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Your Car vs. Tree Sap

Tree sap can cause a staggering amount of damage. Make sure your vehicle stays protected.

Every day, your vehicle must content with myriad forms of assault. From acid rain and industrial fallout to careless motorists and overly enthusiastic children. While each of these things indeed threatens the integrity of your vehicle’s paint, one of the most problematic contaminants is tree sap.

Tree sap doesn’t sound as menacing as “industrial fallout” or “acid rain” but, especially on Vancouver Island in the springtime, it is one of the direst threats that your vehicle faces. Many motorists, consciously or unconsciously, park their vehicles underneath trees to take advantage of the shade. After all, no one likes returning to a scorching hot vehicle with a bag of refrigerated groceries.

Even if you are careful to park as far away from trees as possible, it is impossible to escape them altogether, especially in a densely foliated area like Victoria.

Why is Sap So Bad?

Tree sap is so bad for your paint that it almost seems that it was intentionally designed to be that way. In the spring, trees spray out an aerosolized sap that spreads out and covers a huge area in a thin mist. Thick globs of sap will ooze out of cut ends of branches and glob onto your vehicle.

Once the sap is stuck to your car, the heat from the sun actually bakes it on. Once sap gets hardened by the sun, removing it is almost impossible. You won’t have any luck with normal car shampoo, and even powerful solvents won’t be able to loosen its grip on your paint. Usually, the only way to deal with baked-on sap is by polishing or claying the vehicle.

In addition to its impressive stickiness, tree sap is highly acidic. As soon as the stuff makes contact with your vehicle, the sap begins chemically etching your clear coat.

What Can Be Done?

Most automotive wax is insufficient to fully protect against tree sap, because of its softness and chemical vulnerability, but it can buy your some time. A good wax job affords you the time to get rid of the sap before it hardens on and can damage your paint.

Aftermarket protective solutions like Ceramic Coatings are an effective way to protect your vehicle. While these solutions come with a high upfront cost, they typically pay for themselves over time.

Your next best bet is a regular washing and detailing routine. By washing your vehicle regularly at home, or having it professionally serviced, you can stay on top of sap accumulation and will be able to avoid any nasty surprises. Our detailing pros can quickly identify tree sap deposits and deal with them before they etch your paint. Get in touch, and keep your vehicle looking its best.

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