Reviews

LAST UPDATED: February 20, 2020

Best Bug and Tar Removers: Clean and Protect Your Paint

Keep your car looking beautiful and protect your paint with these top bug and tar cleaners

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The Review Team

  • Product Network

    21 Products

  • Clock

    12 Hours

  • Reviews

    13 Reviews

How We Decided

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PUBLISHED ON February 20, 2020

You can scrub your car until your arms get tired, and the bugs and tar will still be there. Just washing your car with soap and water won’t be enough. You need to break out the big guns to get these stubborn particles off of your car’s paint, but you don’t want to use just any cleaner. You need something that will be tough on the bugs and tar but gentle on your car’s paint. Try one of these removers in your car to keep it looking show-ready.

  • Best Overall
    Tar and Adhesive Remover 500 Milliliter with Sprayer
    Tar and Adhesive Remover 500 Milliliter with Sprayer
    Summary
    Summary

    This fast-acting formula removes tar, asphalt, adhesive, and bug debris from the surface of your car. This product also glows in the dark.

    Pros
    Pros

    This is a non-hazardous formula that is derived from orange peels. It can also protect and decontaminate the metal and paint to avoid rust.

    Cons
    Cons

    The bottle this product comes in isn’t the most secure and can leak. You’ll need to scrape and scrub hard to remove stubborn spots.

  • Best Overall
    Tar and Adhesive Remover 500 Milliliter with Sprayer
    Tar and Adhesive Remover 500 Milliliter with Sprayer
  • Best Value
    3D Auto Detailing Products Bug Remover
    3D Auto Detailing Products Bug Remover
    Summary
    Summary
    This cleaner uses enzymes to loosen stuck-on debris such as bugs or tree sap. You spray the formula on, let it sit, and then rinse.
    Pros
    Pros
    You can use this cleaner on a wide variety of surfaces, including windows, plastic, grilles, and paint. It’s also effective at removing stains.
    Cons
    Cons

    Be careful of the paint you use it on because it can etch some motorcycle paint. It’s concentrated, so it’s easy to over or under dilute the formula.

  • Best Value
    3D Auto Detailing Products Bug Remover
    3D Auto Detailing Products Bug Remover
  • Honorable Mention
    McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Remover
    McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Remover
    Summary
    Summary

    The advanced formula of this remover is safe for your clear coat. Spray this cleaner on and wipe it off, no rinsing required. You can also add it to a cleaning solution for easier washing.

    Pros
    Pros

    The formula won’t remove durable waxes, so your car will stay protected and you won’t have to wax as often. The concentrated formula works fast.

    Cons
    Cons
    This product isn’t as effective as other removers. It works best with the sponge that is sold separately. It can remove some bugs, but stubborn ones like lovebugs won’t budge.
  • Honorable Mention
    McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Remover
    McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Remover

    You can scrub your car until your arms get tired, and the bugs and tar will still be there. Just washing your car with soap and water won’t be enough. You need to break out the big guns to get these stubborn particles off of your car’s paint, but you don’t want to use just any cleaner. You need something that will be tough on the bugs and tar but gentle on your car’s paint. Try one of these removers in your car to keep it looking show-ready.

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    Tips

    • Before you apply anything to your car’s paint, double-check that it’s safe to use. You don’t want to use a cleaning product that’s so strong that it etches your clear coat. This will leave you with a dull look and eat away at the protection of your paint. 
    • Check the ingredients to make sure that they’re not hazardous. Some cleaners use powerful cleaning agents to break down bugs, and these chemicals may be harmful to you, your family, or pets. Other cleaning agents use more natural products, such as enzymes or orange peel extract. 
    • Pay attention to what the cleaner is designed for. Enzymes work well on natural matter, such as bugs or tree sap. Tar can be harder to remove, so look for one with specialized solvents for this purpose. 

    FAQs

    Q: Can I use WD40 to clean bugs and tar off my car?

    A: You can use WD40, but it isn’t meant for this purpose. Since it’s not specifically designed for removing bugs, it can potentially damage your paint. It also won’t work as well. Use a formula meant for removing bugs, and follow the directions so that you don’t risk the cleaner eating into your clear coat. 

    Q: How does tar remover work?

    A: There are chemicals in tar remover that break down the compounds in the tar. Spray the cleaner on the tar, and then let it sit. Over time, the cleaner breaks down the tar. Then you can wipe the tar or its stain away. Be sure to rinse the area clean. Doing it this way reduces the need for you to scrub, which will scratch your paint. 

    Q: Can I use the cleaner on other surfaces?

    A: Yes, you can use bug and tar remover on several surfaces. You can use it on other vehicles such as motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, RVs, and boats. Always do a test area before you start to clean the entire surface. Then make sure you rinse the cleaned area to remove any residue after the application. 

    Final Thoughts

    The Tar X Tar and Adhesive Remover 500 Milliliter with Sprayer uses a safe and non-toxic formula to clean your car. The 3D Auto Detailing Products Bug Remover is an affordable option that provides a powerful formula to break down bugs and tar.