Trees produce great protection from the hot and damaging rays of the sun until you get their sap on your car and then they are somewhat of a nuisance. I know it is easy to forget about the sap that has so nicely been deposited on your hood or roof, but you should remove it as soon as possible. The longer it stays stuck on your car the harder it will be to remove. Also over time it can damage your clear coat that protects your paint. Tree sap is not hard to remove; however it does require some simple preparation and tools.
Start with the proper tools. While you will find several how to's that will tell you it is OK to use nail polish, paint thinner or various other household chemicals to remove tree sap from your car, don't! These chemicals will remove the sap; however, they can also damage your vehicle. We recommend you use either a citrus-based degreaser or paint safe solvent. Citrus-based degreasers are easier to find however they will take a little more elbow grease to get the sap off. There are several paint safe solvents that you can find in the detailing section of your local store which require a little less work to use. Which ever you choose follow the directions on the package.
Once you have decided on a cleaning agent it is time to prep and remove the sap from your vehicle. Be sure to pre-rinse the area being treated to avoid scratching your surface with surrounding debris or dirt. It is a great idea to wash your entire car, remove the sap and then wax your car as you normally would. Always use a clean applicator that is free of dirt. Paper towel, cloth towel, or microfiber will work. Apply the solvent to the applicator and rub the sap in a circular motion. If the sap has been there for a long time and is very hard it may take a little time for solvent to rehydrate and dissolve the sap. Take care when you are rubbing the sap that you don't over apply pressure to the paint and leave scratches on your surface. It may take a couple of applications but the sap will wipe right off.
Even though you may take extra precaution to keep from damaging the clear coat of your vehicle, sometimes it is inevitable. This could be because of the type of sap, length of exposure, and area of the country. If the areas that were treated for sap have signs of marring then please follow instructions for how to properly compound and polish your car.
Now that you have removed the sap from your car you should finish by waxing. At the very least you should wax the areas that were treated with the solvent but now is a great time to wash and wax your entire car. If you are unsure of how to wax your car, read over our previous article how to hand wax your car.
Read more about this at on our detailing blog at Gainesville Detailing for this and other helpful tips on how to take care of your vehicle.
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