How to get bugs, tar and tree sap off your car

Summer is winding down, and you may have noticed those months of warm weather have resulted in an accumulation of bugs, tar and/or tree sap on your favorite vehicle that just won't budge in your run-of-the-mill car wash.

You can remove the disgusting gunk - with all due respect to the unwilling bugs. Keep in mind, that bug stains are acidic and you can eat into your car's paint job., so it's important to do this as soon as possible.


The National Auto Parts Association (NAPA) suggests using a spray bottle full of water (tap water is okay, unless you have well water, then use spring water.) Spray a fresh dryer sheet to wipe off the bugs mess. That also works for tar and tree sap.

NAPA cautions that it's also important to follow-up with a car wash cleaner to remove the chemicals from the dryer sheet. Then wax your car.

There's another way to remove tar, sap and bugs, and that's using a product made for the job.

Road tar is petroleum-based, soap-and-water are ineffective. Here's where a commercial tar remover comes into play, because they contain kerosene, mineral spirits or petroleum distillate, adds Guidetodetailing.com, which ads that if it's particularly hard to remove, use a paint-cleaning polish.

If your ride had been bombarded by tree sap, don't scrape or you can ruin the finish. Instead, hand-rub the spots with mineral spirits, which acts as a solvent, said Guide to Detailing. This could take some time, however, but it's the safer way to go.

Again, no matter which cleaning method you use, it's important to rewash your vehicle and then wax again. If you don't have time to wax, just ue a spray wax, says Guide to Detailing.

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