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How to Clean Tar Off of Your Car

Photo: rsooll (Shutterstock)Whether it happens on a newly paved road, or it was the result of driving on a hot day on a street with a patch job, you may, at some point, find yourself with tar splatted on your car. And this isn’t a problem you can take your time tackling: If the tar…

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Photo: rsooll (Shutterstock)

Whether it happens on a newly paved road, or it was the result of driving on a hot day on a street with a patch job, you may, at some point, find yourself with tar splatted on your car. This is not a problem that you should take time to fix. Tar can cause damage to your paint job if it sits on your vehicle for too long.

And while it may take some elbow grease to make it happen, the tar does come off. Here’s what to know

How to remove tar from your car

As tempting as it is, don’t just jump in and start scraping the tar off of your vehicle. Instead, try one of these methods:

Peanut butter

Think of this as the automotive version of using peanut butter to get gum out of someone’s hair. The

oil in the peanut butter penetrates through the tar
, separating its molecules, making them easier to break down. Just dab some peanut butter onto the stuck-on tar, let it sit for 30 minutes, then wipe it off with a new microfiber cloth. For more sticky situations, you may have to repeat this process.

WD-40 or Goo Gone

If you have one of these household products sitting around, you can use either to remove tar from your vehicle. Spray or pour either WD-40 or Goo Gone onto a clean microfiber cloth, and rub it into the tar. Let it sit for 10-30 minutes, then rub the tar off with a (different) clean microfiber cloth. If you’re using WD-40, take the time to wash off the section where the tar stain was after it has been removed, as residue from the substance could harm your car’s paint job.

Tar remover

There are also products dedicated to tar removal (as well as some formulated to rid your car of tar and bugs) that you can pick up at your local auto parts store. You will need to follow the directions on the bottle. This may involve using the product and applying it with a microfiber towel. It might take several rounds to remove all traces of tar.

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