We tested the Chemical Guys clay bar to see if it held up to our dirt (2023)

It doesn't matter what kind of car you drive or if it's driven at all. It doesn't matter if your car is parked on the street or a garage hog. The color will eventually be obscured by impurities. This is annoying for some; others don't seem to notice. It's important to consider removing this pollution if you're planning to keep your car for any length of time, and even more important if it's a show car. The ultimate solution to this problem is a handy tool known as a clay bar.

Using a clay bar is important when we deep clean the exterior of our vehicles. It's not always necessary, and sometimes it's not even recommended. However, if it's been a long time since a car has seen a tone bar, you probably need one. The best way to tell is to give the car a good ratingwashAnddry, examine the paint closely for contamination, then rub your fingers over it. If the surface feels rough and gritty, it needs a clay bar.

We took a close look at the Chemical Guys OG Clay Bar to see if it was up to the challenge of helping us clean our car's paintwork.

The Drive and its affiliates may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Continue reading

The starting point.,Corey Forde

Follow along with the Chemical Guys Clay Bar

  • Gut: You get a lot for your money.
  • Bad: The included OG Clay Bar may not be sticky enough for everyday drivers and cars parked on the street.
  • Check the latest price

A clay bar is a mixture of resin compounds, either synthetic or natural ingredients, that is used to remove contaminants from your paint finish. Successful use of a clay bar will give the paint a glassy feel and remove any harmful tar, dirt and iron oxide stains. If you're unsure what iron oxide stains look like, take a close look at a white-painted car and look for tiny dots of orange and brown. These are the result of industrial precipitation, hot brake dust, rocks and other unavoidable debris that comes from driving on public roads.

This particular kit contains six items:

(Video) How To Clay Bar Your Car - Chemical Guys Auto Detailing

  • OG Clay Bar, the Chemical Guys all-purpose clay mix
  • Synthetic clay lube spray bottle with jet and spray settings
  • High quality microfiber cloth 70/30
  • Butterwax Bottle
  • Wax applicator pad
untreated plate,Corey Forde

To really put this clay bar kit to the test, I decided to use my mom's daily driver, a 2009 Nissan Murano. It's seen its fair share of abuse over the years and really should have seen a car wash a lot more often. If I remember correctly, the car was treated with a clay bar only once in its life. It was the perfect vehicle to test out the kit as white paint shows contamination best. I have not given details on the other items in the kit although they are a great addition to the price.

I started by giving the car a thorough wash to remove as much dirt as possible. I then dried it and then let it sit for 20 minutes to make sure all the moisture was gone. I chose the driver's door for this particular test. I also set a 10 minute timer.

Clay barring shouldn't be a day-long process, and 10 minutes is more than enough to complete a single panel of a crossover. Following the directions on the bottle, I began working in a 2 foot section of the door, applying light pressure with up and down motions to avoid swirl marks. Liberal use was also made of the clay lubricant provided. Once the timer ran out, I rinsed the car with water and wiped it down with the microfiber cloth that came with it.

We tested the Chemical Guys clay bar to see if it held up to our dirt (1)

(Video) What Does A Clay Bar Do? | Knight Rider K.I.T.T. | - Chemical Guys

Why trust us

Our ratings are based on a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, "crowd wisdom" ratings from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always strive to provide real, accurate guides to help you make the best choices.

Learn more

Equipment,Corey Forde

What's good about the Chemical Guys Clay Bar?

Most other clay bar kits only include a clay lube and the actual clay bar. Prices vary, but on average I've seen these cost around $20-$25. This kit includes wax, a 70/30 microfiber cloth and an applicator pad. Items sold individually are approximately $30. While the wax bottle isn't massive, it's still a nice touch for the money. This kit is fantastic value.

Chemical Guys are known for the smell of their products, and this one is no different. The clay lube aroma is pleasant but not overpowering. It has made me want to use the product more often. You won't hold your nose after the job is done or worry about smelling of harsh chemicals.

The size of the included tone bar is nice. I can see this bar last a long time since you don't need a lot for each panel. You don't have to use the entire bar in one session. Just break off pieces for each session.

(Video) DETAILING 101 : How To Clay Bar Your Car - Everything You Need To Know
Not as sticky as I would have liked.,Corey Forde

What's not good about Chemical Guys Clay Bar

Right at the start of the work, I realized that the locking compound wasn't sticky enough for a car in this condition. When using a clay bar, slight pressure should always be applied to avoid scratches. Applying more pressure can get the job done, but it's not a good idea. Because of this and the timer, the bar wasn't enough to remove much of the iron oxide stain. This isn't technically a smack on the product, as Chemical Guys carries a stickier compound.

The surface of the paint remained relatively smooth, but it was obvious that it needed more time. Spending more time on each panel will eventually get the job done, but time is money. Why spend more of this when you could just buy a stickier clay bar that will get the job done faster?

treated versus untreated,Corey Forde

Our verdict on Chemical Guys Clay Bar

The Chemical Guys clay bar kit is a great bang for your buck as long as your car isn't etched with tons of street junk like my mom's 2009 Nissan Murano. She's an average driver with an average daily commute who washes her car "just enough." Anyone with a regularly washed and/or garage serviced car should add this to their home detailing arsenal.

The problem is that most people who buy this will likely use this on a daily driver similar to theirs, or on a car that is regularly exposed to the elements. It's less expensive, more accessible, and available at most retail stores. In addition, the included tone bar is advertised as a medium-sized all-purpose tone bar.

If your car needs some TLC I would recommend looking into a different kit.

TL;DR review

Chemical Guys Complete Clay System

Check the latest price

(Video) How Do You Know WHICH Clay Bar To Use? - Chemical Guys

frequently asked Questions

Any questions.The ridehas answers.

Q. Can Chemical Guys Clay Lube be thinned?

A.It is not recommended. The synthetic compound is formulated to provide the best amount of lubrication while still allowing the clay to do its job of removing contaminants.

Q. Can I use soapy water with a clay bar?

A.Technically yes, but you should be careful what type of soap you use and how much. However, it is generally recommended to use clay lubricants.

Q. Can you do ceramic coatings with Clay-Bar?

A.No. It's not a good idea to use a clay bar on a ceramic coated car as the clay can prematurely degrade the coating.

Q. Does a clay bar eliminate oxidation?

A.Yes, but only a small amount. For strong oxidation levels we recommendPolish your car.

(Video) How To Detail Black Paint! - Chemical Guys

Let's talk: Comment below to talk to usThe driveseditors

We're here to be expert guides on all things manual and product related. Use us, compliment us, yell at us. Comment below and let's talk! You can also yell at usTwitterorInstagram. You can also reach us atguidesandgear@thedrive.com.


1. How to PROPERLY Clay Bar Your Car! Professional DIY
(Cars with Sonduren)
2. How To Choose The Right Clay Bar For You! - Chemical Guys
(Chemical Guys)
3. How To Properly Clay Bar A Car! Newbie Detailing Vlog - Chemical Guys
(Chemical Guys)
4. How To Remove Heavy Contamination - Black Clay Bar - Chemical Guys
(Chemical Guys)
5. Everything You Need To Know About Car Wash Soaps! Specialty Job, Snow Foaming, and Surface Cleansing
(Chemical Guys)
6. How To Remove Windshield Contamination And Overspray - Chemical Guys Clay Block V2
(Chemical Guys)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated: 03/02/2023

Views: 6161

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.