Complete Guide On How To Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

Brandon Trenton

Updated on:

How To Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

We will soon be witnessing some refreshing, cool air around North America as the late fall season approaches, calming down everything and bringing with it a very serene atmosphere. However, everything has its downside, and so does this pleasant weather. The trees begin to fall off and come down on your vehicle. Whether or not there is a tree around your vehicle, it shall make its way!

Tree sap is an excellent thing for trees, but for car owners, it is definitely a pain. This sticky substance is not just hard to remove but also needs very strong chemicals that harm the car’s paint job to another level. However, there are also some creative and easy ways that remove the tree sap and protect the paint job of your car from these ‘tree droppings’. Let’s look over it!

How Does Tree Sap Damage Your Car’s Paint Job?

Let’s dig a little deep. Tree sap has a very acidic nature, due to which many people confuse it with tree resin as well. However, two different types of tree sap are emitted from the soil, water, and trunk of the tree, and then the leaves distribute it. Certain sugars are contained in the sap that gives the trees life as they are necessary for its food. When these sugars make way to your car in the form of sap, they pose great damage to its paint job.

Meanwhile, there is a different composition of tree resin. The resin acts more like a protective agent against the infections and insect attacks on the tree. All in all, both the tree sap and tree resin cause the plastic trim, car paint, and headlights along with other components that damage the car body a lot.

The surface of your vehicle won’t experience apparent damage initially with the tree sap or resin, but they eventually start eating up the surface when left unattended as they are composed of different sugars and acids. When this process begins, you see stains, discoloring, and many other issues on your car’s surface.

Car Covered With Tree Sap – How Do I Remove It?

No magic number exists for tree sap removal as it is a substance that has different concentrations and must be removed as soon as you observe it.

Avoiding Tree Sap

The most obvious and best way to avoid sap is definitely not parking near or under trees, or use a vehicle cover when there isn’t an option.

Steps to Remove Tree Sap from Car

Let’s move to the real tea. The grade and concentration of sap decide how can it be removed, and many removers like the bug and tar remover or rubbing alcohol are not good for your car despite the fact that they do the job well. High acid concentrations in these can cause further damage to the car surface.

We have compiled a few simple steps to remove the tree sap from your vehicle’s surface.

Supplies Needed to Remove Tree Sap

For this, you will need:

  • Microfiber towels,
  • Car washing supplies,
  • Rubbing alcohol/bug and tar remover
  • Box cutter blade to remove tree sap on glass

Step 1: Wash The Entire Vehicle

Start off with washing the entire vehicle, as there is a great chance of sap being only on small areas on the surface. Thus, the best thing to do is clean your entire car surface as any and every loose material, including sap in some cases, will get removed with it.

Step 2: Dry The Vehicle Completely

Once you have washed the car, now is the time to dry it completely. The surface will get some water spots if it is left to dry on its own, so grab some microfiber towels and pat dry your vehicle.

Step 3: Find Target Areas For Tree Sap

When this is done, figure out the target area for tree sap on your surface. If you have a painter’s tape lying around, use it close to the area you have located and follow the same for the entire vehicle. Knowing exactly where the tree sap is before you begin with moving to the next step of removing it is the best-case scenario for you.

Step 4: Remove The Sap From Vehicle

Moving on, remove the sap from the whole vehicle now. For this, you can use bug and tar remover or rubbing alcohol. If the sap is to be removed from metal, rubbing alcohol is the best cleaning agent while for plastic trim, chrome, and other materials, the smarter option is bug and tar remover.

Follow these steps for sap removal process:

  • Drop a small amount of your preferred cleaning product on a microfiber towel
  • Dab this towel on the tree sap and let it be there for around 30 seconds, so the sap soaks up the cleaning agent
  • Slowly rub this area now until the sap goes away entirely. The process may have to be repeated a few times on some areas, where you must work patiently. Finger nail or elbow grease may also be needed sometimes to scratch the sap.

It is suggested in many that spray wax should be used on the cleaned area, but there’s a slight problem with its use. Any residues of the cleaning product are covered with wax that may end up eating up your surface as a result. Therefore, you must wash the areas again and dry them as prescribed for the starters.

If your car doesn’t have a PPF or ceramic coating, the car wax or paint sealant may be needed on the affected area. You may also go with a DIY ceramic coating on the vehicle so you can easily remove the tree sap incase the issue arises again.

What To Do With Tree Sap On Windows And Windshields?

Tree sap doesn’t land on the painted surface only, and some also stick to your windows or windshield. In such a case, using windshield wipers is the worst thing you could do as the substance will spread on the entire area along with getting embedded in the wipers as well.

Thus, just follow the steps we mentioned above except for the prewash. If the accumulated sap is very hard, a box cutting razor will help to scrape off the stubborn substance first. Then use a cleaner to get rid of whatever is remaining, finishing off with a glass cleaner at the end.

Will A Ceramic Coating Help Protect My Car From Tree Sap?

Removing substances like bug guts, bird droppings, tree sap and similar sticky items is quite a challenge. However, you can cut down the stress of it by giving your car surface a ceramic coat , that gives it a flat, ultra slippery texture which has a very hydrophobic nature. This makes it tough for any sticky substance to get on this protective layer.

If the coating is applied appropriately, the car’s surface under it also remains protected. Tree sap, bird droppings and other dirty items will stay off your car or will be removed easily. This coating lasts for a few years in most cases. In order to protect the paint, ceramic coating is a great option as it protects not just the paint but can be applied on any surface  of the car and work as well to protect those!