Get Rid of Tree Sap On Car With These Easy Tips

Driving a car is one of the most comfortable and economical travel methods for casual use and tourism. However, proper care, regular maintenance, and safe parking are crucial to keep it in the right working order and to increase its longevity. Slight carelessness and choosing the wrong place for parking, such as under a tree, can result in massive trouble because birds poop and tree sap damage car paint easily.

Parking under a tree has never been a good idea as the paint of your car will be at risk. However, you still have to park your car under trees several times due to different reasons. The areas with parking lots don’t require you to park your vehicle under the tree as you can pay a little amount and use the parking lot. But some areas don’t have a parking lot, and you cannot leave your vehicle in the center of the road to invite traffic police and get yourself in trouble.

Therefore you opt for parking your vehicle on the roadside, usually under a tree. There are several reasons why you opt to park cars under trees. The first one is that you park it under shade to prevent it from direct sunlight. Weather too can play a huge role as if there are chances of drizzling, you will again park your car under a tree. However, this will result in tree sap on your car. Dried tree sap damages the paint of your car and makes it look old.

What! Don’t you know enough about tree sap on the vehicle? Don’t worry! We will tell you what tree sap is on the car and the causes of it. We will also guide you on how to get rid of tree sap on a car. So, let’s begin this guide.

Tree Sap and its Causes

Most people think that bird poop is the only thing that they have to clean after parking their car under a tree. But trees release their own sticky liquid as well called sap. It is usually a mixture of water, plant nutrients, hormones, and other similar things. Many of you may think that it’s latex but this is not true. This is different from other secretions of plants and contains different things in it. This mixture of nutrients, hormones, water, etc. gives a sticky texture to sap.

Birch, Maple, and Pine sap are the most sticky ones, and these trees release this sticky material in relatively larger amounts than other trees. Sap will release from anywhere the tree has a cut or broken branch. It will become harder to remove it with time. So, whenever you park your car under a tree, make sure to check for sap and remove it as soon as possible.

get rid of tree sap on car
Photo: Doug Beckers

How To Remove Tree Sap On Car?

Only knowing about tree sap will not be enough as you cannot keep your vehicle prevented from it. You will have to park your vehicle under a tree several times due to different reasons. So the main thing is to find the solution to the problem. Therefore, we are going to guide you on how to get sap off the car.

Different trees release different kinds of sap, as maple trees’ sap is sugary and in larger quantities than Birch trees. Moreover, tree sap in other areas of the car also required different strategies to remove safely and adequately.  Therefore, you need to adopt a few common but effective methods, and the tree sap problem will be solved.

Identify The Type Of Sap

Removing maple, Birch, or Pine tree sap on cars is a time-consuming and critical job because a single mistake can destroy the paint and cause massive financial damages. Therefore, identifying sap type and choosing an appropriate method to separate it safely is crucial to do this job perfectly.

Carefully inspect the vehicle and find out where the tree sap is present. After spotting the location, the next step is checking the stickiness or hardness of the sap. In the case of hard sap, you can use hot water to soften it and remove it using different methods.

Wash The Car

The very first thing that you have to do is wash your vehicle. Try to do so immediately after seeing it in your automobile. Following some effective car cleaning tips during the washing process will help you a lot in removing this sticky material from your vehicle. Make sure to wash your vehicle properly. Using warm water will be a good choice.

If sap hasn’t hardened yet then you can get rid of it during the car detailing. In case tree sap on your car is older, then washing will be helpful. It will remove other stains and enable you to focus on removing the sap only.

Wash the car

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is also one of the most influential and trending methods to eliminate tree sap stains on car. All you need is a steam gun which is readily available in the market. It blows extremely hot steam on the affected area of the vehicle, softens the sap, and wipes it off. Sometimes it does not even involve wiping to remove it.

It’s one of the quick methods to get rid of tree sap stains. The best thing is that it does not damage the car paint, even at sweltering temperatures. However, a good quality steam gun and a suitable method are crucial to ensure perfect results.

Removing Sap by Razor Blades

This may seem insane but it is one of the most effective techniques for removing tree sap from your vehicle. After washing the car, your car will only be left with the tree sap on it. To remove this, you need to take a razor blade. Try to wiggle the blade underneath the sap and peel off the tree sap.

Note: Try this method only if you can do so with great care and patience. A little bit of hurry or stress on the blade will scratch the paint from your car and make it look weird.

