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How to Take Tar Off Your Car

How to Take Tar Off Your Car Without Hurting the Clear Coat

Road tar tends to find its way to your car’s paint along the wheel wells and rocker panels. This sticky goo left on the car’s clear coat will damage it, leaving pits that ultimately will cause paint failure. You can hire a professional detailer, but the fact is you can take tar off your car without hurting the clear coat, yourself.

Items you will need

  • Clean car detailing rags
  • Automotive detail clay
  • Detail clay lubricant
  • Automotive bug and tar remover, or
  • Spray penetrating lubricant, or
  • Diesel fuel in a spray bottle
  • Automotive wash
  • Wash bucket
  • Wash Mitt
  • Microfiber towel
  • Car wax or spray sealant
  • Safety glasses or goggles

Instruction Notes And Warning

Tip

  • Diesel fuel make actually be the best tar remover.
  • Keep folding the automotive clay bar to expose fresh areas.
  • Microfiber towels are much better than a chamois for drying without scratching.

Warning

  • Always wear safety glasses or goggles when working with cleaning chemicals.

Step 1

Park the car in the shade. Mix up car wash soap in the wash bucket, following specific brand directions. With a wash mitt, wash your car as usual and note the areas of road tar. When you get down face-to-fender, you’ll find specks that weren’t visible from feet away. Rinse the car well.

Step 2

Spray the tar with the tar remover of your choice (commercial bug and tar remover, penetrating spray lube or diesel fuel) and let it soak for several minutes to soften the tar. Spray a detailing rag with more tar remover and gently remove the tar without scrubbing too much — sand and grit embedded in the tar will scratch the surface.

Step 3

Spray the area you just treated with automotive clay lubricant and gently rub the area with the clay bar. Initially, the clay bar will drag as it picks up debris, but it will eventually slide effortlessly along the paint. Keep spraying plenty of lubricant on the area as you rub.

Step 4

Wash the area again to remove any residual tar remover. Dry with a microfiber towel. Spray the area with an automotive sealant and wipe to a new shine.

About Author
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Collin Whittaker

My name is Collin and I am the editor and founder of My Used Car Blog. A little bit about my background - I've been an automotive technician for 10 plus years and I have worked for companies like Honda, Nissan, and other major automotive repair shops. I am a husband and a dad to three beautiful kids. My reason for starting this blog/website stems from my love and passion for the automotive industry. I will provide expert and insightful information from my years of experience.

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