As much as we might try to keep our cars clean and unblemished, there are a hundred things that can happen to them throughout the day. Trees drip sap on them, road construction results in ugly tar spatters, and pranksters sometimes egg cars parked outside overnight. The sooner you clean off these substances, the less likely it is that you will need car paint repair, so it is important that you deal with the problem as soon as you can.
Wash Your Car
The first thing to do upon finding something like egg, road tar, or tree sap is to gently wash your car. Use soap that is specifically formulated for washing cars. If the egg, tar, or sap is fresh, it may come off easily, but don’t scrub too hard — if it resists coming off, you may damage the paint if you force it. Instead, move on to the next step. Remember, the sooner you get the offending substance off of your car, the less likely you’ll have to pursue car paint repair. Tree sap, road tar, and egg all become harder to remove the longer they stay on the paint, and some substances can discolor or mar the finish if left for too long.
Removing Road Tar and Tree Sap
Even if it’s fresh, sometimes you can’t get it off by washing your car right away. It should still come off, but it may require a little more time and work to finish the job.
- Apply cleaner. There are many commercial cleaners available for removing tree sap, road tar, and other sticky substances. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the package. You can also try home remedies such as WD-40, gasoline, or peanut butter, but be cautious so that you don’t damage your paint with bad advice.
- Scrub with a soft cloth. Some cleaners and home remedies have to sit first in order to soften the sap or tar. Once it’s soft, the sap or tar may wipe right off, or you may have to rub it gently with circular motions until it comes off. For especially stubborn substances, such as those that have been there for a long time, you can use a scrubbing pad, but this will leave fine scratches on the finish that will need to be polished out afterward.
- Remove all traces of cleaner. Whether you used a commercial cleaner, or a home remedy such as WD-40, you will need to be sure to remove every last bit of it once the job is done.
When you think you’ve removed all of it, wash the car one more time just to be sure. Some chemicals can damage the paint if left on for too long.
Egg is sometimes trickier to get off because the proteins in it essentially bake onto your car’s paint, and even after it’s removed, egg can leave behind discoloration or a marred finish. The sooner you remove the egg, the less likely you’ll have to take your car to a car paint repair shop to restore the finish.
- Hose your car. If the egg is very fresh, a lot of it might just rinse off.
- Remove any bits of eggshell. Just pick it off with your fingers. Get as much off as you can so that you don’t scratch the paint when you scrub off the egg later.
- Soak a soft rag in warm water with a little laundry detergent, and put it over the egg. Leave the rag in place for at least ten minutes to soften the egg, especially if it has dried.
- Gently scrub the egg away. Scrub with your soft rag until the egg softens enough to come off.
Polish and Wax
Once you have removed the tree sap, road tar, or egg, inspect your paint for any damage, such as fine scratches or discoloration. Follow up with a polish if necessary to restore color and remove any scratches, or get this done professionally by a car paint repair specialist. Finally, be sure to wax the area to reseal it, as the chemicals used to clean these stubborn substances will have removed any wax that was still remaining on your car’s paint.
ColorMate Auto Appearance Specialists provides same day car paint repair services including paint perfecting, paint and bumper repair, headlight restoration, rim repair, and car interior repairs in Miami-Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach County. Schedule an appointment for a free estimate on quality car interior and cosmetic repairs.