Removing Sap by Razor Blades

Using Spirits or Alcohol

Alcohol can be used to eliminate it from your vehicle. You can also use spirit for the same purpose. The best way to use alcohol or spirit to remove tree sap from the car is to pour a small amount of it on the place where the sap is. Then rub it with the help of a cloth and wait for a few minutes. Repeat the process 2 to 3 more times until the sap becomes soft and easy to peel off.

Note: Make sure to use mineral spirits only for this method. Don’t rub so hard that your car paint gets affected.

Cooking Oil

This is an effective method to take fresh sap off your car. This method may not work properly for the painted part of the car. However, you can easily remove it from the car windshield using any available cooking oil. You have to coat the sap with oil and let it sit for a few minutes. After 5 to 10 minutes, take a wet cloth and place it over the oil-coated sap.

Repeat these steps 2 more times and then wipe the sap with the same cloth. After that, you just need to wash that area with hot water and soap. Using this technique will not cause any scratches on the vehicle windshields.

remove sap from the car windshield using any available cooking oil

White Vinegar

Another effective and simplest way to remove tree stains from car paint is using white vinegar. It’s a common kitchen ingredient that does not carry serious health risks or damages. Therefore, anyone can afford and use this tree sap remover easily.

To remove windshield sap or from any other part of the car, spray white vinegar on the sap and leave it for 10 minutes. After that, take a paper towel to remove the sap and rinse that particular area of the vehicle with warm water. In case of intricate stains, you can use steam to make it soft.

Using Commercial Cleaners

A lot of commercial cleaners are available in the market. Sap remover for cars is available at almost every online and traditional superstore. Using these sap removers will give you excellent results within a few minutes. Using them is pretty simple. You just need to follow the guidelines provided with the sap remover and you will have quick results.

It is suggested to wash the whole area with hot water and a good car washing powder or soap. You can also get bug and tar remover from the market to get rid of other sticky materials from your vehicle.

Homemade Sap Remover

A solution of baking soda, lime juice, and vinegar in hot water can help you to remove sticky stuff from the vehicle. It will serve as a homemade sap remover and you can wipe sap on your vehicle with this solution-coated cloth to clear it. It will be super effective for removing it. You can also use this same process to get rid of other sticky materials as well.

Make sure that you are using regular vinegar as the concentrated version of it can dissolve the pain of the car making it look bad.

Go For Re-wash And Wax Your Car

Regardless of the type of method you choose to remove tree sap from the car care and protection are crucial to avoid this stress in the future. Therefore, re-washing and applying wax on the vehicle is essential to complete the sap removal. You can do this job manually or hire professional car wash services.

Wash your car thoroughly to clear tree sap from all parts of the vehicle completely. After washing, dry it and apply wax as a protective layer. It will not let the tree sap harden and stick firmly on the vehicle paint. For more protection eliminating the risk of any stains on car paint, you can also apply a sealant layer after the wax.

apply car wax as a protective layer

Visit an Auto Paint Shop

Removing sap from your car is not that easy. First of all, it will require a lot of patience and concentration. You need to be very precise when removing it from your vehicle. Most of the time, you can damage the paint of your vehicle. This will create even more problems for you. Furthermore, you can also opt for the wrong products to take them off your vehicle. This too will not do any good for your vehicle. And the worst part is when you failed to remove it despite all of your hard work due to minor errors.

Therefore, it is suggested to take your vehicle to an auto paint shop for the removal of sap from it. You just have to find a trusted auto paint shop near you and contact them. After that, you will have to take your vehicle to the shop and hire the sap removal services provided by them. Make sure that you have opted for a well-known and reliable auto paint shop to remove sap from your car. To find such a type of shop you can ask for referrals or check reviews.


How To Fix Tree Sap Damage on Car Paint?

The best way to fix this problem is to avoid it. Sap will affect the pain after 4 to 5 days. Therefore, separating it immediately will not do any damage to the paint. If it has already damaged the paint then you must take your vehicle to an auto paint shop instead of trying something by yourself.

Will Acetone Damage Car Paint?

Yes! It will. Acetone will start dissolving the paint as soon as it comes in contact with it. So never use it to remove sap.

Will Rubbing Alcohol Damage Vehicle Paint?

The concentrated alcohol will damage the paint. However, if you dilute it before rubbing it on sap then it will not damage the paint of your car.

Bottom Line

As promised, we have delivered a complete guide on how to remove tree sap from your car. You can try any one or multiple methods to discard the sap. Follow automotive care tips as well to avoid damage to the paint by tree sap.

Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Umar Tanveer

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