Pre­vent bugs, sap and other sub­stances from ru­in­ing a ve­hi­cle

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - News -

Keep­ing ve­hi­cles look­ing pris­tine re­quires care and dili­gent clean­ing. So many day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties and en­vi­ron­men­tal ma­te­ri­als have the po­ten­tial to dam­age the fin­ish on cars and trucks. While win­ter weather and chem­i­cals used to keep road­ways pass­able are of­ten blamed for af­fect­ing the ap­pear­ance of cars and trucks, win­ter is not the only time of year when sub­stances can cause dam­age to ve­hi­cles.

Spring and sum­mer are prime sea­sons for sap, birds and in­sects. These times of year tend to see an uptick in road work as well, and such projects can con­trib­ute to dam­age caused by loose asphalt, gravel and tar. Ad­dress­ing prob­lems re­sult­ing from tree sap, in­sect and bird drop­pings and tar may not be some­thing to look for­ward to, but it is nec­es­sary to keep cars look­ing pris­tine.

Tree sap

Ac­cord­ing to Cars.com, an au­to­mo­tive in­for­ma­tion re­source and ve­hi­cle sales web­site, although tree sap won’t cause im­me­di­ate dam­age to ve­hi­cle paint, it should not be ig­nored. Over time, sap can be­come more dif­fi­cult to re­move, etch through the clear coat on the ve­hi­cle and cause dis­col­oration. When the tem­per­a­ture is hot, dam­age from sap can ac­cel­er­ate.

On win­dows and wind­shields, driv­ers may be able to gen­tly re­move dried sap with a ra­zor blade. How­ever, use clean­ing prod­ucts on more del­i­cate paint. Au­to­mo­tive stores sell spe­cial­ity sap and tar clean­ers. Oth­er­wise, you can try rub­bing al­co­hol. It may take a few at­tempts to re­move sap en­tirely.

In­sects and bird drop­pings

Splat­tered bugs and avian sur­prises dropped from above can be a messy, un­sightly nui­sance. Their acidic com­po­si­tion also may cause them to dam­age paint over time. Bugs and drop­pings can be sticky, so you will need to work with some­thing that will re­move the splat­ter with­out re­mov­ing the paint in the process. A prod­uct like WD-40 may help. This oily prod­uct is nor­mally used on rust and hinges. When ap­plied with a cloth and al­lowed to pen­e­trate the stain, it can loosen dif­fi­cult-to-re­move sticky sub­stances. Al­ways test any prod­uct you use in an in­con­spic­u­ous spot first to make sure it doesn’t dam­age or dis­color your the paint.

In­sects or drop­pings that are fresh may come off rel­a­tively eas­ily with a good wash­ing or hos­ing off of the car. Re­tail­ers also sell spe­cialty in­sect sponges to re­move bugs and other de­bris.

Tar

Soap and wa­ter will do lit­tle to re­move tar and other petroleum-based prod­ucts from ve­hi­cles. Com­mer­cial tar re­moval prod­ucts use a strong sol­vent or de­ter­gent to loosen the tar. This may in­clude kerosene, min­eral spir­its or another item mixed with lu­bri­cants. Go slowly and use cau­tion so that you re­move the tar and not the paint.

Driv­ers who are hes­i­tant to clean their ve­hi­cles of com­mon residue can have their cars or trucks pro­fes­sion­ally de­tailed, leav­ing the work in the hands of ex­perts.

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