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Beyond the common car paint problems your car incurs over time, there is also the issue of tar, bugs, and other stubborn particles sticking to your car’s exterior. This can occur when a passing driver kicks up tar onto your car or when you are driving on a newly paved road.
As a result, remnants of the sticky tar residues will end up adhering to the beautiful paintwork on your vehicle. And if you let them sit on the car paint for too long, they might damage the paintwork.
Therefore, it’s important to get rid of these stubborn particles from your car paint. Unfortunately, unlike most grime and grit, bug splatters and tar residues are not easy to remove with a simple wash.
Not to forget that trying to scrub away dried-up tar and bug residues will likely leave your car’s paint job with swirls or scratches.
On the bright side, using the best bug & tar remover for car paint to remove these residues will leave your car’s bodywork smooth and shiny. Thanks to their ability to quickly dissolve bug splatters, tar, tree sap, and baked-on bird poop on your car paint with minimal effort.
In this article, we’ll check out some of the best bug and tar removers you can use to remove tar spots and tar stains from your car surface. First, here’s something you may want to know about bug & tar removers!
What is a bug & tar remover?
A bug & tar remover is a dedicated formula specifically designed to soften and melt sticky residues on various surfaces. In most cases, it works by liquifying or softening tacky residue and hardened insect carcasses.
Moreover, a high-quality bug & tar remover even leaves the cleaned surface with a smoother finish, making it difficult for contaminants to adhere to the surface in the future.
Interestingly, these products are not just limited to tar and bug splatters. Instead, they can be used to clean many other difficult spots on your car’s exterior. For instance, they dissolve the glue/adhesive residues left behind by a dealership logo/ bumper sticker in minutes.
Similarly, if you park your car near trees that produce sap, you can use bug & tar removers to smooth it away. Also, tar removers can practically melt away asphalt and burnt rubber.
Overall, there are many tough jobs you can use with a bug and tar remover apart from getting rid of tar residues and bug splatters on your car paint.
Top Bug and Tar Removers for Car Paint
1. Turtle Wax T-520A Bug & Tar Remover
Seeing that Turtle Wax is a reputable brand in car detailing products, it should not come as a surprise that they’ve one of the best bug & tar removers on the market. Its T-520A tar remover comes in a 16 oz. spray bottle and features a potent concoction of petroleum distillates.
This allows it to effectively soften and break down stuck-on tar, tree sap, bugs, and any other sticky contaminants on your car surface for easy removal. At the same time, it enhances your car’s finish by restoring a deep gloss shine.
To apply this formula, simply spray it on the residues you want to remove, wait one minute, and then wipe it away with a microfiber towel. Afterward, you can polish the car’s surface to reveal a shiny finish.
With its non-drip formula, this product gives you total control for precision spot treatment. While the wide-angle nozzle on its spray can allow for even coverage.
In addition, this non-toxic formula is safe to use on various surfaces. For instance, you can use it on car paint, clear coat, headlights, metal, glass, and plastic surfaces.
This makes it the perfect accessory to carry along when you’re going for a road trip to wash away the inevitable tar spots, bird droppings, and bug stains your car collects on the road.
- The non-drip formula makes it ideal for spot-cleaning
- Convenient spray-and-wipe application
- Great tar remover for car paint, plastic, and metal
- Ideal for off-road use
- Some stubborn stains may require a bit of scrubbing to remove with this spray
2. Chemical Guys CWS-104 Concentrated Tar and Bug Remover
Chemical Guys CWS-104 is a great bug and tar remover for city motorists, truckers, off-roaders, and fleet/ courier vehicle owners. Thanks to its ability to clean even the dirtiest cars defaced by road tar, bird poop, grease, mud splatter, bugs, and any other contaminant.
Even better, its pre-wash concentrated formula is safe to use on various car surfaces including the headlights, windshield, paint, hood, bumper, and grill.
However, since this formula is a concentrate. You should not pour it directly into the car. Instead, you should use 1 full cap of the solution to make a gallon of car wash liquid.
Alternatively, you can dilute it to a lesser amount, spray it directly on specific areas like the bonnet, leave it for about 30 seconds and then hose it down.
Whichever the case, this solution acts on stubborn tar stains without the need for scrubbing, keeping your car’s paintwork free from swirls and scratches.
More importantly, this bug and tar remover is available in 3 different quantities (16 oz, 64 oz, and 128 oz). Therefore, you can easily choose any size you want, whether you run a detailing business or intend to use it on your car.
- Available in various sizes to choose from
- Ideal for all types of vehicles
- Preserves shiny and clean car paintwork in the long run
- Safely removes tar, bugs, tree sap, and bird droppings
- Safe to use on single-stage car paint and clear coat
- Doesn’t come ready to use since it needs to be diluted with water
3. CarPro TarX Tar and Adhesive Remover
Available in a 1-liter spray bottle, CarPro TarX tar remover is a professional-grade car clear that will last you through multiple auto detailing sessions. It is effective at removing tar, bugs, asphalt, and adhesive residues while protecting your car’s paintwork from harmful chemicals.
