Removing Tar from a Car

Tar can get kicked up on the front of car easily during hot weather. Tar can be especially difficult to remove from the paint. This is a guide about removing tar from a car.

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What is the easiest way to remove road tar off of cars? Elbow grease goes a long way, but there has to be an easier way. We wash our car with Dawn and this helps, but the tar stains are so stubborn. Help!

By Peggy

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I may be a little late here but Mayonnaise and a paper towel takes the tar right off. I've done this for years and will never buy special tar remover from the store.

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Does anyone know what takes tar off of cars? I recently got a little bit on mine & can't remember what I read about it. It was a non-chemical/toxic solution.



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sticky stuff remover works well

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Road tar and asphalt which splatters up and sticks to an automobile is almost impossible to remove. That is, unless you first saturate the spots with linseed oil. Allow the oil to soften the tar for a few minutes and you'll find that the grime rubs right off with a piece of coarse cloth.

By duckie-do from Cortez, CO

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What can I use to remove tar from the outside door panels of my automobile?

By Joan from Russellville, AR

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I use kerosene. Put a little on a rag and gently rub the places where there is tar and it will disolve and come off with no harm to the paint.

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Got road tar on your new car? Instead of using abrasive bug and tar removers that can strip off wax, use peanut butter. Just rub a little on the spot with a clean rag and the tar will start coming off. Safe for your paint and earth friendly.

By Steve from Memphis, TN

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Take road tar off you car by smearing it with butter. Leave on overnight and wipe it off in the morning with a rag. Good as new. My friend had bought a brand new car and took it on her first road trip and went thru some road construction. Her car was covered along the bottom of the doors. We used the butter and her car was beautiful again.

By Katz

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How do you remove tar from a car that's been on for a long time? I've used gas, WD40, all types of removers, Varsol, peanut butter, mayo, and nail polish remover. Nothing works!

By Don

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What works for me is adhesive and tar remover available from auto parts stores. Also gasoline does a good job as well. You have to rub it in with a rag. It will look streaky when the tar is removed then wash the area. The longer the tar has been on the car the more difficult it will be to remove.

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To remove tar spatters from your vehicle, spray with Avon Skin So Soft on the tar, let it set a minute or so and wipe off.

By Harlean from AR

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They were re-surfacing the roads in our housing development. I went to the near by local, Mom and Pop market, to get several needed supplies. On getting out of my auto, I noticed tar on the bottom of lower panels and doors.

When I got home, I took out my WD40, went out to my auto, sprayed it on the tar. Used a soft cloth for removal, so not to scratch paint. Using a little elbow grease, it came off like magic.

By Gladys

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There are some items in your kitchen that may be successful in removing tar. Butter, creamy peanut butter, or vegetable oil applied to the tar and left for 12 to 24 hours should soften in and make it easier to remove. If that doesn't work there are a few items from the garage that may work. WD-40, kerosene, or mineral spirits applied directly to the tar should soften it up and make it easier to remove. WD-40, kerosene, or mineral spirits will most likely remove wax from your car as well.

By ThriftyFun


Cleaning Tar From Your Car

Peanut butter works well, and is fairly cheap, although it takes a little bit of elbow grease. (06/23/2006)

By Steve

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

I recently got tar on my car from a construction site around my apartment, I was terrified it wouldn't come out and it was a lot of it sprayed on the side. The car was only 2 weeks old. I knew my hubby would be so upset, so I saw the recommendation of Skin so Soft by Avon. I knew I had some, so I got it and a rag and tried it. I was amazed at how well it worked. I didn't have to rub too hard and it started coming out. (10/03/2006)

By Amanda

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

A paper towel dabbed in corn oil worked on mine. It took it of with some light rubbing. Then a quick rinse with some water did the job. (05/26/2007)

By Sooty

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

The best product I found is Grease B Gone from State Industries, but it is not cheap. $21.00 per pint. (08/01/2007)

