How to remove road tar from car paint

Updated February 21, 2017

When you're driving down the road and end up driving through some construction work, chances are your car is going to suffer from it. Luckily, there are many different methods to get the road tar off of your car paint.

Use a solvent specifically for removing tar. You can find different tar-removing products in any automotive store. "3M General Purpose" cleaner has been shown to work very well for many people and is very affordable.

Try some WD-40. Spray it on the tar and let it sit for a minute, then wipe off. You can wipe it with a wet, clean cloth, or for thicker tar, you could use a scrubbing pad. Just remember, a scrubbing pad could scratch the paint, but you can usually buff the scratches out afterward.

Apply creamy peanut butter to the road tar. Let it sit for about 30 seconds. Wipe it off with a clean towel or cloth. You may have to do a few applications, depending on how thick the tar is and how long it has been on the car paint.

Put some gasoline in a spray bottle and spray it directly on the road tar. Use a cloth or sponge to wipe the gas and tar off.

Try soft scrub along with regular soap and hot water. If you are trying this method on stuck-on tar you may have to use a scrubbing pad. The downside of this is the pad could scratch the paint, but you can usually buff the scratches out. You can also find Soft Scrub on the shelves in the cleaning isle of any retail store. Apply the soft scrub onto the tar, then wipe with a rag dipped in hot soapy water.

Leave your vehicle in the sun for around 3 hours. Apply Crisco shortening onto the tar and then proceed to wipe it off with a cloth covered in more Crisco.


Once the tar is completely gone from your car paint, be sure to wash it, buff out any scratches, then wax it to make it look good as new again.


When handling the gasoline, you should wear gloves to protect your hands.

Things You'll Need

  • Tar-remover
  • WD-40
  • Soft scrub
  • Soap
  • Crisco shortening
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Gasoline
  • Clean cloth
  • Scrubbing pad
  • Gloves
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About the Author

Megan Shannon resides in Arkansas and has been freelance writing since 2006. Her goal is to build her experience and finds great success doing so working at Demand Studios. Since working at Demand, Shannon has increased her knowledge in various topics, but her favorite topic is health.