How to Remove Tar from Tires

How to Remove Tar from Tires

For today’s do it yourself article I will show you how to remove tar from tires. The quality of your tires is very important for the performance of your car. Do you want to extend your car’s durability and efficiency? All you need to do is take care of its tires! While you may focus on the exteriors, engine and other parts, you may not give equal importance to the tires. However, you might be surprised to know if you take care of your tires, you can definitely increase the lifespan of your vehicle.

What happens when you don’t clean the tar in the tires?

One of the most important things about tar removal is that even a small quantity of tar can affect the balance of the tires, and impact your driving performance. Tar doesn’t go away by itself when you drive the car. You have to take some effort to clean the tar from the tires completely. When you don’t do that, the accumulated tar can impact the quality of the rubber component, by hardening it completely. When you drive at a high speed on the highways, you may sometimes notice that your car may start to shake. This is because of the tar buildup in the tires.

When tar starts to build up in your tires, it can affect the bearings, shocks and the entire assembly of your wheels. When left unnoticed, this may cause your vehicle to heat up when driving for long distances. Eventually, you have to spend more on your fuel costs, and your car’s mileage starts to get affected badly. This is why it is important to get rid of tar from your tires at the earliest.

Listed below are some effective methods you can try at home to get rid of the grease and tar settled on your tires.

What do you need to remove tar from tires?

It is a good idea to keep these supplies ready before you start the process of removing tar from your car’s tires. Choose the supplies that you need based on the method you choose.

  • A knife (not a sharp one)
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Liquid detergent (use only the ones with mild chemicals)
  • Linseed oil
  • Degreasing Agents (kerosene, 3M prep solvent, or similar agents)


Process of cleaning tar from the tires

  • Use a plastic knife or the blunt edge of a knife to scrape the grease and tar marks.
  • While this method may work if the tar stains are fresh, you may need another solution to get rid of tar stains that have dried up. For dry tar marks, you can use a scrubbing brush and a mild detergent.
  • Pour a generous quantity of linseed oil on the tires, and let it remain there for about 30 minutes. Now, scrub off the oil-soaked grease marks with a plastic knife or a scrubbing brush.
  • Keep repeating by using different tools like a knife, brush, or WD40 and scrub off the tire marks gently.
  • If linseed oil is not enough to remove the tar marks, you can use other degreasing agents like kerosene, 3M Prep Solvent and the like.
  • Please note that you may have to repeat this process many times, until you notice the grease marks lifting from the tires completely.1:3

Important tips

Here are some important tips to remember when you using this method:

  • Use only a plastic knife or the blunt edge of a knife when scrubbing the tar from the tires. Never use any sharp objects during this process, as they can damage your tires extensively.
  • When using degreasing agents or tar-removal products, always follow the instructions on the label to the T. Some products may cause irreparable damage to your tires, when you use them beyond the recommended dosage levels.
  • When using a bug & tar remover agent, make sure you dilute it as much as possible. You have to mix 1 cup of this agent in a gallon of water to make a tar-cleaning solution. Spray this on the tires, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub off the tar marks.
  • When using a degreasing agent, always ensure that the ratio of this and water is maintained at 1:3 to get the right consistency.
  • If you don’t have the time to remove tar from your tires as soon as you notice them, you can still continue to drive to your destination, without any major issues. However, you have to drive quite slowly, because the tar will cause the car to shake when you drive at a high speed. Remember to clean the tar as soon as you find the time.
  • Stubborn tar residues will definitely take a long time to come off the tires. You have to keep scrubbing with detergent, mild soap, or the degreasing/tar-removing agent many times until you notice the tar coming off. Please remember to be gentle during this process, as a small mistake can cause a piercing in the tires, and make them unusable.
  • If the tar stains are fresh and not too spread out, you can spray some WD-40 or mineral spirit on them. Wait for about 10 minutes before you wipe them away with a clean microfiber cloth to get clean tires.
  • For sticky tar stains, you can use peanut butter to clean your tires. Remember to use peanut butter that has a high cream content. Use a pair of gloves to rub creamy peanut butter on the tar stains on your tires. Wait for 10 minutes, before you wipe away the butter (and the tar stains!) with a clean, microfiber cloth. Gently rub the tar marks in circular motions to get the job done quickly and effectively.
  • You can also make an easy DIY tar-cleaning paste by mixing 2 or 3 tablespoons of baking soda with water. Apply this paste on the tar marks, and allow it to sit there for about 10 minutes. Wipe away with a soft, clean towel to see your tires clean and tar-free.
  • In case of heavy tar buildup in your tires, we suggest you don’t follow any DIY methods that we have listed here. It is a good idea to seek professional help right away to prevent further damage to your tires.


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