5 Steps To Remove Sap From Your Car | Autance

If you are obsessive, like most car owners, about keeping your car as clean as possible at all times, it…

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5 Steps To Remove Sap From Your Car | Autance © 5 Steps To Remove Sap From Your Car | Autance

If you are obsessive, like most car owners, about keeping your car as clean as possible at all times, it can be incredibly frustrating to find droppings of sticky sap all over the paintwork or windows. As well as making your prized possession look tacky and untidy, it also takes some serious work to remove it. When you park your bright primary colored toned car, regardless of the model, in an area full of beautiful pines, you put your car at risk of getting covered in those beautiful trees’ sap.

Although sap does not pose an immediate threat to your car’s paintwork, it is vital that you don’t ignore it. Over the course of time the sap can actually etch into the clear coat over your paintwork, causing stains and discoloration.

It is likely that you clicked on this article because you want to know how exactly you can clean sap off your car.

According to one of Nissan’s paint material engineers, Leonard Raykinsteen, it is difficult to say for sure how sap will affect paintwork in the short term, as sap concentration can vary greatly. However, he did state that if it was left untreated for a long time, it would cause damage to the paintwork.

Therefore, when you notice sap collecting up on your paintwork, that is the time you should sort it out or plan to sort it out, not many more weeks further down the line.

How soon should you do it? As the weather conditions and sap concentration play a part, there is no way of suggesting a set time. However, it is worth noting that tree sap effects are increased in hot temperatures.

Below are tried and tested hints and tips for removing tree residue and sap from your car properly.

What You Will Need

  • 2 x Clean soft towels or terry cloths
  • Blade for a box cutter, to be used on the glass only
  • 1 x bottle or can of either rubbing alcohol or bug and tar remover
  • Wash mitt or sponge and a bucket of water
  • Quick detailer polish or spray wax
  • Muscle power and lots of patience

What You Need To Do

  • Wash Your Car

Start the process of removing sap by washing and drying your car as this creates a clean work surface.

  • Pour Remover Or Rubbing Alcohol Onto The Cloth

Choose a spot of sap and pour some remover onto either the clean terry cloth or wash cloth. We would recommend that you use something like the Turtle Wax’s Bug and Tar Remover, which can be picked up from most good automobile parts and convenience stores for under ten bucks. Failing that , remember you can also use rubbing alcohol.

  • Place The Cloth Impregnated with the Remover or Rubbing Alcohol On The Sap

Take the cloth and place it on top of the sap area you have chosen to work on first and let it sit there for a minimum of 30 seconds.

  • Rub The Area

After 30 seconds, start to rub the area of sap until it is completely gone. It may take repeating the process a number of times to remove the more stubborn sap. If there is still tree sap present, fingernails can be useful for lightly scratching some of it away. There is likely to be some goo or residue leftover.

  • Wax

Once the paintwork of your car is sap-free, take the wax and spray a few mists over the paintwork. Polish that off or clean it with a detailing cloth and then you are ready to go.

What if you have tree sap on your windows or windshield? Not to worry. If it has not hardened and is relatively fresh, unless you want to have gooey streaks that will block your vision when driving, don’t use your windshield wipers.

You can actually follow the steps above to remove sap from your car’s windows too, but remember to use a glass cleaner instead of wax when you are finishing off.

Another handy tip is to use a very sharp blade from a box cutter. It is relatively easy and quick to use this method and works most effectively with the sap has hardened and is tar-like in texture. Additionally, this is also a great method for getting rid of those pesky window stickers you no longer want.

It is not difficult to remove tree sap, as you can see from the above. It does, however, require some hard work, diligence and patience.


  1. How to Get Sap Off a Car – Your Mechanic
  2. How to Remove Tree Sap From a Car – howstuffworks
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