Meguiar’s Clay Bar: Real World Test And Review
The clay bar product from Meguiar’s is available as part of a kit that includes a quick detailer or as a stand-alone 80 g block. It is a medium-grade clay bar able to remove embedded contaminants from most automotive surfaces.
It is a good quality clay bar that is easy to mould into shape but falls behind competitors in terms of value for money.
I used this clay bar on several cars to test the ease of contamination removal, using Optimum No Rinse solution as a clay lubricant. I also tested this clay bar on a polished black panel, to test how much marring was inflicted after use.
Contamination removal 8.0/10
Compared to other clay bars I have used, Meguiar’s clay is a medium grade, giving it good overall contamination removal ability while still being easy to use.
I first cut a small amount of clay and flattened it into a square roughly 3 cm x 3 cm. I then applied lubricant to the panel before using the clay in a ‘hashtag’ motion, slowly moving the clay back and forth, left, and right while applying very little pressure.
As seen, the level of contamination removed was significant, and the surface felt significantly smoother. It also removed pieces of tar from the lower panels, although it would be best to use a dedicated tar remover for this.
This clay is easy to shape and form, especially in warmer temperatures. In winter, it could be left in warm water for a few minutes to soften it.
This clay is not flimsy, but it is able to form to contours in the paint. I also did not notice any small bits of clay breaking off the main block, which can happen on cheaper clay bars.
Marring is a side effect of claying, and even when using a lubricant, it is often unavoidable. I tested the Meguiar’s clay bar on a polished panel with near-perfect paint, allowing me to see how much marring had occurred. The first photo shows the condition of the paint before claying, with no visible swirl marks.
The second photo shows the paint after claying, having used a spray of ONR to add lubrication.
As can be seen in the reflection of the inspection torch, light marring has occurred, which would be visible in direct sunlight.
This highlights that claying should only be carried out if necessary and if the paint can be machine polished afterwards. Although these marks look bad, they could easily be removed with a finishing polish and a soft foam pad.
Unlike some clay bars that can be used with water alone, Meguiar’s recommend to always use a lubricant to help the clay glide over the paint, minimising marring.
Meguiar’s ‘Quik Detailer’ can be used as a lubricant, although I find diluting 15 ml of Optimum No Rinse with a litre of water gives a much cheaper and equally as good lubricant.
Ease of use 8.5/10
As mentioned, Meguiar’s do sell a clay kit, which includes their quick detailer and 80 g of clay. This makes sourcing a lubricant easier, but it is not entirely necessary, as other alternatives are available.
I always find it easier to use scissors to cut the clay into smaller chucks, although it can be torn off by hand. The clay comes in a flimsy cardboard box and is wrapped in plastic, so it is not very easy to store, a hard plastic box would be better.
Value for money 4.0/10
The retail price for 80 g of Meguiar’s clay is £15.00 ($16.95 USD), which is this product’s biggest let down by far.
I have found I need about 50 g of clay for a medium car (about £9.00 ($10.17 USD) worth), depending on a number of factors, which means I would need to buy more clay for every car, which would soon add up.
While it is true that clay does not need to be used all that regularly, once a year if even, the high price would put off any professional detailer.
Using chemical decontamination such as iron fallout removers regularly further removes the need to use a clay bar. For comparison, Bilt Hamber clay costs around £2.50 ($2.82 USD) per car.
Meguiar’s are a US-based detailing brand available worldwide, founded in 1901 as a furniture polishing company. They have a wide range of detailing products available, with different products aimed at enthusiasts, professionals, and even marine detailers.
Overall, this is a good quality clay bar, that effectively removes contamination while leaving acceptable marring. I especially like how easy it is to knead and form into shape. Ultimately the biggest weak point is the price, given how little clay you actually get, and it would be price that would put me off buying this clay bar in the future.
How long will a Meguiar’s clay bar last?
Once a piece of clay is full of contamination, it should be thrown out, also if clay is dropped, it needs to be thrown away. This is why I advise cutting small pieces of clay at a time, so if a piece is dropped, the whole bar is not lost. I use about 50 g of clay on a medium car, so a Meguiar’s bar would only be good for one and a half cars.
Does Meguiar’s clay need a special lubricant?
Meguiar’s do advise using a lubricant, such as their quick detailer. I have used it with ONR and also car shampoo from a wash bucket with good results.
Can Meguiar’s clay bar be used on glass?
Yes, it can be used on glass, which often holds a large amount of embedded contaminants. Claying a windscreen can help reduce wiper judder.
Can a Meguiar’s clay bar be washed?
No, it should be folded over to reveal a clean surface and thrown out when the clay becomes fully clogged.
Can you use a Meguiar’s clay bar without polishing?
Clay barring induces marring into paint, which can leave the surface looking worse than before, therefore, it is best to only clay if it is possible to polish afterwards.
Get it Now
- 1 x 80 gram replacement clay bar
- Features one non-abrasive clay bar
- The clay bar safely removes surface bonded contaminants such as tar, tree sap, overspray and industrial fallout