Help! My paint is in jeopardy!

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by 348SStb, May 31, 2009.

  1. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie

    So I was driving along yesterday afternoon in beautiful sunshine and I noticed these little droplets on my windshield. Since it couldn't have been rain, I figured they were some droplets that would evaporate soon enough. A little later on, I notice they're still there. I still didn't realize what was going on.

    Then I get out of the car to pump some gasoline. And I notice that there are these little droplets ALL over my car! They are like crystallized, gooey little droplets! Everywhere on the paint all over the body -- front hood, windshield, roof, doors, rear, etc. If I rub them with my fingernail, they don't come out, but smudge. I wonder if I drove behind someone who had some old and gooey windshield washer spray... Regardless, something tells me that a mere wash with soap, water, and a sponge ain't removing these things.

    But if I don't act soon, I'm afraid they'll be there permanently if they don't otherwise destroy my Rosso Corsa paint... 1995 355 so I don't know if it's clearcoat or not.

    Please help!

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  3. msouza

    msouza Formula Junior

    Mar 14, 2005
    Full Name:
    Milton Souza
    It might be tree sap. Did you park under a tree?
  4. 285ferrari

    285ferrari Two Time F1 World Champ

    Sep 11, 2004
    Southern Md
    Full Name:
    Clay bar the paint and see if that removes it
  5. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie

    Don't think I did. These look like spray droplets...
  6. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie

    Robbie -- can you explain what this is and how I do it from a to z? Also, I imagine I can get the materials at Pep Boys or something?
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  8. h00kem

    h00kem Guest

    Dec 15, 2004
    Any auto parts store is likely to sell a Mothers Clay Bar cleaning kit. Very easy to use. Instructions included. My guess is that you have tree sap on the car. Best to get it off but it should not destroy the paint unless left on for a long period of time. Be sure to wax after you clay.
  9. moorfan

    moorfan Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    May 11, 2009
    Central Virginia
    Full Name:
    Sounds like tree sap, as was already mentioned.
    I would suggest NOT claying the paint to remove these things. It sounds like they are gooey and trying to clay something gooey may not work.
    Try in this order:
    1. use a microfiber cloth sudsed up with some good quality auto soap. Work at it carefully but firmly and see if you can work this stuff loose. If it is tree sap it probably won't work.
    2. Try isopropyl alcohol in the same way. Give it some "dwell time" 30 seconds or so and then wipe gently with an alcohol-soaked microfiber.
    3. Many report successful use of acetone (nail polish remover) to remove tree sap. Again, give some dwell time and wipe gently with microfiber.
    4. Lastly you may try bug and tar remover.

    I would DEFINITELY get this stuff off (whatever it is) before it hardens.

    Lastly, your paint should be clayed once yearly to remove bonded contamination from your paint, but whatever you do DO NOT get your clay from Autozone (if they even sell it).
    Detailing sites like or have high-end clay (Sonus, Blackfire) as well as tutorials on how to use it.

  10. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Please elaborate. I have never seen anything good happen when you get Acetone anywhere near paint.
  11. 308 milano

    308 milano F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 15, 2007
    Full Name:
    +1 we owned a body shop for years, had this happen to my brand new boat. Believe it or not the BEST thing to remove tree sap off a vehicle is plain old dish soap and warm water.
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  13. 308 milano

    308 milano F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 15, 2007
    Full Name:
    you don't need to park under a tree to have your car covered with tree sap, just need a light breeze. Bar Clay (aka overspray clay) is for removing paint overspray and works really well but won't do anything but make a mess if its tree sap.
  14. Meister

    Meister F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 27, 2001
    Duluth, MN
    Full Name:
    The Meister

    Acetone will make quick work of sap...but for a car application it is only safe to use on glass and chrome.

    Living up here in MN, sap is a constant problem. I have found that the tiny stuff that can be blown by the wind will actually come off with a warm car soap washing or dish soap washing. The dish soap will most likely strip the wax too, but it has to be done.

    Start with the least invasive techniques and move up from there.

    Wash soap and water
    bug and tar remover
    cleaner wax
    clay bar

    if those don't cut it...but they should... there are more aggressive techniques to try but most are best left to a detailer since the cost of the ruining your paint is much more than paying for a good detail.

    I will say that I have used simple green, windex and even mineral spirits or paint thinner/lighter fluid from time to time on a car, but what I'm willing to do to mine is my business and I will not recomend it.

    good luck.
  15. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie

    #12 348SStb, May 31, 2009
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
    Thanks guys, I am deciding what to do.

