How to remove tar residue on your vehicle using household products

Time to kick some asphalt
by Leandre Grecia | Jun 19, 2019
PHOTO: Sumanamul15 (from Pixabay)

Remember those newly asphalted roads you passed by this morning? Yeah, they’re a sight to behold and a pleasure to drive on. But what some of you might not know is that tar on these new roads can get kicked onto your car’s fenders, mud flaps, bumpers, and windshield—and it’s pretty much impossible to remove with just soap and water.

The only thing you need to remember is that the longer the tar buildup has been sitting dry on your vehicle, the harder it might be to get it off. Other than that, there’s no need to worry too much since the tar removal is simple and it won’t damage your paint job if done correctly.

There are a number of ways to remove the black, stubborn residue that has accumulated on your vehicle’s exterior. Same as with other car stains, many people don’t really know the easiest ways to remove it, so we’re giving you some tried and tested tips. For this, we stick to using some easily accessible products. Check out the instructions below.

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1) Choose which household product to use.

Three common products you can use for tar removal are WD-40, kerosene, or peanut butter—yes, the oil from actual creamy peanut butter helps, and no, you are not supposed to use the crunchy and chunky type. Any of these three will soften the tar and make it easier to remove.

2) Apply the product on the affected areas and let it rest.

Once you’ve picked your tar-removing substance of choice, it’s time to put it to use. If you’re using WD-40, you can either spray it directly onto your vehicle, or rub it on using a microfiber cloth. Take note, however, that you should use WD-40 on your windshield sparingly—applying too much might make it difficult to clean off afterwards. As for peanut butter or kerosene, put some on a microfiber cloth first, then rub it onto your car.

You need to let the product sit on the tar for at least 30 seconds for it to take effect. After that, you may gently buff it on some more, then proceed to the next step.

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3) Clean off the residue with car shampoo and water.

Wash the affected area with car shampoo, then rinse it clean with water.

Check if there’s any tar left. If your car is back to a squeaky-clean state, then you just have to make sure that you’ve completely washed off the substance you used to remove the tar. But if you see some residues left, then you should...

4) Repeat the first three steps as needed.

Don’t expect to get everything off in one try—especially if we’re talking about hardened tar that has been stuck on your vehicle for some time now. It’ll eventually go off, but you might need multiple takes for this. Be patient and make sure you follow the instructions properly to avoid damaging your precious car’s paint.

If you’re willing to spend the extra dough for a (probably) quicker and easier process, then by all means, feel free to do so. There are a number of commercial products for tar removal that you can find at your local auto store—you can even find someone with firsthand experience to tell you which brand you should use. Heck, you can even keep your hands clean and avoid all the dirty work by simply taking your car to a detailing shop—whatever floats your boat. But regardless of how you want to go about tar removal, just keep in mind that the sooner you clean off the stains, the better.

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Did we miss anything? Feel free to share below the other tricks you might know of.

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PHOTO: Sumanamul15 (from Pixabay)
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