How to Get Sap Off Your Car

How-to

I personally love it when my car is clean. Nothing annoys me more than finding sap on my car, right on the paint or windows. The problem with drops of sap is that they can prove notoriously difficult to remove. Considering the bright red color of my car, it can stand out when it’s got sap on it and I have to get it removed almost every week.

Now, the sap’s not immediately going to destroy the paint on your car. That doesn’t mean you should ignore it, though, because the sap will eventually eat through the paint and discolor your car. But how, exactly do you clean it off?

The think about sap is that no two drops are typically the same. They have different concentrations so it’s hard to tell just how long it will be before they damage the paint on your car. The fact, however, is that if you leave them long enough they will eventually damage your paint. The best thing you can do is remove them as soon as possible. Sap can get even worse when the conditions are especially hot.

I discovered a simple set of steps that have helped me over the years. I’m going to share them with you and, hopefully, you’ll never have to worry about sap on your car again.

What you’ll need

  • Patience and some muscle
  • Spray wax and some detailer polish
  • A bucket of water and a sponge
  • A bottle of tar remover or rubbing alcohol
  • A box cutter blade which you shouldn’t use on anything other than glass
  • Clean towels

What you should do

  • First hand wash your vehicle and dry it thoroughly. The surface of the car needs to be clean before we can begin working on it
  • Next, find where the sap spot is and pour a couple of drops of the tar remover onto the clean towel. Most of these tar removers can be found at your local convenience store and won’t cost you more than about $10. You can also use rubbing alcohol as an alternative
  • Place the towel with the tar remover on top of the sappy spot and let it sit there for about a minute
  • Once the minute is over rub the area thoroughly until there’s no more sap. Now, this is where the elbow grease and patience come in. Remember when we said sap comes in varying concentrations? Well, some saps can be extremely hard to remove and might need you to keep pouring some tar remover on the cloth and repeating the previous step before rubbing the sap off. It will basically be soaking and rubbing for a while. Don’t worry, though, it will eventually come off
  • If the cloth doesn’t seem completely effective, you can enlist the help of your nails in scratching the hard parts of it off. This is typically the hardest goo to remove with the cloth
  • Once all the sap is gone from your car, you can take the spray wax and spray a bit of it on the paint. Add detailer polish and polish it with another clean towel. Your car should look good as new at this point
If the sap is on the windows of your car or the windshield but isn’t hardened yet, the last thing you should do is to use the windshield wipers on it. You’ll just end up with ugly streaks of sap all over your windshield.

You can follow all the steps above for sap on the windshield with the exception of the last one, where you’ll replace the spray wax with any good glass cleaning product. The box cutter blade can also help here, especially if the sap is hardened.