Unknown substance attacks!
June 19, 2011 4:03 PM   Subscribe

[CarDetailingFilter]Just finished washing the wife's car. There is an odd substance on the back windshield and on the passenger side rear quarter panel. Not sure how to get it off. Details inside...

The substance is somewhere between glue and gum. It is slightly tacky to the touch, and has not come off easily with a bristle brush (quarter panel) or razor (windshield). Instead of coming off how I would expect gum to come off, it only comes off in small pieces/flakes. What could I spray on or apply to get this off?
posted by kuanes to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Is it tree sap? You could try Goof-Off, but test it somewhere inconspicuous first to make sure it won't damage the finish on the quarter panel.
posted by COD at 4:14 PM on June 19, 2011

Rubbing alcohol is great for removing sticky things. You could also try nail polish remover with acetone. Try both in an inconspicuous spot, as COD suggests.
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:33 PM on June 19, 2011

Response by poster: I was thinking isopropyl alcohol, but am concerned about what it will do to the clear coat or paint. Not sure where an inconspicuous place is, either. Maybe the door frame (with the door open)?

I don't think it's tree sap. We live in central VA, and there's not much putting out a sap at this time.
posted by kuanes at 4:38 PM on June 19, 2011

Alcohol can damage car finishes as you suspect, and acetone is even more likely to be a problem. Either should be okay on the glass, but I wouldn't risk it elsewhere.
posted by jon1270 at 4:53 PM on June 19, 2011

I use a product called Bug and Tar. The one we have is ok to use on paint.
posted by Knowyournuts at 5:50 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: Secret Detailer Fact: plain-Jane WD-40 is a cheap and near-miraculous road tar remover that is safe on car surfaces.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:07 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: You can use lighter fluid to remove sticky substances too. It really does work wonders, and evaporates instead of leaving an oily residue like some other goo removers do. I might have used it on a painted surface before, but I can't recall for sure, so you'd want to try it on an inconspicuous area first.
posted by youngergirl44 at 12:20 AM on June 20, 2011

Aphids are probably the cause of this. Removal is apparently possible with WD-40 or a goo-gone type substance if its still a fresh dropping. In some cases where it sits there for a long time, it can get embedded in the clear coat, making it effectively impossible to remove (and will involve polishing, possibly repainting).
posted by ijoyner at 9:34 AM on June 20, 2011

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