In this post I want to explain just how harmful tree sap can be to your car’s paint job. I will go over the steps and products needed to remove it without causing harm to your finish. Tree sap can be a very difficult problem, but over the years I have developed a good system to remove it.
My Experience With Tree Sap
OK, let’s admit it, who hasn’t parked their car under a tree only to come out and find it covered in tree sap? This can cause quite a problem if you don’t wash the car immediately. Sometimes the dreaded sap is just a light misting of little clear dots covering the car. Other times it is big blobs of the stuff. No matter which one you have stuck to your car, there is no time to waste. Trust me, I have ignored this in the past only to hate myself later on. I allowed the tree sap to permanently damage my car’s paint. It left ugly marks all over it. This drove your favorite OCD car nut absolutely crazy! So if you don’t want your car covered in some ugly warts, read on.
The problem happens when tree sap has had a chance to fully dry, and in some cases crystalize, into the car’s paint job. This hardened stuff doesn’t just wash off. It can imbed itself right into a paint job. Tree sap is pretty stubborn stuff. Now we can get into the details of how to remove hardened tree sap from cars.
After a lot of experimenting at my auto detail shop, I came across something that actually worked on tree sap. Somehow I stumbled upon using rubbing alcohol. This stuff evaporates so fast that it doesn’t cause any serious damage to the paint other than dull it a little bit. It is a tree sap remover!
How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car
To get the job started you need to wash the car. This serves a couple of purposes. In some cases it will remove some of the tree sap speckles. In others it can start to soften up the blobs of sap. So soap it up and rinse it well. Tree sap removal should be done out of direct sunlight.
Once the car has been dried, you can start in with the rubbing alcohol to begin the process. And no, I don’t mean drinking this stuff – it will send you to the hospital or worse. Save yourself for an ice cold drink after the job. Now you will need to grab a microfiber towel. You can pick these up at your local auto parts store. These towels are extremely soft and really work better than a regular cotton towel.
The next step is to put your rubbing alcohol into a clean spray bottle. Spray down one section of the car with a heavy mist of the stuff. Then spray some on the microfiber towel. Start to rub down the paint moving in side-to-side, overlapping hand motions. This will reduce any visible marks or scuffs that could show up in the sunshine. On those heavy blobs of sap, you need to spray a heavy blast of the alcohol. Allow it to soak into the blob for a minute or two. Repeat this a few times to soften it up. Keep the towel wet and bear down on the sap. It will slowly begin to shrink up and finally come off.
Do Some Bodybuilding While Removing Tree Sap
Tree sap removal is kind of a tough job. But it gives you a good workout. Don’t we all want bulging arms like Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”)? Just concentrate on completing one area at a time and then you can rest.
Waxing the Car to Restore the Shine
When all of the tree sap has been removed, the paint will be a little dull. You will need to wax the car to restore the finish.
Hand waxing isn’t hard, but there are some tricks to make it easier. First of all, get your wax and microfiber towels ready. You need to apply the wax to separate sections of the car at a time. Let it begin to set for a very short time. You want to wipe it off before it has a chance to dry completely. This makes the job so much easier. If you wax the entire car and then go to wipe off the dried stuff, it becomes very hard to work with. It also leaves a lot of chalky dried residue to deal with.
These are all of the steps I used at my auto detail shop to remove tree sap. Now your car is free of that dreaded tree sap, and the paint has been restored to its beautiful luster. Your arms are aching, but you just saved your car from permanent paint damage – and a lot of money over having an auto detail shop do the job. So pat yourself on the back. I am going to make a professional detailer out of you yet.