CARS.COM — I like to keep my car clean, all the time, and nothing is more frustrating than finding drops of sticky sap all over your car’s windows or paint. It looks tacky and it’s tough to remove. My cherished Rally Red 2001 Chevrolet Camaro stands out like a matador in a bull arena filled with pine trees, and I frequently have to remove sap during my weekly car wash.
Sap will not immediately damage a car’s paint, but it should not be ignored. After some time, the sap can etch through the paint’s clear coat, leading to discoloring and staining. How do you clean it off?
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“The concentration of sap generally varies, so it is difficult to say what the short-term effects would be, but it will certainly cause paint damage if left untreated for a longer period of time,” says Leonard Raykinsteen, a paint material engineer at Nissan. “If sap is detected on a vehicle’s paint finish, it should be removed in a timely manner. How soon? I don’t think anyone can truly define it because it depends on the concentration of the sap as well as the weather conditions. Generally, when it is hot, the effects of tree sap are accelerated.”
For years, I’ve had great results by following the steps below, yet I reached out to our friends at West Loop Auto for a few more tips and tricks on how to properly remove tree sap and tree residue from your vehicle.