Do you frequently park your vehicle outside on the street where it sometimes ends up underneath a few tree branches? If so, you are probably used to seeing an unwanted substance showing up on the body of your car: tree sap. Tree sap does not immediately cause permanent damage to your car's paint job, but if you leave it untreated for too long, the situation can escalate. If you frequently find yourself in an area where your car might be prone to getting hit by falling tree sap, follow these tips to keep your car looking great.

Step One: Wash Your Car Like Normal

If you've dealt with this problem before, you likely know that just a normal wash isn't going to remove all of the tree sap, but that's not the point. Running your car through the car wash will remove all other dirt from your car so that you have a clean surface to work on. This makes ultimately removing the tree sap easier to accomplish.

Step Two: Find a Removing Substance That Works for You

There aren't going to be too many products that specifically advertise removing tree sap in the auto aisle of your local department store. But there are two substances that do tend to work well: bug/tar remover and rubbing alcohol. Take a dab of your chosen substance and put it on a clean washcloth. Drape the cloth over the affected area of your car and let it soak for 30 to 60 seconds. Begin gently rubbing the area, increasing the strength you put it into it over time. If the sap has not been there for too long, this should hopefully remove most to all of it.

Final Step: Scrape It Away

If there is any residue left over that will simply not go away because it's been there too long, you can try a relatively low tech measure to try and remove it: Your fingernails. Don't be afraid to scratch away at the sap, you won't hurt your auto paint as long as you don't go overboard with the pressure. This will typically only work best after you have weakened what's left of the sap with the removing substance in step two.  If you manage to remove all of it, wipe down the previously affected area with some wax and you should be good to go.

If the above steps did not work for you, you may need the help of a professional. If the tree sap has been on your car long enough to cause permanent damage to your paint job, you should take your vehicle into an auto body repair shop (such as Windy's Collision Center) for detailing.