By Glen

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

I tried several things to get the tar (the tar was pretty thick) off my van, Skin So Soft, car polish, etc. Then I tried WD40 which worked like a dream. I had to spray it several times, but it really broke up the tar and I was able to wipe it off fairly easily. (11/19/2007)

By bustibarbi

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

Yes, baking soda does work! I had 5 spots in one night on my new car, including the windshield and I just put the baking soda on the spots and used a wet rag and "bam" it came out. I couldn't believe it! Thanks for the tip. (01/18/2008)

By Josh

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

I just went out and tried a few of these suggestions and for me rubbing with baking soda first and coming back to the hard spots with veggie oil was great. Now my hubby won't let me get a new car because the problem is solved. Thanks whoever had this great idea! (02/09/2008)

By la

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

One word, two syllables, Gunwash! It is the easiest way to remove tar from vehicle. Use any clean rag with a bit of Gunwash. It will smudge on first few passes, but with in seconds, boom done. No letting it sit or waiting. Final pass, only swipe in one direction! (06/23/2008)

By Car Cleaning Master

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

I found the bicarb helpful, but when I used eucalyptus oil poured onto a teaspoon of bicarb that had been placed on a damp rag, the results were fantastic! Much less elbow grease was required and a sparkling car afterwards. It works heaps better than a leading brand of tar remover that was useless! (10/03/2008)

By West Aussie guest post

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

I used Goof Off and it works wonders. I had the tar stuck on my car for a whole weekend and I removed it using Goof Off. (11/17/2008)

By Manny

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

Goo Gone works great for getting smoke residue off the windows. Wipe it on, scrub a bit, then wipe it off with a dry microfiber cloth. The microfiber is key to getting a streak-free, residue-free shine.

I am not sure about on painted surfaces, but since it works for painted walls indoors I would guess it might go okay. The Avon bath oil is a good idea. I will have to try it.


By bananapopsicle

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

The baking soda was amazing. Within a minute or two it softened it right up and I could wipe it off. It also worked well on rubbing off bike tire marks on my bumper. (01/16/2009)

By Sara

Cleaning Tar From Your Car

I tried the baking soda and that did work. However, another item we had around the house worked even better, Simple Green. It's just an all-purpose cleaner and it worked great! We just sprayed it on and we wiped the tar off like we were wiping off dirt.


By paroof

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Tips for removing tar from your car or trucks finish. Post your ideas.
Baking Soda 06/01/2005
Use baking soda to take the tar off your car.
By scabansweeps
Skin So Soft 06/01/2005
My sister drove her vet out from California a few years back and had driven through some oily tar and she could not remove it although she had tried all sorts of things. I suggested she try Skin So Soft, by Avon, and she was amazed! It took it off right away!
By jeanne (Guest Post)
Cold Cream 06/01/2005
Cosmetic cold cream works. Rub on and wipe off.
By siris (Guest Post)
Goof Off 06/02/2005
There is a product called Goof Off made by Lilly Industries that works like a charm. I purchased it at K-Mart, but you could probably find it at other similar stores.
By dianajoyce
Gasoline 06/02/2005
Many years ago I used gasoline on a rag to remove it. Worked quite well. Do it outside rather in a closed garage.
By Syd (Guest Post)
WD40 06/05/2005
We used WD-40 to remove a 'lot' of tar from my son's car one time. It worked great, however, my brother told us that when it comes to repainting it, it isn't such a good idea. We didn't have to do that, so it didn't matter.
By (Guest Post)
Avon Bath Oil 06/22/2005
Nothing takes it off better that Avon Bath oil. Borrow it if you have to. It will amaze you, even if it's been there for a long time. Apply it with a rag, let it sit for a minute and wipe it off. No damage to the paint either.
By Ardis Barnes
Bath Oil Worked 07/08/2005
Thanks for the great tips! I used bath oil, and it came right off, wiped clean, no damage to the paint and it was A LOT of tar.
By chicago (Guest Post)

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Consumer Advice Cars Cleaning OutsideNovember 22, 2011
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