How To Remove Tar From Your Tires Without The Stress

If you are convinced that your tires were great just before leaving for your destination and suddenly, you hear a loud thumping noise while driving, a couple of things could have gone wrong.

One of such things is your tires coming in contact with fresh road tar and gravel.

Well, you don’t have to worry because this article teaches how to remove tar from tires without stress.

Why tar can be such a pain to remove?

Many vehicle owners know that the tires are one of the most important parts of a car, and it needs to be kept in great condition at all times. That means, spending time inspecting your wheels before you hit the road.

However, the road could have other plans for you – the regular route you take might become a construction zone overnight. Therefore, there is a good chance that you’ll be driving across a patch of wet tar.

Unfortunately, tar isn’t something you can easily remove and continue driving. Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort.

The reason why tar is such a pain to remove from a tire is that it immediately hardens on the rubber and ordinarily, you cannot use a stiff scrubbing brush to get rid of it. In fact, as much tar is on the tires, the more difficult it is to remove.

You need cleaning materials and tools such as mild detergent or solvent, brush, degreaser, putty or plastic knife, pressure washer, etc.

Will tar hurt my tires?

Considering how tar attaches to tires, it doesn’t look like a good thing. It is capable of limiting driving conditions and eventually causing accidents.

Tar is dangerous because it makes your tires unbalanced by putting unnecessary pressure on ball bearings, wheels assembly, and shocks.

Due to the stress exerted on the wheels, you start experiencing vibrations, poor tread wear, and eventually, bad tires.

Will tar eventually come off tires?

As bad as tar is on tires, they can be removed. In fact, you may not have to spend on repairing or getting a new tire. All you need is the right equipment for DIY tar removal.

Removing tar immediately you notice limits the damaging of your tires for road driving.

How do you remove road tar from car tires?

If you are ready, to begin with, the removal process, cleaning solvent or agent is definitely the most important thing you need. 

While there are many of them, only a few works best to remove tar from tires. See below.


WD-40 490043 Multi-Use Lubricant Spray

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One of the easiest methods to remove tar from tires is using WD-40. It is one of the best water dispersing products and is readily available in many stores.


Using this cleaning solvent doesn’t take too much – all you need to do is follow the steps below.

Step 1: Position the tire to different sides to set the working area.

Step 2: Spray the rubber tire with WD40. Make sure you are careful to avoid paint damage. Then, leave for a few minutes to soak in.

Step 3: Use a plastic knife or scraper to get rid of tar completely.

Goo Gone

Goo Gone Remover
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Another simple tar removing the product to use is the Goo Gone. It is a gel spray for removing tar from tires with little effort.


When using Goo Gone, what you need are white cloth, mild detergent, and water.

Step 1: Set your tires in a suitable position.

Step 2: Apply Goo Gone on the tire tread with asphalt tar.

Step 3: After 5 minutes, use a clean piece of cloth to wipe the stubborn tar off.

Step 4: Once the area looks clear of tar, you should clean the affected area with mild soap and water.

Elbow Grease

Chemical Guys Signature Series Orange Degreaser

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Elbow Grease is another way of removing stubborn tar from tires. A good elbow grease product to use is the Degreaser because of its effectiveness.


There are different ways to use this tar removing product, depending on the intensity of the tar or grime.

Step 1: Dilute the degreaser in water in a 1:3 ratio.

Step 2: Spray the degreaser on the tire, and leave it for 5 minutes to soak in.

Step 3: Use a plastic knife or putty knife to remove tar completely from the tires

You can choose to leave the degreaser to soak in for more than 12 hours if the tar doesn’t come off easily.

Bug and Tar Remover

Stoner Car Care Tar & Sap Remover

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Another effective cleaning method for tar and gravel from tires is the Tar Remover.

It is an effective cleaning agent that was particularly designed to remove hardened tar, bugs, and grime from surfaces.


Described below is how you use this product.

Step 1: Dilute 1 cup of bug and tar remover in 1 gallon of water

Step 2: Pour the solution in a spray bottle or container. Using a scrubbing brush, get rid of dirt, debris, or sticky substances from the surface of the tire first before spraying the solution.

Step 3: Then, use a stiff scrub brush to wash off the tar from the rubber tire. For better results, you can also scrape with a plastic knife.

Linseed Oil

LinSheen Boiled Linseed Oil

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Linseed oil is another cleaning agent for tar and gravel removal. However, it requires boiling hot before it can be used.


The mechanism of removing tar from tires isn’t so different from water dispersing products.

Step 1: Apply boiled linseed oil on the tarred tires and wait for a few minutes to soak in.

Step 2: Use a scrub brush to remove the tar from the tires.

Step 3: Wash the surface off with mild detergent and water.

Does WD-40 take off tar completely?

WD-40 is one of the best water dispersing products, and without a doubt, is the easiest way to remove tar and gravel from car tires. It is designed to dissolve tar so that it is removable with minimal effort.

Another incredible water dispersing product that works effectively like the WD-40 is the RP-7.

How do you remove hardened tar?

Hardened tar only means more tar and that can be very difficult to remove. However, there are ways to remove it without damaging the tires.

First, you can combine different methods listed above OR use kerosene or prep-sol since they are perfect for getting rid of road film and tar.


  1. Use a plastic tool to remove deposits on the tires
  2. Scrub the gravel and tar using a brush, detergent, and elbow grease.
  3. Apply boiled linseed oil on the tire and use the plastic tool to remove tar from it.
  4. Add kerosene or special cleaning solvent like prep sol to further remove the tar from the tires.
  5. Then apply water dispersing products to completely get rid of asphalt tar and use a scraping brush if necessary
  6. Finally, wash the car tire with mild detergent and water.

N.B: Avoid using strong chemicals or flammable products like diesel fuel.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know My Tire Is Covered in Tar?

If you drive your car on a road covered with asphalt coal tar, you are likely to get your tires tarred. The first sign that comes with it is a change in color. Your car tires become deep black.

Another sign is that it starts shaking – there will be a problem with balancing since the rubber tires are covered with sticky substances.


When you notice your car tire is covered in debris, dirt, or tar, your job is to get it cleaned immediately. You can deploy different methods to ensure your tires are in good condition, including scrubbing and applying tar removal substances.

If tar gets stuck on your car tires, described above is a list of ways to get rid of it. Apply any trick you think is suitable but give the tires enough time for complete tar removal.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

Thanks for reading our article! We've written this article with a lot of thought and care. If you're interested in seeing more of our content, please check out our Tires section and find an answer to your questions!

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