Have you ever parked your car under a tree and come back a few hours later to find what looks like tree sap all over your car? Perhaps you just washed and waxed your car or took it through the car wash, and now you need to start all over again. But how do you remove tree sap, and what is the best way to remove tree sap? We focused on answering these questions in this post.
What is a tree sap?
Many people refer to the sticky substance landing on their cars as tree sap. It is actually more likely to be insect excretions from aphids on the leaves of the tree. This material is composed of sugars and waste products from the aphids. Examine the underside of the leaves, and you may see hundreds of aphids happily chomping away.
5 Simple Steps for Removing Tree Sap From Your Car
If you have tree sap on your car, try to remove it quickly before it becomes baked onto the finish of your car, and a variety of dust and dirt accumulate.
1. Get prepared with the right tools
Every job always goes more smoothly if you have the right tools. First, assemble all of the standard tools you use to wash your car and applying wax. Next, you should have the product that you will use to remove the tree sap. If there is a lot of tree sap, make sure you have sufficient quantities to complete the removal of the tree sap from your car. Always park your car in the shade, preferably not under the tree that caused the problem in the first place.
2. Begin washing your car
Wash your car thoroughly, removing all of the dust and grime that may have built up. This will remove sap, but not all of it. Once you are finished washing the car, rinse all of the soap away and dry your car in the usual manner. If there’s some leaves or pine needles on the car stuck to the sap, remove these by hand before washing to avoid scratching the paint and clear coat finish. You want as clean a surface as possible.
3. Find the tree sap spots
In most cases, it will be easy to find the remaining sap spots. These spots may be discolored with possible dirt particles mixed in. You can also run your hand over the finish to detect places where there still is tree sap after washing the car.
4. Apply the solution using circular motion
Follow the directions of the sap remover solution you have chosen. Some may require an application, wait for a few minutes, and then use a circular motion to wipe the solution, and the tree sap away. Several applications and elbow grease may be needed to fully remove all of the tree sap. Don’t forget to clean your windshield and windshield wipers.
5. Wash your car for finishing touches
Once all of the tree sap is removed, a final wash should be completed along with proper drying to bring back the finish and luster of your cars paint job. While many blogs suggest parking your car in the shade to protect the paint finish, parking under a tree full of aphids is not recommended. Once the car is washed, you may need to apply a coat of wax to make the paint finish uniform and glisten.
Take the extra step wax your vehicle
After washing your car, removing the tree sap, and rewashing your car once again, you may notice that the finish on your car does not uniformly shine across the hood, roof, or trunk. This may be caused by the tree sap, the removal product used, and the rubbing to remove the tree sap. Applying a new coat of wax to these areas will return the finish to its original luster.
Top Remover Solution Or Cleaning Product
There are lots of chemical products on the market, as well as home remedies that claim to remove tree sap from the finish of your car. Some work better than others. In all cases, it is important to use a gentle rubbing action to remove the tree sap and remove any loose debris before applying cleaning products.
1. Isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is one of the best products to remove tree sap from the finish of your car. Pour a little of the alcohol product onto the area and gently rub the sap away. If dirt or other material has accumulated, rub lightly to avoid marring the finish of the paint on your car.
2. Hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer also works well since it contains Isopropyl alcohol along with other products. Follow the same approach as mentioned with Isopropyl alcohol. Hand sanitizer is more expensive than alcohol, so you may want to switch products. However, if you only have a small area to clean, it works well. Keep the hand sanitizer bottle in the car for emergency use.
3. Goo gone pro power
Another product many people use is Goo gone pro power. Spray a small amount on the area and let it soak into the sap. Use gentle rubbing action until the tree sap is removed. You may need to apply Goo gone pro power several times to the area to obtain the desired result.
4. Bug and tar remover
Bug and tar remover is another product many consumers routinely purchase to clean their vehicles. It also works to remove tree sap, however, several applications may be needed before the area becomes clean and all of the tree sap is removed from the finish. Always give your car a good wash after applying all of these products.
5. WD-40 multi-use product
WD-40 is a multi-use product that most households often have around the home. Spray a little on the area, let it sit for a few minutes and rub off. Again several applications and rubbing are required to remove the tree sap. Hard dried tree sap is difficult to remove. Be careful to avoid marring the finish of your vehicle’s paint surface with rubbing. Use clean terry cloths for all products.
Some products work much better than others. They all require circular rubbing to remove the tree sap. Consumers must be careful to avoid scratching the car as rubbing removes the tree sap.
What are the best tree sap removal products?
Products with Isopropyl alcohol appear to work the best. Even hand sanitizer with Isopropyl alcohol easily removes dried tree sap. Work on a very small area at a time and use clean a clean cloth to avoid rubbing dust onto the finish, which could cause scratches on the finish. Many commercial products are available; however, based on tests, Isopropyl alcohol works the best.
What home remedies actually work for removing the sap?
There is a variety of sap removing home remedies available at auto parts stores that offer car repair and car maintenance services that work to some degree. Hot water and soap can be used to remove tree sap that has not been baked onto the finish. Once the tree sap has dried to some degree, it is more difficult to remove. Consumers have tried WD-40, mayonnaise, pine oil, peanut butter, and others to varying levels of success.
Can rubbing alcohol damage your cars paint?
Full strength bug remover or rubbing alcohol can damage the finish on your car. Dilute the alcohol before applying it to the finish. Also, try it on a test area in an area of the body that is not easily noticed. Never use full strength rubbing alcohol on fresh paint finishes. Wash the car after and apply a fresh coating of wax to protect the finish.
Should I use a razor blade to remove tree sap removal?
Some auto detailing shops suggest that a razor blade or box cutter can be used to remove very difficult to remove tar sap blotches as well as bugs off the surface of your car. However, there is a high risk that you will permanently damage the paint finish using this approach. Due to the risk, it is not a recommended solution.
Wrapping It Up
When tar and sap, bird droppings, dirt, and debris leaves your car looking a mess, wash your car thoroughly with soapy water to clean your car. Consumers can use a commercial bug and tar removal product diluted rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to remove the remaining material.
Gently rub the area using several applications until the sap is gone. Wash your car once again and apply a fresh coat of car wax to bring back the finish on your car. Avoid parking under trees in the future. Don’t forget to clean the car air conditioner systems and remove all of the bugs.
Other products you can try are mineral spirits and Chemical Guys bug tar remover. Before applying any products, make sure you wash your vehicle with soap and hot water. If you try to remove the tree sap and you have no luck, you should go to a local shop and talk to a repair estimator.
Polish removes any kind of debris on your car’s paint, and it leaves a clean surface. Now you know the most efficient ways to remove tree sap or bugs off your car. Don’t forget to clean the car wheels.