Toyota owner on Long Island removing tree sap from the body of their Toyota vehicle.

How to Clean Off Pesky Tree Sap from Your Toyota’s Paint

Posted at Fri, May 31, 2019 11:30 AM

Depending on where your park your vehicle when you’re not using it, you might walk out one day to find that there’s dried tree sap all over your Toyota. Tree sap is annoying because it’s very noticeable and what’s more, tricky to remove. If you go about the process the wrong way, you run the risk of scratching the paint. Tree sap can be so sticky, in fact, that even going through a car wash may not remove it all. If tree sap accumulation is a problem you face every summer, keep reading! Our staff here at Westbury Toyota has put together a list of tips and surefire ways to get that sap off your vehicle without leaving a mark.

Wash Your Car As Soon As Possible

The longer tree sap stays on your car, says Robby DeGraff of Cars.com, the harder it’s going to be to get off without damaging the paint job. If you let it sit for too long, it can actually penetrate through the paint and lead to discoloration or stains. Hot weather worsens and accelerates the effects of tree sap, so if you live in a hotter climate, it’s imperative you wash your car as soon as you possibly can.

Give It a Thorough Wash

Removing dried tree sap is going to require some effort and patience on your behalf. Before you start, here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need:

  • A couple of microfiber cloths, terry cloths, or soft towels
  • Rubbing alcohol or tar remover (you can find tar remover at most auto-parts stores for less than $15.00)
  • Detailer polish or spray wax
  • Bucket of water
  • Sponge or wash mitt

Once you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get started. The first step is to thoroughly wash your car and let it dry completely. Once that’s done, pour several drops of the remover or rubbing alcohol on a cloth and locate all the sap spots on your car. Place the dampened part of the cloth over the tree sap and let it remain there for 30 seconds. Proceed to rub the area firmly until the sap is gone. Because dried sap can be resilient, you may need to repeat the last three steps a couple of more times until the sap is all gone.

In the event that there’s still some sap present, you can carefully chip it away with a fingernail. Once it’s all gone, apply some wax or polish and make sure to buff with a cloth to finish the process.

Alternative Sap Removal Tips

If you don’t have any tar remover or rubbing alcohol, there are some other things you can use that you just might have lying around the house, explains the writers of WikiHow. Hot water and soap might work if you get to it soon enough, but if the sap has already dried, you can try using the following:

  • Mineral spirits - Apply to the sap with a soft cloth but be careful - mineral spirits can damage the paint job if left on for too long.
  • Alcohol wipes - Rub at the dried sap quickly and with a light amount of pressure. Alcohol wipes work for both fresh and dried sap.
  • Hand sanitizer - Apply a few drops of hand sanitizer to the sap and let it sit there for a few minutes. Rub at it with a clean cloth to remove the softened sap.
  • WD-40 - Spray WD-40 directly onto the sap and let it sit for about five minutes. The sap will soften, and you can use your cloth to lift it off of the car.

Tree Sap Begone!

Tree sap on a vehicle is definitely pain because it’s tough to remove without running the risk of damaging your Toyota’s paint job. However, if you’re willing to put in a little time and patience, it’s easy enough to take care of on your own. The sap removal process is simple enough and only requires a few regular household supplies and some type of remover agent which shouldn’t cost you more than $20.00. We here at Westbury Toyota hope you found this guide useful so that you can keep your Toyota looking as good as it did when you drove it off the lot!

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