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Do You Recommend Using a Clay Bar on a Brand New Car?


I’m often asked by people whether they should clay their brand new car, after all, it is brand new right? The answer to this question is actually more yes than no.

The thing is, most new cars can sit outside unprotected both at the factory and at the new car lots for weeks and even months. Most vehicles are also shipped via train or transport to their destination. During this time new cars are subject to all kinds of harsh elements which bond to your vehicles finish, and they cannot be removed by normal washing. I think you will be very surprised just how dirty your new cars paint really is!

The answer to this question can actually be found by the use of the “baggy test”. After properly washing and drying your car, simply place your hand into a plastic sandwich baggie and gently glide it over all the painted surfaces. If your paint feels rough or textured, then you need to clay. If it feels smooth as glass than you shouldn’t need to clay, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt. In all honestly, claying a new car shouldn’t take more than 30-45 minutes, and it requires very little effort. It is my professional opinion that every new car should at least be washed, clayed, and protected as soon as you take delivery.

For a typical new car I suggest using mild or gentle clay like the DI Fine Grade Clay or Clay Magic Fine Grade Clay. For information on how to clay your vehicle, follow our tutorial on how to properly use a clay bar.

If you have any additional questions or comments, please submit your reply in the comment box below.

Chad Rskovich Rasky's Auto Detailing
Chad Raskovich
Rasky's Auto Detailing
Minneapolis, MN

8 comments on Do You Recommend Using a Clay Bar on a Brand New Car?

  1. Jeffrey K. Edwards says:

    Picked up my wife’s new Nissan Z last week. A beautiful black cherry finish. It had obviously been sitting out on the lot next to I-20 for a while. It had grit and hard water spots etched into it. Washed & clayed it as soon as we got home. Already had swirls from the dealer’s lot attendant wash job. Any more, I almost want to say: don’t touch the car, just sell as is and I will detail it after delivery. Will need to clear up the swirls and wax in the next week or so.

    • Yes it’s amazing what you will find on the surface of a brand new car.

      Any time I buy a new car, I always tell them that I want it delivered un-touched so that I can properly take care of it right from the start. If you can get one of them that still has the protective film all over the car, that’s even better!

  2. Malcolm Jarvis says:


    I’m sorry but I did not initially notice that Chad Raskovich wrote the article and that you answered the questions. Still, my two questions remain the same about claying new cars and wiping off the clay.

    Thank you,

  3. […] about clay bar a brand new car, and provides a few reasons to why you should clay bar a new car. https://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-P…brand-new-car/ ozzcaddy is online now   Quote Quick […]

  4. Mr P.J.Hoddell says:

    They want to clay& machine polish my new mercedes 500sl. It has been machine polished once because it had fallout on it. Unsuccessful. Should I let them do it again! It has benn stress since July when delivered. Will it devalue the car? Without a written guarantee should I accept it? I am about to push for a replacement car or a full refund. It has just 400 mikes on clock. It was not driven after the first return, when even more marks appeared. Now I am about to get a solicitor if no written guarantee is forthcoming.

  5. Dwyeronline says:

    I recently tried removing dried sap off the hood of my 2018 tundra (black), the heavy stuff came off with some bug and tar remover, but there is still a thin layer left on the paint. I used alcohol and got a little more off, but every time I start messing with it I’m leaving scratches. How can I safely remove this sap residue.


  6. Ken Reinhardt says:

    Hi, tried sap can be removed with a clay bar or i have had good success with sticky items with a little wd-40 on a micro fiber cloth.

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