How to Get Pine Sap Off of a Car

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Sometimes it's impossible to avoid parking under a tree. Fallen leaves will usually wipe or blow right off your vehicle with no problem, but dripping sap is another matter entirely. Left in place for long enough, pine sap and other tree sap will harden on your car's finish and become nearly impossible to remove without taking the finish right off with it. Make this job as easy on yourself as possible by tackling it as soon as you notice the pine sap on your car.

Things You'll Need

  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton ball
  • Soft cloth
  • Uncap the bottle of nail polish remover and place a cotton ball over its opening.

  • Tip the bottle of polish remover upside down briefly, then rotate it back up again, to saturate the cotton ball with polish remover.

  • Swab the pine sap on the car with the cotton ball until the sap is thoroughly dampened with the nail polish remover. Let sit until the sap is soft--sometimes as much as an hour, which case you may need to swap the sap repeatedly with more nail polish remover to keep it damp--then wipe the sap off with a soft cloth.

  • Repeat as necessary to remove all the sap.

  • Wash the car as usual and wax it--or at least the area where the sap was--after you've removed all the sap.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the nail polish remover doesn't get the sap off, try using a bar of automotive clay--you should be able to purchase this product at an automotive shop--to remove the sap. Wet the sap-covered area of your car down with water or a water-based lubricant, place the bar of clay against the sap-covered area, and work the bar back and forth as if you were scrubbing with it. Use light to medium pressure as you scrub, and make sure to keep the surface you're working on wet--you may need to spray it repeatedly. The sap should come off easily.

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