How to remove sap/pitch stains from car exterior

Hello everyone!

So, I just got home from being offshore for 28 days, and found my car covered… completely inundated with tree pitch and debris from a pecan tree we have in our driveway. This came as a complete surprise to me; neither of my roommates told me that this was going on, and neither of them offered to move my car for me (they have a spare key for emergencies). This is the first year we’ve lived at the house, so I never knew it could possibly be this bad!

So, I did my best using household cleaners to get the sticky, dirty, brown/black stuff off. I did a pretty good job, but now my car has tons of dark stains all over it. I’m thinking it’s pretty hopeless… probably going to need a paint job honestly. I can post pictures if you guys want to see what I’m talking about.

So I’ve gotten all the pitch/sap off, and washed the car thoroughly. All that’s left are these stains. They seem pretty inset, and no cleaner I had handy seemed to get them out. Is there any way to remove these stains? The pitch and sap itself is all gone for the most part, so I don’t know what, if anything, would be the best thing to try.

I’m not even sure who I should talk to or where I should shop to try and get something if there is anything that will help. An auto-supply store maybe? An auto-body shop?

Thanks so much for the help!

You could try bug and tar remover. Stores like AutoZone will have it.

Baby oil works well, but you have to wash it off after. Oh, pecans? Not really pitch, then. Try a good cleaner wax, also available at an Auto Zone or similar place.

Try a clay bar made for automotive use. They usually come in a kit with the bar and lubricant, plus instructions. Just about any auto parts store has them. The *mart type stores probably do as well. Should run you about 20 bucks.

He already got the sap off, it just left stains.

Pics would help but the first thing to try would probably be wax. If that doesn’t work, you could try rubbing it with compound, but it will most likely need to be buffed. Buffing always works better than rubbing it by hand. Assuming you don’t have a buffer or know how to use one, your best bet is paying a detail or body shop to buff and polish it.

Well, I paid a detail guy to come out. They washed it. They buffed it. They used a clay bar.

It looks a lot better, but there are a lot of stains that just wouldn’t come out. I am supposing that that’s pretty much the last word, other than a new paint job.

Thanks for the tips guys!

Maybe the stains will fade over time from the Sun’s UV. [/hopeful thinking]

You got the right answer in 1. That bug & tar remover that comes in the white container works wonders. You can get fancier and more expensive stuff that might work just as well, but I doubt anything would work better than that stuff and some gentle circular motions with a soft towel or an old t-shirt/underwear.

ETA: Gently wash and rinse that area of the car, and let it dry, before using the B&T Remover.

I like Paint Thinner (make sure it’s pure mineral spirits). Try one spot and see what happens. I’ve used Paint Thinner for over thirty years removing road tar, bird poop. I bet it’ll get tree sap off too. Wash & rinse well after. I’ve never seen Paint Thinner hurt a car finish, but I always wash & rinse it off within ten minutes.

The other option is a pressure washer. I had my house siding and driveway done. As a free bonus he did my car too. :smiley: He got off some really stubborn mold/mildew around my car moldings.

Hey this is a family Message Board! :slight_smile:

Googone has worked pretty well for me dealing with pine sap.

Use a non abrasive rubbing compound like this. I had some unintentional damage done to my car’s finish due to some metallic ribbon during my recent wedding, nothing in my arsenal of automotive products would get it off. Tried the Meguiars, it all came off and didn’t ruin the finish.