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How to Remove Tar From Car | Comprehensive Guide

Removing tar from car

If you’ve ever driven on freshly laid asphalt or encountered road construction, you may have experienced the annoyance of tar sticking to your car’s exterior. Tar can be unsightly and difficult to remove, but fear not! 

Tar can be a stubborn and unsightly nuisance on your car’s exterior. Whether from road construction, parking lot mishaps, or other sources, tar can adhere to your car’s paintwork and become challenging to remove. However, with the proper knowledge and techniques, you can effectively eliminate tar and restore your car’s pristine appearance.

With this comprehensive guide, you’ll walk through the steps to effectively remove tar from your car, restoring its pristine appearance. From simple DIY methods to specialized products, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive in and learn how to tackle this sticky problem head-on.

What is Tar and Its Impact on Your Car?

Before we delve into the removal process, it’s essential to understand what tar is and how it can affect your car’s surface. Tar spots are typically dark, sticky, and slightly raised above the paint surface. They are most often found on the lower sections of your car, like the side skirts, bumpers, and behind the wheels, where road debris is commonly thrown up.

Tar can adhere to your car’s paint, leaving dark, sticky marks that are difficult to remove. If left untreated, it can harden and become even more stubborn to eliminate. Additionally, tar can damage your car’s clear coat and paint. Therefore, taking action when you notice tar on your vehicle is crucial.

Fortunately, there are different ways to remove tars from your car. Let’s dive into the top solutions:

How to Remove Tars from Your Car Easily?

1. Using Household Items

Materials Needed:

  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Water
  • Dish soap

  • Test in an inconspicuous area: Before applying any products to your car’s surface, it’s essential to test them in a small area. This will ensure that the materials used do not cause any damage or discoloration.
  • Preparation: Fill a bucket with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Mix well to create a soapy solution.
  • Soak the cloth: Submerge a clean microfiber cloth in soapy water. Wring out any excess water, ensuring the cloth is damp but not dripping.
  • Dab and blot: Gently dab the tar-affected areas with a damp cloth. Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this may spread the tar further or cause scratches.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol: Moisten a corner of the microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol. Then, carefully dab it onto the remaining tar spots. The rubbing alcohol helps break down the tar’s adhesive properties, making removing it easier.
  • Gently scrub: Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the tar-affected areas in a circular motion gently. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure, which can damage the paint. Continue scrubbing until the tar begins to loosen and lift from the surface.
  • Rinse and dry: Once the tar is successfully removed, rinse the car’s surface with clean water to remove any remaining residue. Next, thoroughly dry the area with a separate clean microfiber cloth.

Inspect the treated areas to ensure all traces of tar have been eliminated. Then, repeat the process or try an alternative method if any stubborn spots remain.

2. Using a Tar Remover

A commercial tar remover is one effective way to remove tar from your car. These specialized products are designed to dissolve and loosen the tar, making it easier to wipe away. Follow these steps to remove tar using a tar remover effectively:

  • Gather the necessary supplies: You will need a commercial tar remover, a clean microfiber cloth, a soft-bristle brush, and water.
  • Read and follow the instructions: Carefully read and adhere to the instructions provided by the tar remover manufacturer. Different products may have specific application methods and recommended dwell times.
  • Test in an inconspicuous area: Before applying the tar remover to the affected area, test it in a small, inconspicuous spot to ensure compatibility and avoid any potential damage.
  • Apply the tar remover: Apply the tar remover directly onto the affected areas. Allow it to sit for the recommended time specified in the product instructions. This allows the tar remover to penetrate the tar and break down its adhesive properties.
  • Gently wipe or brush away: Using a clean microfiber cloth, gently wipe away the dissolved tar in a back-and-forth motion. For stubborn or larger tar spots, you can use a soft-bristle brush to help loosen the residue.
  • Rinse and dry: After removing the tar, rinse the area with water to remove any residue from the tar remover. Then, thoroughly dry the area with a clean microfiber cloth.
  • Check for any remaining tar: Inspect the area to ensure all traces of tar have been removed. Then, repeat the process or try an alternative method to tackle stubborn spots.

Check out our list of top 5 tar removers for optimum results.

3. Using Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a delicious spread and can be an effective tool for removing tar from your car. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use peanut butter to remove tar:

  • Gather the necessary supplies: You will need creamy peanut butter (not chunky), a clean microfiber cloth or sponge, warm water, and gentle car wash soap.
  • Apply peanut butter: Take a small amount of creamy peanut butter and apply it directly to the tar spot on your car’s surface. Next, cover the entire tar area with a thin layer of peanut butter.
  • Let it sit: Allow the peanut butter to sit on the tar for a few minutes. The oils in the peanut butter will help break down the tar and make it easier to remove.
  • Gently rub the tar: Using a clean microfiber cloth or sponge, gently rub the tar spot in circular motions. Apply light pressure to avoid scratching the paint. The peanut butter will help dissolve the tar and loosen its grip on the surface.
  • Wipe off the residue: Use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe away the peanut butter and dissolved tar residue after rubbing the tar. You may need to apply some pressure and use multiple cloth sections to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Wash the area: Once the tar residue is removed, wash the area with warm water and a gentle car wash soap. Next, use a sponge or soft cloth to clean the treated area and remove any remaining peanut butter residue.
  • Rinse and dry: Rinse the area with clean water to remove any soap residue. Then, dry the surface with a microfiber cloth to prevent water spots or streaks.

After the surface is dry, inspect the area to ensure all traces of tar have been removed. Then, repeat the process or try an alternative method if lingering spots remain.

Professional Car Detailing Services

If you need more clarification about tackling the tar removal, process it yourself, or if the tar is stubborn and difficult to remove, seek professional car detailing services. Experienced detailers have the knowledge, tools, and expertise to safely and effectively remove tar from your car’s exterior, leaving it looking pristine.

Final Words

Removing tar from your car may seem daunting, but with the proper techniques and materials, you can effectively eliminate it and restore your car’s pristine appearance. Whether you opt for DIY methods using household items or choose specialized commercial tar removers, follow the instructions carefully and prioritize safety. 

By taking proactive measures and addressing tar promptly, you can keep your car looking its best and safeguard its exterior from potential damage.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use WD-40 to remove tar from my car?

Yes, WD-40 can be used to remove tar from your car. First, apply a small amount of WD-40 to a clean cloth and gently rub it onto the tar-affected areas. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it away with a cloth.

Is it necessary to wax my car after removing the tar?

Waxing your car after removing tar is highly recommended. Waxing helps restore the protective layer on your car’s paint, enhances its shine, and provides an added barrier against future contaminants. Choose a high-quality car wax and follow the instructions for proper application.

Are there any preventive measures to avoid tar buildup on my car?

Avoid driving on freshly paved roads whenever possible to minimize tar buildup on your car. If you encounter tar, drive cautiously and avoid running over freshly laid asphalt. Regularly washing and waxing your car can also help prevent tar from adhering to the surface and make it easier to remove if it does occur.

Is petrol OK to remove tar from a car?

While some people use petrol (gasoline) as a tar removal agent, it is generally not recommended. Petrol is a strong solvent that can damage your car’s paint and finish. It may also leave behind residue or stains.

How do you remove tar easily?

To remove tar easily, use a specialized tar removal product, apply it to the tar spots, gently scrub, wipe away the residue, wash and rinse the area, and dry and inspect.

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