5 Best Bug & Tar Removers (2021 Buyers Guide)

Bug & Tar Remover BEfore And After

If you’ve ever owned a car throughout the spring and summer period, you’ll know exactly why you need bug & tar remover.

As soon as the sun comes out, so do the bugs. That’s alright for people in cooler regions such as the UK or Scandinavia, they only get a couple of weeks of sun.

Live in a place like Florida? Bug remover may become a key product in your car wash regime.

Bug & Tar Remover will also help you to remove Tar & Tree Sap from your car. My car was covered in tar spots and bug skeletons before I learned about this product.

If you’re sick and tired of walking out to a car that’s covered in bugs, tar, and other stubborn dirt, buy one of the best tar removers and get the results you desire.


Best Tar Remover For Car Paint

Based on where you live, there may be a limited number of bug & tar removers available.

CarPro Tar X is considered to be one of the best and most popular tar removers in both the UK & US. It’s pretty expensive but it offers quick & easy results.

Whereas “Armor All Bug Remover” is one of the cheapest on the market. You’ll still achieve good results, but you may need to use more product & elbow grease.

I’ve compiled a list of the 5 best bug and tar removers below. They all have strengths & weaknesses and they all come in at different price points.

Use the list below to learn more about each product and make an educated buying decision.


TarX Bug  & Tar Remover

TarX Tar & Adhesive Remover

Cleaning Power: ★★★★★
Check Price On Amazon: 500ml / 1L

CarPro’s TarX Comes in a 500ml bottle or a 1 Litre Bottle. It’s the strongest Bug & Tar removing solution to date, but it is expensive.

The CarPro branding is very simple and clean but your focus should be on the product.

TarX comes in a very high-quality bottle. I tend to keep the bottles and re-use them for other products after I’ve finished with the TarX solution.

The solution itself is a professional grade formula that melts any bugs, tar or tree sap from the front of your car in minutes.

All that you need to do is apply TarX to the area with bugs and tar, let it dwell for 2-8 minutes, then wipe and wash the dirt away.

Despite its immense cleaning power, TarX will not harm your car in any shape or form. It’s made with non-hazardous chemicals and is designed to protect and prevent paint failures.

The advanced formula is also Last Stage Protection safe. CarPro claims it will help to protect and prolong any wax, sealants, or ceramic coatings you have on your car.

I must say, there’s a reason why this comes highly recommended by every professional and enthusiast.

If you can get over the price point, it’s definitely worth trying out.

Buy TarX from Amazon.com


Chemical Guys Bug & Tar Remover

Chemical Guys Bug & Tar Remover

Cleaning Power: ★★★★
Check Price On Amazon: 4fl / 16fl / 64fl / 128fl

The Chemical Guys Bug & Tar Remover comes in 4 different quantities. You can buy pretty much any size you want, whether it’s for a small gift or running your own detailing business.

If you’re not already aware, Chemical Guys are not a brand that likes to follow tradition. Their branding is in your face and their products are often different from the competition.

What’s different about this bug & tar remover? It’s actually a concentrated car wash shampoo and is recommended to be used as a pre-wash solution.

Depending on where you’re coming from, this could be a positive or a negative.

You can add it to your wash regime as a pre-wash stage OR dilute it at a 6:1 ratio into a spray bottle and make it a spot cleaner. The added flexibility is certainly a nice bonus.

Personally, I’d use it as my main bug-remover for maintenance washes while using TarX as a stronger spot cleaner for stubborn tar.

It’s recommended that you use a cap-full of product to every gallon of water, this is enough to clean most bugs and tar from your car.

However, If you’ve left the contaminants on your car for a long time, you may find that you need to use more product.

The Chemical Guys Bug & Tar Remover is completely safe, preventing long term paint damage and maintaining any last stage protection that you may have on the car.

Overall, it’s certainly a good product, as you’d expect from one of the leading detailing brands.

If you like to be more involved and have control over your product quantities, I’d definitely recommend you try out this product.

Buy Chemical Guys Bug & Tar Remover from Amazon.com


Armor All Extreme Bug & Tar Remover

ArmorAll Bug & Tar Remover

Cleaning Power: ★★
Check Price On Amazon: 16fl

If you’ve read any of my other articles, I’m a big fan of ArmorAll. It’s not because they offer the best product or the best branding. It’s because of their price.

ArmorAll is the cheapest Bug & Tar Remover on this list by far. Coming in at least 40% cheaper than every other product listed.

Despite its cheap price, ArmorAll Extreme Bug & Tar Remover is able to remove most bugs and tar from your car, as long as you clean them off within a reasonable time-frame.

If you’ve left the bugs to sit over time and they’re now cemented into your bumper, a solution such as TarX will be better.

ArmorAll is safe to use on your car paint, it’s completely LSP safe and will leave behind a streak-free finish on car glass.