    Please keep in mind that there are probably hundreds if not thousands of these little droplets, so I am not going to be able to work on them one by one...
  16. 2NA

    2NA F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant Owner

    Dec 29, 2006
    Twin Cities
    Full Name:
    Tim Keseluk
    Good advice Scott, only a sadistic idiot would recommend acetone (or anything like it ) for a painted surface. :D
  17. AtomikPunk

    AtomikPunk Rookie

    Jan 1, 2004
    North Shore, MA
    try Lectric Shave for tree sap (from cvs, Walgreens, etc)
    (try it on somewhere you can see first to make sure it is ok on your paint)
    i just dab it on, with no rubbing, it will come right off it is tree sap,
    I would then wash, and spot wax the area

    I have not had to us this on my Ferrari, but on a few of my other cars and it works great
  18. irondogmike

    irondogmike Formula 3

    Sep 8, 2006
    San Diego area
    Full Name:
    Michael Tucker
    I had road tar on my paint job and used goof off,which did not hurt the paint and was easy to use,then I waxed it,but you do what you want,
  19. Doctor Mark

    Doctor Mark Formula Junior

    Dec 15, 2005
    Full Name:
    Mark Gronsbell
    Sounds like tree sap. Usually soap and water work well. Instant detailer will also usually work. Take a deep breath it will probably be fine.
  20. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie

    Ok guys, an update for you.

    All is well. It is probably the case that I overreacted, but I have some experience with bird s*hit and I know that it can be really bad if not attended to immediately.

    Washed the car with my Rain-X Wash and Wax soap, water, and my lambswool mitt. Then applied the quick detail to the car once dry. Gooey droplets gone... car has never looked so good :)

    Thanks to all for the advice and concern!
  21. RAKLAW

    RAKLAW Formula Junior

    Mar 22, 2009
    Westchester,NY & Sarasota FL
    Full Name:
    Good for you..As a last resort goo-be gone- is a mild remover, but thank your lucky stars you got it with your auto soap products. Acetone on Ferrari paint..right.
  22. jonesdds

    jonesdds Formula 3

    Aug 31, 2006
    SB,CA & Park City UT
    Full Name:
    Sounds like you drive/park where my wife does:) I'm always cleaning overspray, tar, sap etc. off her car!

    Adhesive remover from Griots seems to work well removing these kinds of things safely. Warm water and a good soap(made for cars) also works well. Always wax after. Glad it wasn't too big of a problem.
  23. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie

    I did happen to pick up at Pep Boys an interesting product (which I did not resort to using) made by Turtle Wax... it was a Bug & Tar Remover *with tree sap* formula. The bottle basically said the product was safe on all paint finishes.

    Would you guys trust this product on your Ferrari paint?

    By the way, I am still unaware of whether my 1995 355 has clearcoat...
  24. BT

    BT F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 21, 2005
    FL / GA
    Full Name:
    Bill Tracy
    I would not worry about using the Turtle wax product you describe. Just give the car a wash and wax on the area you treat shortly after using it. If you are ever going to use a goof off type product I like the "Goof Off 2" in the orange spray bottle (I buy it at Lowe's). It is water based and seems less likely to damage the paint than the oil based products like "Goff Off"...
    I had a run in this weekend with about 300 love bugs. I just wash them off as soon as I get home and the damage is avoided.
  25. Iain

    Iain F1 Rookie

    Jan 21, 2005
    Had some tree sap on my 328 last week

    Parked it under a tree at my friends house & it was only when I was leaving he says "oh, I should have told you to park over there!" (thanks MATE!)

    My car has a fair bit of Zymol wax on it & all I needed to do was to turn a hose on it & whatever was on it came straight off.

    Can't beat a good quality wax to protect your paint from stuff like this (and bird lime etc).
  26. Robie

    Robie Formula Junior

    Apr 26, 2008
    Hsiang Kang
    Full Name:
    C. Camillo Negroni
    OK, reviving this thread as I discovered a huge dollop (about 1.5 inches in diameter, with splatters surrounding it) of dried asphalt on my bonnet (hood) today, must have just landed there on the way home, though I have no idea how, as it is right in the middle and pretty far back.

    ...anyhow, what is the verdict on goof off as a tar remover? I was thinking of WD 40 to soften it up and Goof off if that didn't work.

    First I might try to get the little gritty sandy bits out with some duct tape as I don't want to rub it against the paint.

    and things were going so well for my paint for a while there...

    Any suggestions appreciated, especially dire warnings about NOT using Goof off.

    BTW, I plan to take it in to get washed & waxed tomorrow anyway, so that will hopefully remove any WD40/goof off residue.
  27. BT

    BT F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 21, 2005
    FL / GA
    Full Name:
    Bill Tracy
    I would not use the regular Goof Off product. It is an oil based solvent that might very well cut through the paint on your car. I'd start with some bug and tar remover from the auto parts store. You can try goof off 2, as it is water based, but I would do it on a discreet area first and see if it damages the paint.
  28. AceMaster

    AceMaster Three Time F1 World Champ

    Feb 6, 2009
    Calling a penalty
    Full Name:
    I personally would not use Turtle Wax product.

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