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The Best Bug Remover For Cars 2021

Bug and Tar Remover For Cars

Avoiding bug splatter upon the paintwork or windshield whilst driving is pretty much impossible and no matter what you use, preventing bug remains sticking to the surface can be hard. However, you can can invest into a high quality bug remover for cars that makes the removal process far easier.

If you require a quick answer, the best bug remover for cars is the McKee’s 37 Road Kill, which effectively removes bug splatter without removing any durable waxes on the paintwork. If you also want to prevent the build-up of bug remains, the BugSlide Kit is the best alternative that removes, cleans and polishes.

Unlike other forms of dirt or debris, bugs don’t wash away easily with a car wash soap. However, using a bug remover will break down the tough dirt with ease and it can also be used effectively on a range of surfaces.

Table of Contents

Bug and Tar Remover Comparison

Bug RemoverBottle SizeMicrofiber Included
McKee's 37 Road Kill16 or 128 ozNo
Turtle Wax T520A Bug & Tar16 ozYes
BugSlide Shop Kit16 ozYes
Chemical Guys Heavy Duty Wash4, 16, 64 or 128 ozNo
Mothers 16719 Speed18.5 ozNo
Thetford Bug Bust32 ozNo
Griot's Garage 1098222 or 128 ozNo

There are many different types of bug remover products on the market that are suitable for light to heavy build-ups. Some are available as a car wash, which is great for removal all over the car whereas others come as spot cleaners with a dedicated applicator sponge.

Using a clay bar is another great method of bug removal but unlike the products listed within this article, using a clay bar can be time consuming when compared to a spot clean or heavy duty car wash formula.

Below is a list of the best bug removers for cars that effectively break down the tough bug splatter so that they can be easily wiped clear.

The Best Bug Remover For Cars

1. McKee’s 37 Road Kill Bug Remover

McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Remover
McKee’s 37 are a highly reputable detailing brand and their bug remover spray is a popular option that also works great on tar, road grime and other tough elements.

The concentrated formula requires no rinsing whatsoever and the application simply involves spraying the product onto the bug splatter and then wiping it clear.

Other features of the McKee’s 37 Bug Remover include:

  • 100% clear coat safe
  • Safe to use on paint, glass, chrome and plastic
  • Doesn’t remove car wax protection
  • Available as a kit with dedicated sponges for tough bugs
  • High quality and easy to use spray bottle

Unlike cheaper alternatives, the McKee’s 37 bug remover preserves the wax used on your paintwork. The enzymes used within the concentrated formula dissolves the bug remains and it does so with great success. It’s the best bug remover for cars that’s safe to use and is able to tackle other stubborn dirt or debris too.

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2. BugSlide Remover and Polish

BugSlide Remover and Polish
BugSlide is a fairly unique product because unlike the alternatives, it’s an all-in-one formula that removes bug splatter, cleans and polishes. After a single application, it provides a slippery surface that helps to prevent future bug splatter build up.

Other features of the BugSlide Remover and Polish include:

  • Dries crystal clear with no yellowing
  • Uses no wax, petroleum, silicone, teflon or ammonia
  • Safe to use on automotive, motorcycle and marine surfaces
  • Added protection against harmful UV rays
  • Includes two premium microfiber towels

The brand name “BugSlide” gives you an indication to what this bug remover is all about. It can be used on a range of different surfaces and it effectively removes bugs. Although expensive, it’s a specialist detailing product that won’t disappoint.

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3. Turtle Wax T-520A Bug and Tar Remover

Turtle Wax T-520A Bug and Tar Remover
One of the most popular bug and tar remover products on the market is by the Turtle Wax brand. It’s a spot cleaner that requires no rubbing and is as simple as spraying it onto the surface area, letting it settle for 1 minute and then wiping it clear.

Other features of the Turtle Wax T-520A Bug and Tar Remover include:

  • Non-drip formula for spot cleaning
  • Safe to use on metal, paint, plastic and glass
  • Formula cling to vertical surfaces
  • Leaves a protective barrier
  • Works great on tree sap and bird droppings too

For tackling tough elements and stains, the Turtle Wax T-520A is more than ideal. It’s the best bug and tar remover that’s easy to apply and works great on a range of surfaces. We highly recommend using separate microfiber towels when using this formula for improved results.

