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Vehicle maintenance mostly has to do with washing your car, checking car fuel and giving your car some good polishing. Most of the maintenance that you can do on your own has to do with the exterior of your vehicle or to be exact the paint. Your car’s paint is not only there to make for a good look but it also serves as a protective layer from all kinds of factors.
The paint itself can get damaged from the sun, bird droppings, oxidation and not washing it properly and regularly. Water spots, fingerprints, fuel stains, the paint fading, paint chips and a number of other factors can also affect the state of the paint coat. But one often underestimated cause of paint damage is tree sap.
What is Tree Sap?
Tree sap is to trees what blood is to us – a vital fluid that keeps everything going. There are two types of this nutrient and mineral-rich fluid – xylem and phloem. The former is necessary for transferring water, minerals and hormones through the tree and the latter is a sticky substance which contains sugars necessary for the tree’s growth.
Tree sap on car can damage the paintwork if left to dry out and if you try to remove it without the proper products you can end up causing more harm than good. The way tree sap damages the paint job is that it eats away the cars clear coat first and then gets to the paint. This type of damage can cost you a lot if you do not remove the sap from your vehicle on time.
How to Remove Tree Sap
What You Need
Before you begin with this vehicle maintenance process make sure you have a bucket of water, sap remover solution/ rubbing alcohol, clean terry cloth/ soft towels and a box cutter blade. Don’t forget to bring a sponge/ wash mitt and a quick detailer polish/ spray wax. Give your car a good wash with some hot water and soap and let it dry off completely or dry it off using multiple microfiber towels or a chamois one or maybe both. Washing the car can also help get rid of some of the tree sap that hasn’t been sitting on the car for a very long time.
Locate & Apply
Tree sap on car is usually hardened and it is a clear or reddish raised area. In case the sap has stayed on your car for a while it could have begun eating into the paint. There could be some deterioration depending on how long it’s been on your vehicle. Once you’ve found all the areas with tree sap it’s time to get it off your ride.
Put several drops of sap remover solution/ rubbing alcohol on the towel/ terry cloth and place it onto the hardened tree sap. Hold it there anywhere from 30 seconds up to a minute and apply some pressure to it so the remover/ rubbing alcohol soaks in. After that, start rubbing the sap away but do so gently so you don’t spread it around and cause a bigger issue. In case the sap doesn’t come off the first time you do this, you can repeat this process multiple times until it does come off.
What If I Have Tree Sap on My Windshield/ Windows?
You can try removing the sap the same way you do when it’s on the paint but you can also try removing it with the box cutter blade. Make sure you do this car fix without using the windshield wipers especially to get rid of the sap especially if it’s fresh as it will spread around. Keep the blade flat to the surface of the glass so you don’t scratch it – this can become an issue of its own.
Once you safely remove all the tree sap apply some spray wax/ quick detailer polish on the paint and clean it with a detailing cloth. Doing this will give your car a nice shiny look and it will ensure that the paint stays protected from future mishaps and it also reduces the chances of tree sap causing damage in the future.
Preventing Future Damage
To prevent tree sap from getting on your car in the future make sure you avoid parking your vehicle underneath or close to trees. Also just in case tree sap and other unwanted substances like bird droppings and bug guts do get on your vehicle consider getting a ceramic coat applied. This type of coat, if properly applied, will save you the time and effort you have to put in to remove tree sap. A ceramic coating is extremely hydrophobic and it makes for an incredibly slippery and flat surface. This type of car fix will make the sap slide off of the paint and prevent it from sticking and causing serious damage.