The best tar remover

Tar sticks to bodywork like barnacles to a ship. Use one of these products to make your car look even better.

A man cleaning down the bumper of a car

by Ryan Gilmore |

Have you ever noticed small black flecks on the bottom of your car that you can't simply wipe off? They're tar spots and can be resistant to the usual shampooing and blast with the pressure washer which makes them really irritating.

Tar removers are specifically designed to help dislodge these especially stubborn marks. The majority of the products listed below are also good for removing other deposits that can be a real pain to shift making them great pre-wash for your car.

The best tar removers for your car

WD-40 Multi-Use Product Original Spray Can

The best tar remover
WD-40 Multi-Use Product Original Spray Can
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Often imitated but never bettered, WD-40 already deserves a spot in your garage and as well as being good for squeaks and rusted bolts it can be used to help loosen tar from your car. All you need to do is apply a little bit directly to the tar spot and then a little to a towel, rub the towel over the tar and it'll simply melt away. Just remember to wash any residue away. What can't WD-40 do?

Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover

The best concentrated tar remover
Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover
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This is also by far the most versatile option here and a powerful option from Autoglym. This tar remover will have most tar spots dissolved in as little as a minute and can be used on glue residue, pen marks, oil and fuel stains too. It can also be used on your car's interior too, removing ink stains, glue and even chewing gum. Ideal if your car's a little worse for wear.

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Chemical Guys Bug & Tar Heavy Duty Car Wash Shampoo

The best tar remover shampoo
Chemical Guys Bug & Tar Heavy Duty Car Wash Shampoo
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Combining the shampooing stage with tar removal is a clever timesaving move by Chemical Guys. This concentrated formula needs to be diluted but will cut through the tar that regular shampoo misses while also cleaning the rest of the car too. It'll also help remove dead insects without damaging your car's paintwork.

Simoniz Tar, Sap & Glue Remover

The best budget tar remover
Simoniz  Tar, Sap & Glue Remover
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Perfect for dissolving tar, sap and glue, this aerosol is a cost-friendly way of dissolving tar. This cleaner can also be used around the house, perfect for removing adhesive residue from wood, tiles and glass. It's a really good value multi-purpose cleaner.

Gtechniq W7 Tar and Glue Remover

The best tar removal spray
Gtechniq W7 Tar and Glue Remover 500ml
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This spray from Gtechniq is a well-made alternative to the others. Formulated for use on tar and glue it helps dislodge and dissolve the tar after as little as a minute. This product should also be safe to use on waxes and sealants (Gtechniq only claim it's safe for its products but it'll more than likely be fine). All you'll need to do once it's applied is buff the panel with a drying towel.

What you need to know about tar removers

What causes tar spots?

Tar spots are a real summer issue, as the temperature rises roads are more likely to disintegrate and specks of tar can find themselves lodged on your car as opposed to the road. They're then stubbornly stuck to your car's paintwork and no amount of regular shampoo will effectively shift it.

What else can tar removers work on?

Most of these products will be effective on other stubborn stains including splattered insects, glue and fuel stains. Some can even be used around the home or in your car's interior. In short, there'll be plenty to use these products on.

Why should I care?

Black tar is really visible on lighter coloured cars and while it won't pose much damage to your car, it's unsightly and can spoil how your car looks. It's also worth knowing that cleaner looking cars are worth more money when sale time comes.

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