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How to get sticky cottonwood stuff off a "clear coat" car finish?
Old 08-20-2008, 08:47 PM   #1
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How to get sticky cottonwood stuff off a "clear coat" car finish?

My 88 Chevy Nova (hey, don't laugh, I paid cash for it in 1988!) is parked under a cottonwood tree. After the seed clusters fall, the car is covered in white fluff and spots of brown sticky from the seed clusters. I can wash off the white fluff, but the brown sticky stays. The car has a "clear coat" finish, I was told by the guy who had to put on some new metal after another guy rear-ended it. I know it's true because the clear coat is is peeling off in a few places, but not much.
Obviously this is not a cherry vehicle, but I'm tired of driving a car that looks like it has a communicable skin disease. Does anyone know how to get a tar-like substance off the car without further damaging the 20-year-old clear coat?
I know very little about cars, I just use them to get me here to there and back again.
If you could point me to a forum more suited for this question, that'd be great, too.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:07 PM   #2
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your car's been tar & feathered? after plucking, you might try baby oil, works great on skin for beach tar and pine tree sap. once i must have run through a bunch of road tar, all over the side of the car and it took the stuff off pretty easily. also, you should keep your clearcoat well-waxed and, better yet, um, stop parking it under that tree.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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If soap & water don't do it, try varsol (paint thinner). Then a good coat of wax and as LG4NFB says:

Quote:
um, stop parking it under that tree.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:52 PM   #4
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If soap & water don't do it, try varsol (paint thinner
NO! NO! NO!

That will strip the clearcoat right off. Use WD-40 or a commerical tree sap remover available at any car store. Then wax once it's off.

For smaller pieces use a piece of car finish clay along with a detail mist which will pull the sap right off.
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:23 PM   #5
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I've used simple green to remove pinetree sap with great success.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:07 PM   #6
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Thanks, everyone. I'll start with the baby oil and work my way up. Wow, I didn't know of the existence of commercial tree sap remover, car finish clay, or detail mist. I think the one time I walked into a Napa and the sales person shrugged at my question, I just happened on a newbie at the store who was as ignorant as me. I will walk in with my list this time!
Thanks for the education.
I might even wax the car again this decade.
BTW the only place to park the car is under the tree. I love the tree but its roots are eating my garage foundation so I'm afraid the tree will have to go soon.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by toofrugalformycat View Post
BTW the only place to park the car is under the tree. I love the tree but its roots are eating my garage foundation so I'm afraid the tree will have to go soon.
From the POV of preserving your car, sounds like no time wold be better than now. But then there is property value and aesthetics. My street and sidewalks are completely destroyed for two blocks by roots from big old deciduous trees. I guess there is nothing that can be done short of taking them all down, but doing that would strip millions of dollars of property value away so I expect to continue to walk carefully and drive slowly. And I like the trees so much if they were removed I would likely move anyway.

Ha
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:39 PM   #8
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From the POV of preserving your car, sounds like no time wold be better than now. But then there is property value and aesthetics. My street and sidewalks are completely destroyed for two blocks by roots from big old deciduous trees. I guess there is nothing that can be done short of taking them all down, but doing that would strip millions of dollars of property value away so I expect to continue to walk carefully and drive slowly. And I like the trees so much if they were removed I would likely move anyway.

Ha
My old college town of Corvallis had a narrow bumpy two-lane street lined with deciduous trees on both sides back when I rode my bicycle through it in the late '70s. At that time there was talk of cutting the trees and widening the road. DH and I went back through there in 2006. The trees and road are still there, along with the bumps, and it's still lovely and usable.
I wouldn't cut this baby down just to save my garage, but here in Anchorage we have serious wind storms every year, and cottonwoods are notorious for rotting inside without showing it, then the top breaking off and falling. It would crush the neighbor's house. I wouldn't want to live with that, especially if the neighbors were crushed along with the house.
I wish it were a spruce or birch instead of a cottonwood, then I'd let it get as big as it wanted. Those usually give warning when they are a hazard.
I've been nagging the neighbors to plant trees for years, because I knew I'd eventually have to cut it down. Some of the spruce they planted in response to my nagging are getting pretty big.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:00 PM   #9
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Bug and Tar Remover and then Clay bar the whole car followed by wax job with high quality wax.
http://www.turtlewax.com/main.taf?p=2,1,4,11
http://www.advanceautoparts.com/engl...20030401cb.asp
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:37 PM   #10
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NO! NO! NO!

That will strip the clearcoat right off. Use WD-40 or a commerical tree sap remover available at any car store. Then wax once it's off.

For smaller pieces use a piece of car finish clay along with a detail mist which will pull the sap right off.
Wd40 is about 50% paint thinner (stoddard solvent), varsol is 100%. Neither will hurt your finish.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:06 PM   #11
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My car sits under the cottonwoods and I keep it waxed and the fuzzies float off. Try vegetable oil (good for bug removal), dawn dishwashing liquid (good to remove old wax), or simple green. Then clay bar if you really want to get it smooth, and then a good wax for sure. Maybe wax twice.
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