How to Clean Road Oil Off a Car

Written by lauren thompson
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How to Clean Road Oil Off a Car
Remove road oil quickly to prevent damage to your car's paint. (green landscape with car image by Oleg Mitiukhin from

Driving through country roads in the summer or driving through freshly-completed construction can leave road oil on your car. If left on the paint for too long, the oil can dry and cause paint to peel away from the surface. Excessive scrubbing of the oil can cause scratching to the paint and clear-coat as well. Thankfully, a few methods can help you remove the road oil without harming the car's finish.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Peanut butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Soft cloths
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sponge
  • Lubricant
  • Gasoline
  • Water

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    Removing Road Oil: Peanut Butter or Mayonnaise

  1. 1

    Clean the soiled portion of the car gently with a soft, wet cloth. Allow the area to air-dry.

  2. 2

    Coat the road oil on the car with peanut butter or mayonnaise, using a spatula. Let it sit on the car's finish, undisturbed, for 30 to 60 minutes.

  3. 3

    Wipe off the peanut butter or mayonnaise with a wet cloth, gently scrubbing any stubborn road oil that remains.

  4. 4

    Dip a cloth into vegetable oil and gently scrub any remaining oil.

  5. 5

    Wash the car by hand or take it to a car wash to thoroughly clean and wax the car again.

    Removing Road Oil: Lubricants

  1. 1

    Clean the soiled portion of the car with a soft, wet cloth. Allow the car to air-dry.

  2. 2

    Spray a lubricant onto the soiled area, saturating the area thoroughly.

  3. 3

    Wipe the lubricant off with a soft, dry towel. Reapply the spray lubricant and gently scrub on any remaining oil.

  4. 4

    Wash the car at a car wash or by hand to remove any remaining oil and residue. Wax the car to protect its finish.

    Removing Road Oil: Gasoline

  1. 1

    Dip the corner of a cloth into gasoline. Liberally apply the gasoline to the road oil spots.

  2. 2

    Rub the oil spots and gasoline, using a soft towel or sponge. Scrub gently if necessary.

  3. 3

    Wet a clean sponge with water and wash the gasoline from the surface of the car. Take the car to a car wash or hand-wash it to remove any residue from the oil or gasoline. Wax the car to prevent any damage to the car's finish.

Tips and warnings

  • Try to remove the oil as soon as it appears. Leaving the oil on the paint too long can make the oil difficult to remove.
  • Do not allow gasoline or lubricants to stay on your car's finish for more than a few minutes before washing off completely. They may damage your car's finish.

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