Even better, its non-toxic, neutralizing formula will protect your car’s surface from rust and corrosion.
Another interesting thing about this tar remover is that its formula is made from orange peel extracts and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. Yet it works quickly and efficiently once sprayed to get rid of any contaminants on your car‘s surface. In addition, it’s safe to use on other parts of the car like tires.
To apply this formula, simply spray the solution to the area with tar with bugs and leave it for about 2 to 8 minutes. Next, wipe and wash the dirt away with a microfiber cloth and you’ll have successfully removed any tar residues without harming the car paint.
Unfortunately, this product is not available for sale in some states like California, Alaska, and Hawaii since it doesn’t meet FAA regulations. So, if you live in any of these states, move on to the next tar and bug remover.
- Liquifies adhesives and tar from car tape/ stickers
- Fast & easy to use
- Excellent parts & equipment cleaner
- Doesn’t contain harsh or chlorinated solvents
- Professional strength formula
- Not available in some states like California, Alaska & Hawaii
- Not ideal for use on plastic or acrylic paint
4. Meguiar’s Heavy-Duty Tar Remover
Meguiar’s is one of the most popular and trusted brands in the car detailing industry, thanks to the quality and affordability of its products. Interestingly, its G180515 heavy-duty bug and tar remover is not an exception!
This tar remover comes in a 15 oz spray can with a professional-grade concentration that rehydrates and softens tar deposits and dead bugs on your car surface effectively. More notably. It’s safe to use on car paint, clear coat as well as all exterior surfaces.
After applying this formula to your car, it produces a thick foam that is designed to break down tar and bug splatters. The solution should then be left on the car surface for 5 minutes, before gently scrubbing the affected areas with a microfiber cloth.
The only downside of this tar remover is that its foam does not last as long as concentrated products. So, to get the same results as the Chemical Guys or TarX adhesive remover, you probably have to buy 2 spray cans of Meguiar’s tar remover.
Other than that, this formula is LSP-free and doesn’t leave any water spots on the car surface, provided you dry the area thoroughly after washing.
- Easy to use
- Reasonable price
- Rehydrates & softens tar deposits and dead bugs
- Safe to use on all exterior surfaces and car paint
- The foam isn’t as durable as concentrated formulas
5. Stoner Car Care Tar and Sap remover
Stoner Car Care tar remover is a fast-acting cleaner that allows you to get rid of stubborn tar, tree sap, grime, grease, and bugs that bake into your car paint. In addition, it’s specifically designed to break down the molecules in the toughest grime, bird droppings, asphalt, tree sap, and other environmental elements.
And all you need to do is to apply this formula to the stain and wipe the surface clean with erase wipes.
Talking of application, this tar remover comes in a 10 oz spray can, making it extremely easy to use. Specifically, you only need to spray it on the targeted area, wait for 1 minute, and then wipe the surface clean. Unlike some tar removers, you don’t need to scrub anything, thus eliminating the need to grind or scratch the car paint finish.
Lastly, this tar remover is made of unique microactive cleaning agents, giving it an unexceptionally fast and simple way to clean various contaminants without harming the clear coat or car paint. Also, this makes it ideal for use on chrome bumpers without causing any damage.
- Fast-acting formula
- Easy to apply
- Doesn’t need any abrasive scrubbing
- Safe of clear coat, car paint, and other types of car finishes
- Not ideal for use on plastic surfaces
Things to consider when buying the best tar and bug remover for car paint (Buying Guide)
In terms of versatility, look for tar and bug remover that is safe to use on various car parts apart from car paint. If possible, look for a product that can be used to clean your car’s exterior and interior, tires, and wheels with a single wash.
In addition, it should be ideal to work on various contaminants like bird droppings, tree sap, tar residues, bug splatters, grime, and so on.
To remove tar residues and bug splatters, you need a product that comes in convenient packaging to make it easy to apply the tough elements on your car finish.
In general, you should consider a tar remover that comes with a spray cap, spray adapter, nozzle, or spray bottle. Especially if you’re planning to use it when you’re going for a road trip so that you don’t have to carry 2 containers.
Some liquid products tend to leak or run onto other intended surfaces as you try to apply them to a specific area. For instance, they may end up dripping onto delicate glass or plastic surfaces, yet they might not be safe to use on such surfaces.
To avoid these issues, look for a tar remover that has a non-drip formula. This will allow you to apply it accurately to the intended area.
Asphalt and tar residues are almost impossible to avoid, especially if you drive your car on a freshly paved road. Luckily, there are several ways to get rid of these residues without damaging the car paint. Using the best tar remover for car paint is, by far, the easiest and most efficient method.
When used correctly, tar removers will nicely wash away any tar stain on your car, while conditioning the car’s paint and finish. More importantly, their formulas have immense cleaning power, but they are mostly safe to use on various surfaces.
Read next: What is the best single-stage car paint?