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There is nothing more frustrating than parking your clean car under a tree, only to return a few hours later to have it covered in sap and dirt. Most people assume that the  sap comes directly from the tree itself, but it’s actually far more likely to be insect honey-dew. Insect honey dew is excreted by most aphids and is a combination of sugars and waste products leaving the insects body. However, wherever the this sap comes from- it’s pretty difficult to remove from your car’s paint job or windshield. If you take pride in your wheels, you probably are looking for a fast and effective way to remove it.

We’ve listed a number of methods you can try- test them out and see which one works best for you.

Tree sap Removal

 

  • Nail polish remover
    Dip a cotton ball in nail polish remover and rub it on the sap. It should dissolve almost instantly. After most of the sap has been removed, wash away  any remaining residue with a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Turpentine
    Dampen a soft cloth with a little bit of turpentine and wipe the sap away with it. Then rinse the affected area with a bit of water.
  • Lighter fluid/rubbing alcohol/bacon grease/WD-40
    Place any one of these on the sap and leave it there for a while so it can get to work dissolving the tree sap. When you notice the dissolution, rub off the remaining sap residue with a soft cloth and rinse the area down.
  • Tar remover
  • Commercial car cleaning product
    Try cleaning the area with a commercial car cleaning product Most of these products are available in automotive supply shops. Simply follow the instructions on the back of the product bottle to remove the sap. You could also try applying a bug and tar remover. Ask one of the automotive supply staff there for their recommendations.

 

Other things to remember:

Always was and dry your car before you begin the sap removal process so you have a clean surface to work from. It’s also not unusual for the sap deposit spots to look dull after it has been removed- so if you want to keep your vehicle’s luster- wax and polish directly after sap removal.

While sap is not immediately detrimental to your vehicles paint job, it is pretty important to get to removing it in a timely fashion. After some time, the sap can etch through the paint’s clear coat, leading to discoloring and staining. The extent of its short term affects largely depend on the concentration and sugar level within the sap, and since there is no real way of measuring that, it’s far better to be safe than sorry. Also, take care to remember that the effects of sap are often accelerated in extreme heat, so pay careful attention to the sap on your car during the summer.

By Matt Stewart