Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
1/27/14 11:15 a.m.

I've never had to contend with so much tree sap in my life. I bought a ZX2 with a broken timing belt about a month ago. Have since fixed it up, and am to the point where I can start detailing the body.

Problem is, this thing sat under tall Florida pine trees for several months. There's globs of sap all over it. The standard Turtle Wax bug/tar/sap remover isn't doing much against this stuff.

Anybody know of a better product or some homebrew chemical that I can attack it with -- that won't also destroy its paint?

Bobzilla PowerDork
1/27/14 11:22 a.m.

Dawn dish soap and a good sponge. Granted, you'll need to rewax the car asap because that stuff strips any protection off.

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
1/27/14 12:05 p.m.

Hmm. I'll give that a shot. Not worried about stripping the wax off, was planning to wax it afterward anyway.

Woody MegaDork
1/27/14 12:06 p.m.

Try WD40.

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
1/27/14 12:23 p.m.

No joy with Dawn, neither with Goo Gone. Lemme grab that WD-40...

dinger Reader
1/27/14 1:17 p.m.

I've had good luck with Stoner Tarminator on tree sap.

ultraclyde SuperDork
1/27/14 1:28 p.m.


Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
1/27/14 2:04 p.m.

I'll keep that Stoner Tarminator in mind in the future. WD-40 was moderately successful. Between that, Goo Gone and Mother's R3 Racing Rubber Remover, I think I got it all off. Hopefully a good cleaner wax will take care of the stains in the paint.

Worth noting: On these cars, the cowl drains into the trailing edge of the fenders, and, if left under a tree, leaves and pine needles will collect there. I removed a few screws from the fender liner and pulled it back, then shot water into it from the door hinge side, blowing the leaves and crud out of there.

Nashco UberDork
1/27/14 3:34 p.m.

Vegetable oil. I've never had to try it on a car, but wondered if it would work. Any time I get sap on my hands (Christmas tree season, yard maintenance, etc.) I slather some vegetable oil on the area of concern and massage the oil into the sap. Follow up with good dish soap, and the sap washes away with the oil. I thought this was an old wives tale when I heard about it, but tried it out of desperation after a particularly sappy job many years back. It works very well on hands and every house has some vegetable oil around (not sure about every garage!). Olive oil also works (found out by accidentally grabbing the wrong container!).


Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
1/28/14 7:27 a.m.

Fingernail polish remover works too. it needs to soak a while then wipes off pretty easy.

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
1/28/14 7:31 a.m.
Nashco wrote: tried it out of desperation after a particularly sappy job manly years back.


Seriously though, thanks for the tip. I'll try that out. Can't be any worse than what I've used so far.

bentwrench Reader
1/28/14 7:38 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: Fingernail polish remover works too. it needs to soak a while then wipes off pretty easy.

Yep takes the paint right off too!

benzbaronDaryn Dork
1/29/14 7:53 p.m.

Try denatured alcohol or rubbing alcohol.

cdowd Reader
1/31/14 11:10 a.m.

In reply to benzbaronDaryn:I have used this or gasoline with good results. need to do a complete detail afterwords though.

thedanimal New Reader
2/1/14 6:53 p.m.

Realize i'm late to this party, since a solution was found, A good clay bar and some patience will remove tree sap easily.

carbon HalfDork
2/26/14 7:32 p.m.

isopropyl rubbing alcohol x 100000000000 for pine sap. apply liberally rub gently, done.

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