How to Remove Tar from Car Body Without Damaging Paint

How to remove tar from a car body can be tricky if you lack the knowledge on how to go about it and the right pieces of equipment.

Tar is a thick, dark compounded glue resin material used on road surfaces. It is oil-based and can cause irreversible damages. Your car picks it up when the wheels kick particles.

The tar can stick on the body panels or the underside. Either way, tar ruins the paint, making it look old. Luckily, this article will take you through how to remove tar from the car body while at home.

how to remove dried tar from car
Vintage car

How to Remove Tar from Car Body Without Damaging Paint

1. Clean the car

Park the vehicle under a shade and flush the surface with water to remove soft dirt and tar. Avoid direct sunlight since heat will speed up drying, creating the risk of water spots.

Use two buckets of water, one for cleaning with car shampoo and the second for rinsing. This will enable you to remove dirt before filling the washing mitt with soap again.

You can put a grit guard in each bucket with water to keep dirt at the bottom and clean water at the top. Start washing from the top, going all the way down since most dirt will be towards the bottom. Lather the washing mitt with soap and clean in lines instead of circles.

Afterward, rinse with high-pressure running water―be careful not to remove paint or wax. Dry the surface with a microfiber towel. If the towel gets saturated or falls on the ground, use another one or rinse it well before using it again. Otherwise, debris on the towel may scratch the surface.

Read: How to keep fabric car seats clean

2. Remove tar with WD-40

WD-40 is the easiest solution to remove tar from your car’s paint. Jumping off, ensure you have a microfiber towel with you for the task. Apply the WD-40 on the body and swab with the towel.

You can use a spray bottle to lubricate the affected spots. Repeat the application and allow the solution to rest on the surface for about 30 minutes.

The WD-40 will rubricate the tar, loosening it from the car body. Take another clean microfiber and wipe the stains―tar can be hard to come out of paint, but you will remove it with repeated rubbing.

3. Remove tar with peanut butter oil

Peanut butter is a home product remedy you can use to get rid of tar. It is handy and will save you the hassle of spending money on commercial tar removers. Apply the peanut butter on the tared surface by swabbing it with a microfiber towel.

Read: How to eliminate water spots when washing a car

4. Remove tar stains with mineral spirits

If peanut butter doesn’t help get rid of the tar, consider leveraging mineral spirits. They work in the same principle as WD-40. They break tar, making it easier to lift and remove from the car’s paint.

First, soak a microfiber towel in the mineral spirit and place it over the tar. Wait for about ten minutes and clean and wipe the surface. Remember to wash or replace the microfiber towel if it gets soiled. The only downside to using mineral spirits is that they can eat away the waxing on the paint.

peanut butter to remove tar from car

5. Remove tar with commercial tar remover

Small rocks that stick on the car’s paintwork cause stains. They are stubborn and can roll around the surface, causing scratches. Commercial tar removers are your best shot if you want a faster and more effective solution. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

You can spray the commercial tar remover directly on the affected spot. Give it a few minutes to soak before rubbing with a microfiber towel. Afterward, wipe off the residue on the area. If you still see tar spots, re-apply the commercial remover, and rub again.

Read: What causes car paint to fade?

6. Wash the car again

Clean the car to reveal the paintwork. Pay attention to the areas with the tar to ensure you remove the entire residue. You can use a clay bar to remove contaminants embedded on the surface.

7. Apply wax and polish

It is crucial to apply wax or polish on the paintwork after removing tar. Buy a high-quality wax and read all the instructions on the package. Follow the recommended usage to get optimal results.

If you use a liquid or spray wax, pour a small amount on a pad, and apply in small, circular motions. It is best to wax a small section to prevent drying and the wax becoming difficult to remove. Apply a thin layer of the wax and allow it a few minutes.

Wipe the wax with a soft cloth afterward. Achieving this will remove substances that may have been left behind. It will also protect the surface from damages the next time you clean or remove tar.

You can also use a buffer to save time and make waxing breezy. Be mindful of the kinds of pads you use since some can dig the edges of your car’s paint and cause permanent marks. An excellent buffing kit is a random orbital buffer. It prevents the risk of burning the paintwork or causing swirls.

What can I use to remove tar on the windshield?

Apply peanut butter since it doesn’t have solvent chemicals that can smear on the glass and become difficult to come off. Be gentle when rubbing the glass surface.

Can I wash the tarred surface with dish soap?

Dish soap can strip off the paintwork and wax. It is advisable to use a dedicated car-wash shampoo since it is milder on the car’s surface.

Can vinegar remove tar from a car’s surface?

Generally, you can remove tar with white vinegar. Make a solution of ½ cup of warm water and one teaspoon of vinegar. Saturate the stain with the solution using a sponge and blot with cold water to lift the tar. Ensure you wash the sponge with hot water to remove tar residues while wiping off the tar.

The crux of removing tar from the car body is the lubricating agent you use. More so, patience is paramount for spot-on results. You can use a soft brush to remove the tar from crevices between the panels.

Above all, getting rid of tar and waxing the surface will go a long way to extend the life of your car’s paintwork and keep it looking as good as new.

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