wash won’t remove.

Clay bars are similar to Play-Doh or putty, but they’re more elastic and resilient for removing those harsh contaminants from your vehicle’s delicate surface. (And for the record, we don’t recommend trying to use your kid’s Play-Doh on your car!)

How It Works

Here are the steps your Premier team will follow to give you a safe, effective clay bar treatment and remove those stubborn pollutants: 

  1. First, we’ll wash and dry your car’s exterior. Then, we’ll take an automotive clay bar (making sure it doesn’t touch any dirty surfaces) and spray clay bar lubricant onto your car to help us smoothly glide the bar across and avoid damaging the paint.
  1. Next, we’ll gently move the clay bar across the surface of your vehicle in straight lines, from the top down, to lift any foreign bodies. The clay bar’s tacky nature will pick up these particles without putting them back on your car. We’ll keep checking to make sure that we’re using a fresh side of the clay and that we’re not going over your car’s surface with a rough (contaminated) piece that could scratch the paint.  
  1. Once the clay stops gripping the surface and starts gliding smoothly all over your car, that means we’ve removed all the residue from your vehicle. We’ll wipe down your paint with a microfiber cloth to remove any lingering particles, then double-check with a touch test to make sure we didn’t miss any bumps.
  1. Our team is highly trained to ensure they’re using the clay bar correctly, so you won’t have to worry about any surface damage. The bar will, however, remove any wax or other protective sealant from your vehicle because of the natural abrasion. So, we’ll wax and polish the exterior after using a clay bar to protect your car and restore its shine.

When to Use It

You should use a clay bar every six months, depending on how often you drive your vehicle. This clay bar treatment will always be part of your full and exterior details. So if you’re scheduling a Premier detail, you can rest easy knowing that we’ll use a clay bar on your car to get the gunk off!

If you’re not sure how long it’s been since your last clay bar treatment, you can try the plastic bag test at home:

  • Wash and dry your vehicle as you normally would. 
  • Find a new plastic bag and place it over your hand. 
  • Lightly rub your fingers over the paint’s clean surface.
  • If you feel a gritty, rough texture, there’s contamination leftover from the wash — and it’s time to call us for a detail and clay bar treatment!

We want you to be in awe when you pick up your vehicle.

When you trust our team to clean and protect your vehicle with a clay bar treatment, you can be confident that your car is in good hands. And we’re pretty sure you’ll be blown away by the final results!

a Premier customer amazed with his car care service

Premier’s mission is to create happiness through professional detailing, and our purpose is to exhibit a philosophy of servanthood! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or visit our website. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well!

Read more from our blog.

That's why, at Premier, you’ll get more than just exceptional service for your car.


You’ll drive away happy knowing you’re also valued and a huge part of supporting and celebrating others.

If you’re ready to restore, protect, or style your car—book an auto detailing service in Lafayette, Indiana or Kokomo, Indiana. Our professionally trained staff (and satisfaction guarantee) promise that you’ll be impressed with our attention to detail and blown away with the final results.

* There will be an additional charge of $50 for Iron Decontamination. If your vehicle has tar, overspray, or road paint on it, we will provide a custom quote for removal.

* Removing stains is an intricate service, and while we always try to do everything possible to remove stains, we cannot guarantee full stain removal. In the event a stain cannot be fully removed, we will try to attenuate it as much as possible.

* Headliners are extremely delicate. Excessive cleaning and wetting of the headliner can cause it to fail, so excessive soiling may not be able to be removed.

Pricing

Ceramic Wash, Clay, and Seal

* These prices are based on a vehicle in average condition. For a more accurate quote, pictures or a detailer’s estimate may be needed to see if your vehicle qualifies for this price.

Pricing

Full Detail

* These prices are based on a vehicle in average condition. For a more accurate quote, pictures or a detailer’s estimate may be needed to see if your vehicle qualifies for this price.

Pricing

Interior Detail

* These prices are based on a vehicle in average condition. For a more accurate quote, pictures or a detailer’s estimate may be needed to see if your vehicle qualifies for this price.

*The paint polish is not intended to remove any deep paint defects. It is only intended to enhance gloss and deep clean the paint in preparation for the coating application. Additional paint correction services can be quoted at an additional charge.

Because we value you and your vehicle as much as you do, we recommend following a maintenance protocol after the initial curing time of your ceramic coatings application.

This maintenance plan will keep your warranty intact and allow you to enjoy a smooth, glass-like finish for years to come.

A professional hand wash—with a specialized ceramic coatings approved cleaning agent—is recommended every week to every other week. As a ceramic coatings VIP, you'll receive a $20 discount on all hand washes.

Pricing: Call for Details

Why is ceramic coating the most elite paint protection product on the market?

Premier ceramic coating offers nano-ceramic compounds that provide the maximum level of slickness, protection, and durability.

A normal clear coat has hardness between 2H and 4H. However, ceramic coatings have a hardness above 9H. This shield is the hardest paint coating on the market today and prevents minor scratches to your clearcoat and acts as a sacrificial layer.

Think of ceramic coatings as an additional clear coat layer, only a lot harder. All of this allows for more peace of mind and a fuller enjoyment of your vehicle, even in harsh environments.

Surface Scratches

UV Protection

Glass-Finish

No-Bond Surface

Self-Cleaning

Permanent Protection

* We protect all plastics, vinyl, leather, Alcantara, carpet, and upholstery to help repel dirt, dust, and stains. We do not coat interior glass as it will cause fogging issues.

* A new tint can be applied to driver and passenger windows to match other factory-tinted windows on SUVs and trucks.