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Removing Tar From Car Paint

Updated on April 9, 2013

What is Tar?

Tar often refer to those stubborn black streaks or spots in your car surface that are often found in the back or underside area. Tar is a highly cohesive and gooey substance used in road construction. Tar sticks to your car paint after passing over a road with newly laid asphalt concrete. You'll soon find out that it cannot be removed by normal car washing. Many special tar removal products are available in auto shops, groceries, and even online.

Steps in Easy Tar Removal

As with using anything on any part of a car exterior, make sure that the tar remover specifies that it is paint-safe. Beware of using solutions that promises to remove tar but may otherwise damage a car's paint in the long run.

To be on the safe side, simply use those that are proven to be effective because the main goal after all is to remove tar without doing further damage to the car paint. Moreover, you wouldn't want to remove the paint clear coat or rub more than necessary when you remove the tar from your car.

Get tar off car easily
Get tar off car easily

Easy Ways to Get Tar Off

Tar removal products also works similarly to remove tree sap and bug remains embedded into your a car paint surface. For easy tar removal, as well as any of the mentioned objects, just follow these simple and easy steps:

1. Clean the surface of the area with tar. Wash the area with water and car shampoo to remove any other dirt or dust that may interfere with your tar removal. It is always ideal to start with a clean surface at all times.

2. Spray tar remover on the area, let stand for 30 seconds, then rub it clean with a 'back and forth' motion either with a clean, damp cloth or sponge which has also been sprayed on with the tar remover. You may repeat this process for really stubborn or aged tar until the area is tar-free.

3. Wash off the tar remover with water. Once the tar is visibly removed, wash off the area to remove any remains of the of the tar remover. Make sure to not leave any tar remover on your car paint for long because some tar removers have a substance called 'Xylene which may be harmful to the finish. Finally, dry the area with rubber wipe or microfiber clothe.

4. Seal and wax. Do not forget to seal off the surface with wax since a tar remover often removes the wax in the affected area. Always ensure that your car's surface is sealed or protected with wax at regular intervals. This will help eliminate problems and minimize the adherence of pollutants in the car paint.

For best results, please use a microfiber clothe or an appropriate application sponge every time you need to clean off the surface of any car. This ensures that the car's paint finish is protected from further scratches. In case you need to work on larger areas, it would necessarily require more work rubbing tar off. Clay bars may also be used but it might require more work than usual and besides, clay bars are often quite expensive.

Alternative Tar Removal Options

If you don't want to buy any of the tar removal products, there are several things you can find right in your home which may effectively and safely be used as tar remover, such as the following:

  • Peanut butter - Choose the smooth variety of course and apply it on tar-affected areas, leave on for half an hour, then repeatedly wipe off. You may also try to let the car sit under the sun for a bit after application and wipe off. Wash the residue afterwards and wax the car as above.
  • Fat or shortening (like Crisco) - Apply same way as the peanut butter.

Tar removal products help do the job faster and no matter how much time it may take you, it is worth your while because you will regain your car's smooth finish. It is important to remember that since this is a chemical substance and could be highly poisonous if ingested by both adult and children, care must be exercised in using it. Make sure you wash your hands properly after making use of any tar removal product and keep it in a safe place out of children' reach.


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