Roadworks that pick up in the summer can leave your car with unsightly asphalt stains that not only spoil the car’s appearance, but also penetrate the paintwork and dry out, making it very difficult to remove. But there is a solution, and not just one. It is clear that you should not rub tarred or tarred (tar containing substances, which are part of asphalt) body, pick at dirt places with nail or screwdriver – it is easily possible to damage paint. Special shampoos, on the other hand, are only effective for fresh tar or asphalt stains. For a number of reasons, described below, old-fashioned methods such as cleaning tar stains with petrol or paraffin will not do. So what is the right product for the job?
It makes sense to use special agents to remove asphalt stains, for which there is no shortage of specialised shops. More specifically, such chemicals can be either universal or specialised. Universal cleaners are used for different types of stains.
Bitumen stain removers are more aggressive and are suitable for removing old, stubborn stains. Of course, it is advisable to choose a trusted brand of cleaner and don’t be lazy to read the instructions for use.
Before cleaning, wash the bodywork and apply the cleaner to a cold surface, preferably in the early morning hours. After application, wait about five minutes to allow the tar to soften. The dirt should be removed gradually, layer by layer. A microfibre cloth is best to use as an aid. This is less likely to leave scratches on the bodywork. Once the cleaning process is complete, wash the car again, wipe it clean and remove any remaining cleaner.
If, for various reasons, you are unable to obtain special cleaners, you can use household chemicals in preference to white spirit.
This agent soaks up tarry deposits and has a medium evaporation rate, so it lasts long enough to remove tar stains.
Antisilicone is also suitable (this ligroin-based blend of petroleum fractions is not as volatile as petrol and is quite effective against fresh tarry soiling). Another option is 646 solvent (a multi-component formula based on toluene, alcohols and acetone, which is moderately volatile and capable of dealing with small, fresh dirt).
Most of the recommended remedies are flammable and volatile, so work away from fire and preferably outdoors. When treating a large area of the bodywork, it is advisable to protect the respiratory system with a respirator. Make sure that the wipe or cloth does not get dirty or dusty which may act as an abrasive and do not rub too hard.
Which products should not be used
Do not use acetone as it is not very effective due to its rapid evaporation and is too aggressive – it could start to corrode the lacquer.
Petrol should not be used as the additives in the fuel are also aggressive. Furthermore, petrol evaporates quickly and does not have enough time to dissolve the dirt. Finally, fuel can leave a yellow or whitish residue on the bodywork that will spoil the appearance of the car, possibly even worse than asphalt deposits.
Using WD-40 all-purpose grease is also a bad idea as the paraffin in it will not wash the asphalt off effectively. Nor is brake fluid, as it is aggressive to paintwork and bodywork and can cause corrosion in the open air.
A repaired road or an already repaired area with melted bitumen is visible to the naked eye. So get in the habit, while driving on such sites, to change to the right line in advance, reduce speed to 40-50 km/h, and as less as possible turn the wheel and realign to avoid asphalt flying out from under the wheels onto the body. Also try to keep as much distance as possible from the vehicle in front of you.