Out damn spot!
March 27, 2007 8:23 PM   Subscribe

How do I get these black spots off my car?

I think it's tree sap. They are small black spots all over my car, each about the size of a pinhead. The material is soft; I can scrape it off with my thumbnail. A run through the car wash (and plenty of ran and snow after) has not removed, well, any of it.

So, how can I get it off? I was thinking of something like Goo Gone, but I'm afraid of doing bad things to the paint. Am I going to be forced to pick each little dot off with my nails?
posted by backseatpilot to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Clay bar kit.
posted by paulsc at 8:27 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had something similar on my car once (at least, it was some kind of sticky goo), and Goo Gone worked without damaging the paint. I applied it full strength, then rubbed gently with a soft towel.

Of course, I tested Goo Gone in a corner first, just to make sure it wouldn't hurt anything. Your car's finish may vary.
posted by scarlet at 9:52 PM on March 27, 2007

There's tree and sap remover products at your local auto parts store or Wal-Mart, but the Clay Bar will do a better job and is much more fun.
posted by SpecialK at 10:12 PM on March 27, 2007

A clay bar will take FOREVER to remove tree sap.

If you have them around the house, try Crisco or peanut butter.

Goo gone will work as will WD40 or Rubbing alcohol. You will probably want to wax the area afterwards.
posted by mphuie at 3:26 AM on March 28, 2007

I don't think it's tree sap. I think it's probably road tar.

WD40 is your friend. Just be sure to clean it off before you go driving, and don't smoke around it. It's flammable.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:31 AM on March 28, 2007

Tiny black pin-points? Actually, it probably IS sap. I've had this before, especially in the spring.
The bug/tar/sap remover/wash that you get at auto parts stores will take of it, for the most part. Some of the spots may prove to be tough, though.

The suggestion of a clay bar is right-on. However, electing to use a claybar pretty much requires that you spend a day doing it right...washing it, using the clay bar, polishing, then a high-quality wax (I think that's the correct order...I always get confused as to whether the claybar comes before the polishing)
Of course, I would suggest a good polishing and waxing, anyway, so adding the claybar to the mix merely kills the rest of the day.
The wax is the key, if you want to be able to remove future sap deposits more easily.
In the end, your car will have an awesome finish.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:09 AM on March 28, 2007

Sap combines with road dirt to form a particularly tenacious black substance. Presoak the car, either with a rainy day, or frequent hosing-down. wash w/ lots of suds. keep it wet, wash again. This gets rid of a lot of it. Then use the advice above on a much smaller set of drops. Then wax it really well, so that subsequent rounds of treatment are easier.
posted by theora55 at 8:17 AM on March 28, 2007

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