Smart Motorist » How to Remove Tar from Car with Household & Commercial Products

How to Remove Tar from Car with Household & Commercial Products

When you ride along with a construction site or a newly constructed road, it’s easy for tar to bump into your car’s windshield, headlight or bumpers. The longer it stays, the harder it is to get off.

Other than this, there’s no need to worry about tar causing huge damages like destroying your car paint or causing the surface to rust.

Fortunately, there are several ways to remove tar and most times it’s as easy as removing other bugs and stains. This guide explores how to remove tar from your car, tools you will need as well as precautions to take.

What’s Road Tar?

What's Road Tar

We want our roads to last long and to withstand the screeching effect of millions of car tires riding over it. Tar is the only answer to that. It’s a bitumen acting as a binding agent in the production of asphalt concrete. Road tar is sticky and doesn’t melt under harsh weather, making it a good binding material for roads.

Unfortunately, this means you need to have a few particles flying around your car whenever you pass by a newly constructed road as it takes a while for tar to dry off completely.

Road tar is easy to identify when they land on your car. They’re harder than other types of bugs, and their viscous nature often gives them away. Go through this guide to fully understand the usage of road tar and how they differ to bitumen and asphalt.

What You Will Need To Remove Tar From Your Car

We advise you waste no time in getting rid of tar stains whenever you notice them on your car. Allowing them to sit there for a long time makes it harder to remove. There’s a huge chance that it might damage your car paint when you finally decide to do so. All tar remover tasks will require the following items:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Tar Remover solvent or household products (Kerosene, peanut butter, Gasoline)
  • Car shampoo
  • Bucket
  • Warm water

How to Remove Tar From Car Using Household Products

Household Products

  • You can remove tar from your car using household products such as WD-40, kerosene, and butter. These products soften the tar, but in the case of butter, you’re not to use the crunchy type. Rather, you’re to melt the butter in oil before using.
  • Once you’ve decided on which product to use; Apply on the part with tar. Ensure you rub thoroughly using a microfiber cloth, but this should be done sparingly. Allow the products to sit in the tar for a few minutes to soften it. After some time, you can proceed to the next step.
  • Wash off the tar with car shampoo and water and check if there’s still any tar left. If your car is back to a clean state, you need to ensure all traces of the product used isn’t left behind. If an excess amount of kerosene is used, the car surface might get greasy, and the whole car might start smelling of the product. Hence, you must use both products sparingly.

When it comes to using household products, it’s hard to get all the stains off in one try, especially if the tar has been stuck on your car for a while. It will eventually go off, but you need to repeat the steps above multiple times.

If you want to get the tar off in one swipe, then you should look to invest in commercial products. If you’re willing to do so, read on to discover the easiest way of getting rid of tar.

Watch this video to discover how to remove tar from your car using household products.

How to Remove Tar from Your Car Using Commercial Products

To carry out this method, you will need a tar remover. This can be gotten from an automobile shop or online stores such as Amazon. Once you’ve gotten your tar remover solvent, follow these steps to remove tar

  • Just as you did in the case of kerosene, apply the solvent over the affected area. Some tar solvent will require that you wait for few seconds for the tar to breakdown while others allow you to clean right away. To get this right, read the usage instruction on the body of the product before proceeding to use.
  • Now that the tar has broken-down, it becomes much easier to wipe off. Take a clean microfiber cloth and get rid of the residue. When doing this, ensure you do so in a circular motion to get rid of any debris or specks of dirt on the tar. Once the surface of the cloth gets dirty, turn around and continue wiping as the accumulation of tar may damage your car paint if you continue with the dirty surface.
  • After certifying that no tar is left, you can proceed to wash your car. We recommend you use warm water as this will help in removing leftover tar particles.

Precautions to Take When Removing Tar

  • As an alternative to kerosene, most car owners are prone to using petroleum, but this is totally wrong. Though it actually helps in removing tar and other contaminants, it will also wipe off your car paint if used frequently.
  • When using WD-40, ensure you spray sparingly and keep off your windshield. Once applied, it becomes increasingly difficult to wash off.
  • If you don’t have a microfiber towel, avoid using abrasive cloths that will scratch your paintwork.
  • Avoid using products such as nail polish vanisher or white spirit to remove tar.


As earlier mentioned, when using household products, you might not be lucky in getting rid of the stains in one effort. However, this shouldn’t mean using excess of the products. The best way of avoiding this mess is by steering clear of newly constructed roads or sites if you have to.

Finally, we will like to know if you were able to get rid of the tar on your car using the methods recommended above. Use the comment section to tell us the challenges faced and if any of the products damaged your paintwork.