How To Remove Tree Sap From Car - Tips, Tricks & Products You Can Use
Below I've collected several tips for how to remove tree sap from car exteriors.
Tree sap, whether it be pine or another variety, can easily drop onto cars while parked on the street or the driveway under a canopy of trees.
Once that sap gets hot, in the sun, it basically bakes on and can be very difficult to remove.
There are many ways to remove this sticky hard mess from your car's exterior, but you want to be careful to choose a method and product to do it that won't hurt your car's paint job.
I've found several videos below giving various tips for this process, from professional detailers.
In addition, I've also received quite a few tips from readers who've shared how they get this sticky stuff off their cars. There are product recommendations, DIY home remedies, as well as tips and instructions for various methods for removal.
Remember too, along with the tips below, I'm always looking for more great ways to remove these stubborn stains, along with recommendations for which products actually work to do it (and which don't).
Below is a video giving tips for how to remove tree sap from car paint.
This guy is a professional car detailer, and he uses lacquer thinner to remove the tree sap.
He cautions that you must be very careful when you use lacquer thinner not to keep it on very long, because it will damage your car's clear coat finish.
Further, if you don't have lacquer thinner, or don't want to use it on your vehicle, he also suggested the automotive versions of Goof Off or Goo Gone, and said isopropyl alcohol may also work, but will take longer.
He also demonstrated the way to rub the lacquer thinner onto the car to remove the sap.
Watch the video for full details on how to remove tree sap from car paint.
Below is a video showing the techniques for removing tree sap from cars with a razor.
Personally, that seems like a really scary way to remove the sap because he even cautions that you can easily scrape and damage the paint on the car if you aren't careful.
He is a professional car detailer, and he says he uses this razor technique on sap that has been sitting for a long time in the sun and has gotten really hard.
He says he is demonstrating the technique on a car with a $30,000 paint job, so I assume he is pretty confident he won't hurt the paint.
He does bend the razor, however, to help him be more precise (it is hard to explain -- watch the video to understand how), so maybe that helps him.
After scraping off the top of the tree sap he says then it becomes weak, and you can remove the rest of it with a cleaner or polish.
Have you ever had success with removing tree sap from cars with a razor, or have you just scraped up your paint? Tell me either in the comments, or submit your own tip for how to remove this sticky substance.
Linda shared two methods for removing tree sap on cars.
Cooking oil is good for removing sap from car finish. It does not hurt the finish. Just wash afterwards.
You just apply liberally, let soak a minute, then use a nylon scrubby and old dish rag, or paper towels and elbow grease to get it off.
Denatured alcohol or mineral spirits is good for windows only.
I would never use a razor blade -- don't have to.
Try to do it spot by spot.
I used to live in the mountains and I was trying everything and somebody told me about the oil.
Thanks for these tips Linda.
I like the fact that the cooking oil is cheap, and isn't toxic, which makes it a great suggestion to give a try!
Did you know denatured alcohol, also known as methylated spirits, can be used on all kinds of things in your home for stain removal and cleaning? You can check out the uses for denatured alcohol here that I've collected, from tips all around the site, or you can share even more with me!
I own a new car that has a black paint, clear coat. I'm very careful with the car, but it shares the garage with my wood working tools, so from time to time it has to spend a few days in the driveway.
I have tried all manufacturers products and have found nothing is as good as the free tool everyone has available. What I'm talking about is a plain old ice cube.
Usually I take a glass of cold water, add 4 or 5 large cubes, move the car out of sun- generally just pull into the garage, grab a cube and move it across the warm finish of the car. The coldness of the ice solidifies the sap for just a few seconds while the hardness of the cube knocks the sap off.
Once I had a used car that I wanted to detail up before selling, unfortunately for me it had been parked under trees for over a year- quite a mess. Detail shops wanted a small fortune to clean the sap off as it was everywhere and was sun baked on. I didn't have the budget, so I tried a variety of products, nothing worked as well as an ice cube.
Try washing the car first to remove dirt and contaminants that will scratch the finish. Towel dry, let the finish warm up for a few minutes. Now pull inside, take a large ice cube, apply slight pressure. The cube will soon be flat on the surface where it contacts the paint, a small puddle forms, rub through the wet area, across sap a few times- sap gone!
Depending on the amount of sap, and the size of a panel, a cube often will clean a fairly large panel. Hope this helps.
Below is a video from a professional car detailer saying how to remove tree sap on car paint.
Basically, his advice is quite simple -- use tree sap remover (see some suggested products down at the bottom of the page).
There are other methods out there for removing tree sap from a car, such as a razor, or other chemicals, but he suggests against them, which is actually in contradiction to the video directly above.
I think the obvious reason for the disagreement is whether you believe you can actually control the razor to have it work for you, or if you think you will chip your paint using this method. I tend to think I, personally, would be better off not using such a sharp instrument near my car's paint job.
Instead, using a product designed specifically to remove sap from your car's paint will make the process quick and easy.
Also, when you use a product specifically designed for a car's painted finish you don't have to worry about scraping and nicking the paint like you would with a razor, or hurting the finish of your paint like with other chemicals.
Here is the video for full details:
As you can see, there are lots of ways to remove tree sap from car paint. However, there is always more than one way to do something. If you've also got a great technique or tip, I would love to hear it, for either removing sap from your car or other surfaces in and around your home.
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I hope you enjoy this gift, and stop by again soon!
CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.