How to Get Tree Sap Out of Old Car Paint

Written by sarah terry
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Removing tree sap out of car paint can be a frustrating and time-consuming task, if you don't know the tricks to doing it correctly. Many people incorrectly use sharp blades, screwdrivers or razor blades to try to remove tree sap and end up scratching the paint severely. There are many wrong ways to remove sap from your car, but there are also several simple ways to accomplish this frustrating task. You can use fingernail polish remover, white spirit, baking soda, water-soluble paintbrush cleaner, bacon grease or lard, denatured alcohol and even mayonnaise to remove tree sap. Automotive clay is one of the safest and most efficient ways to complete the task when you have older car paint, however.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Soft cloths
  • Water-based lubricant
  • Automotive clay bar
  • Buffing cloth
  • Pre-wax cleaner
  • Car wax

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  1. 1

    Remove any grit or excess dirt in the area you will be cleaning using a soft cloth.

  2. 2

    Spray the water-based lubricant over the area that is covered in sap. Rub the lubricant into the area with the automotive clay bar, using light pressure. If the lubricant dries, respray the area before continuing to rub with the clay bar.

  3. 3

    Check the surface using your hand after two or three applications to see if you feel any more bumps. Continue to lubricate the area and rub until you have removed all the bumps from the surface.

  4. 4

    Wipe all residue from the clay with a soft buffing cloth. Buff until you obtain a nice sheen on the surface.

  5. 5

    Apply the pre-wax cleaner to the area to clean the paint. Apply the car wax to the area according to manufacturer's instructions to restore and protect the area you just cleaned.

Tips and warnings

  • If the tree sap covers a large area on the car, clean a small area at a time for best results.
  • Check the clay bar often and remove any grit or particles it may have picked up, because they could scratch the paint. Knead the bar often to have fresh, clean clay to use on your car surface.
  • Don't apply excessive force when rubbing with the clay bar, because you could damage the paint if any hard particle is present on the bar. Use a clean, particle-free cloth to apply and buff the wax to a shine and to also avoid scratching the finish on your car.

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