As long as you have realistic expectations, for the price, you can’t really go wrong.

Buy ArmorAll Extreme Bug & Tar Remover From Amazon.com


Griots Garage Bug & Smudge Remover

Griot’s Garage Bug & Smudge

Cleaning Power: ★★
Check Price On Amazon: 22fl oz / 1-Gallon

Griots Garage Is another well-known brand among detailers.

It’s a brand that I enjoy using myself. The Griots Garage branding is minimalistic, they use high-quality bottles, and the solution always performs as you’d expect.

Bug & Smudge is available in both a 22fl oz bottle and a 1-gallon refill container.

It’s still cheaper than TarX but because you’re buying 22fl oz of product, the initial cost is slightly higher than the rest. If you work on a price per ounce basis, it turns out to be rather competitively priced.

When using Bug & Smudge remover on fresh bugs and road tar, you’ll have absolutely no problem. Simply apply the product to the dirty area, wait 30 seconds, and then wipe it away before rinsing.

Just like any other product, after two or three weeks, you may have to use more product than you’d like. That’s the time period where bugs, tar and tree sap really begin to cling to your car.

Griot Garage has listed this product as safe to use on every surface, which I believe to be the case, as long as you wash it away within the recommended time.

It’s also LSP Safe.

That being said, there are a handful of reviews that suggest that they’ve had bad experiences, especially on plastic trim.

I’m a big fan of Griots and I believe their bug and smudge remover is up there with the best. It has 99+ 5* reviews on Amazon and is recommended by many detailers on the internet.

Buy Griots Garage Bug & Smudge Remover from Amazon.com


3D Auto Detailing Bug Remover

3D Auto Detailing Bug Remover

Cleaning Power: ★★★☆
Check Price On Amazon: 16fl oz / 1-Gallon

3D Bug Remover is an enzyme-based cleaner that loosens bugs and road tar from your car.

You can buy the solution in a 16fl oz bottle or a 1-gallon container.

As a weekend warrior you’ll probably never need 1 gallon of highly-concentrated bug remover, but it works out at much better value.

To use this product, all that you need to do is spray it on the contaminated area and let it dwell for 2-5 minutes.

After letting it dwell simply wipe it from the car and rinse the area, drying it with a microfiber towel.

As a bug remover this product works very well. Yet, when it comes to tar, especially tar that’s been left for a while, it leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s actually not specified anywhere that it’s designed to remove tar, whereas the other products on this list are.

Since you’ll be spending good money on this product, it’s perfectly understandable that you may opt for a bug & tar remover instead.

Though I must say, 3D Bug Remover did allow me to remove some bugs that I thought were never coming off.

Buy 3D Bug Remover From Amazon.com


What Is Road Tar?

Tar is a dark brown or black liquid that can be produced from coal, wood, petroleum, or peat.

If a road has recently been laid or repaired, there’s a chance that the tar is still somewhat fresh.

When the tar is still fresh and you drive through it, it will be flung from your wheel onto the lower door and fender of your car.

Even if you try your best to avoid fresh tar, there’s a good chance that other cars will also cover your car in it.

You’ll know it’s road tar when it’s black or brown and incredibly hard to remove. When it’s warm, tar is easy to remover, but as soon as it hits cold temperatures, it will dry rock hard.


What to Use To Remove Tar From Car Paint

While you’ve just spent a couple of minutes reading about the best tar and bug removers that money can buy, there are other products that you can use.

Providing the tar is still fresh, a lot of the time you’ll be able to clean it off using warm water and a car soap of your choice.

In some cases you may need a heavy degreaser. I’ve done that to my own car recently, It was covered in bugs and tar from enjoying too many drives on the sunny Scottish back roads.

You can even use WD40 if you have that around the house.

Whatever you use, make sure it’s safe on car paint before you take it to your car, bugs look better than damaged paint…


What Does A Bug & Tar Remover Do?

Tar removers are made up of solvents and cleaning agents that are designed to loosen up the solidified bug splats and road tar from the paintwork of your car.

Once you apply the tar remover to the area, it will slowly work to break down the carbon molecules in road tar and asphalt, lubricating the area and making it easier to wash off your vehicle.


Can Tar Remover Damage Paint?

When used correctly, there is absolutely no chance that tar remover products will damage your paintwork.

Yes, the formulas are very strong and carry immense cleaning power, but they’re mostly PH Neutral and are safe to use on any surface.


Does Bug and Tar Remover Remove Wax?

The majority of Bug & Tar Remover products will not strip wax from your vehicle, unless you use them at high dilution ratios.

The products listed above are Last Stage Protection safe and perfectly fine to use. If you’re worried about a product removing wax, check the packaging to see if it’s PH Neutral or LSP safe before using it.

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About the Author: JoshWilkins

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