There is just something about going to a car show and seeing your reflection in the paint of a pristine classic muscle car or old school exotic that can make your eyes widen and your jaw drop. When paint is clean enough to look like glass, it can catch the eye of even the most casual observer. The unfortunate news is that it takes a lot of time and energy to maintain paint that shows in this fashion, but as we all know as car enthusiasts, our rides are a labor of love. With that in mind, there are some detailing tools out there that can make achieving a mirror finish on your car paint a reality if you are an owner who is both patient and meticulous enough to make it happen.
A clay bar system is a two-part system that uses clay to wipe the surface of your paint and a spray or cream that lubricates the clay as it glides over your paint. The clay will grab contaminants from the surface of the paint like overspray particles, dust, dirt, and other common contaminants you’ll encounter throughout the course of your day to day driving. These contaminants tend to want to latch onto a buffing pad and can induce extra scratches during a polish, creating swirl marks. Similarly, they can prevent a fresh coat of wax from sticking to the paint surface which can minimize protection against UV light. For this reason, it is ideal to remove them occasionally in order to keep your car’s paint fresh and shiny.
Clay bar systems are easy to use after a wash and dry, and can be used as often as you feel necessary. When using a clay bar, there is no need to detail the whole car every time as you can spot clay the paint if you find a rough spot on the painted surface between complete details (which we like to do at least a couple times per year). When it comes to selecting a clay bar, there are many different choices available on the market. As we have experimented with more than a few over the years, we thought it worthwhile to share our recommendation for the best clay bar with you to make your search a little easier.
The Best Clay Bar System
Clay Bar systems aren’t a new item, but they have evolved over time thanks to development work from companies like Chemical Guys. Chemical Guys offers their OG Clay Bar & Luber Synthetic Lubricant Kit, in a two-part pack to get you started on the right track for smooth as glass paint. The OG system is sought after by both amateur and professional enthusiasts alike thanks to its ease of use and high level of effectiveness.
The flexible clay bar in the kit will conform to every curve and contour on your vehicle and with a generous spray of the luber will easily lift all contaminants off your painted surface. Beyond your paint, you can also use the clay bar and lubing spray on your vehicle’s glass, clear plastic, and polished metal surfaces such as chromed trim to keep them in great shape. The OG clay bar material lasts quite a while, so you won’t have to keep replacing it like you would with many of the cheaper clay bars on the market.
When using the clay, it’s best to break off roughly a third of the bar. This will give you a small piece that can be molded into a small patty that easily fits in your hand or on your fingers. After you mist the surface with the luber spray, use a 12-inch stroke in short passes to decontaminate the surface. As the surface cleans, you’ll notice the clay bar will glide more and more until it has almost no friction at all against the paint surface. Once it feels smooth like glass, dry the surface to prevent spotting using a leather chamois or microfiber cloth, and move to the next section. If they clay bar starts to become filled with debris, knead it to expose a clean surface and get back to work. Once there isn’t a clean surface after kneading, it’s time to grab a fresh piece and start again. Once the whole vehicle is cleaned with the best clay bar system, polish to remove any fine swirls or scratches and seal with a good coat of wax for enhanced and longer lasting protection.
It’s important to note that you need to make sure you don’t drop the clay bar on the ground. The clay bar will pick up dirt and small rocks that will actually scratch your paint if you don’t remove them. In this manner, it can work like sandpaper, which as you can imagine is a big no-no for putting on your car’s paint. Obviously this is possible with any clay bar, so this is just a friendly reminder to be extra careful.
As far as available purchasing options, Amazon’s competitive price makes it a quick and easy place to pick one up without having to leave your house. Overall, Chemical Guys is a brand that provides cutting edge products for your vehicle paint care with a tremendous value and their OG Clay Bar is no exception. As such, it should come as no surprise that their OG Clay Bar is one of the best clay bars on the market and it will serve you well after many a car wash and thus rightfully gets a strong recommendation from us!