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4. Chemical Guys Heavy Duty Car Wash

Chemical Guys Heavy Duty Car Wash
For those that want to avoid spot cleaners, the Chemical Guys heavy duty car wash is ideal. It safely removes bugs, tar, grime, tree sap and bird droppings via a concentrated stain fighting formula that works on the majority of automotive surfaces.

Other features of the Chemical Guys Heavy Duty Car Wash include:

  • Safe for clear coat and single stage paint
  • Suitable for paint, glass, plastics, aluminum, chrome and much more
  • Advanced lubricating polymers
  • Can be used as a diluted spot cleaner in a spray bottle

Although it’s a heavy duty car wash, the formula may not be strong enough to remove extremely stubborn bugs or tar. However, it’s by far one of the safest to use and it effectively removes bugs, tar, tree sap and other gunk that hasn’t become baked onto the surface.

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5. Mothers Speed Foaming Bug & Tar Remover

Mothers Speed Foaming Bug & Tar Remover
The Mothers Speed aerosol is a foaming formula that specifically targets bugs and tar upon any exterior surfaces. The brand state that it’s a simple spray on and rinse off application, which neutralizes bug acids and leaves a streak-free shine.

Other features of the Mothers Speed Formula include:

  • Fast acting foaming formula
  • No-drip aerosol application
  • Simply spray on and rinse off
  • Suitable for all exterior surfaces
  • Can be used as a pre-wash solution
  • 18.5 oz bottles

Overall, the Mother Speed aerosol is a fast acting formula with professional cleaning strength that easily tackles stubborn splatter and road grime. Whether you use it for touch-ups or spot cleaning, it safely penetrates and loosens dried residue upon any exterior surface.

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6. Thetford Premium Bug Bust

Thetford Premium Bug Bust
Thetford is a popular brand within the RV industry but their Bug Bust formula is ideal for any exterior surfaces. Whether it’s tackling your RV, car or ATV, the spray solution effectively removes tough bugs with ease. In terms of the application, the brand recommends that you spray it onto the surface, wait one minute and then wipe clear.

Other features of the Thetford Bug Bust include:

  • 32 oz spray bottle
  • Gelcoat, fiberglass and painted surfaces
  • 100% biodegradable and non-flammable formula
  • Ergonomic trigger and adjustable nozzle

Overall, the Thetford Bug Bust is an excellent all-round option that’s fully biodegradable and comes in an easy to use spray bottle. The fact that it can be used upon any exterior surface will provide you with complete peace of mind when using it upon fragile surfaces.

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7. Griot’s Garage 10982 Bug and Smudge

Griot's Garage 10982 Bug and Smudge
Another highly rated bug remover for cars is by the reputable Griot’s Garage brand. Not only is it able to remove sun-dried bugs and road grime but it’s also suitable for rubber scuffs, which are common from car parks or track days.

Other features of the Griot’s Garage 10982 include:

  • Available in 22 or 128 ounce bottles
  • Softens and loosens stubborn bug splatter
  • Spray on, wait 30 seconds and then wipe off
  • Safe for use on all exterior surfaces
  • Made in the USA

The Griot’s Garage bug remover for cars is a great choice that’s made in the USA and backed by the reputable brand. Compared against many of the alternatives, it also offers great value for the money, which is quite surprising for a branded bug remover.

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Bug Remover For Car Buying Guide

Bug splatter is gunk that gets picked up fairly easily whilst out driving on the road. Even if you use a quality paint sealant to make your paintwork as slippery as possible, they will still continue to buildup overtime. If you regular drive in the countryside or near farms, the buildup of bugs is even more common.

Tackling the bug splatter within 24 hours of being in contact with your car makes removal far easier. However, not everyone has the time to wash their car and this leads to the hardening of the bug remains. This is where a bug remover becomes very useful because they will remove them no matter how long they have been left on the car.

To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding bug removers for cars.

Bug and Tar Remover

Safe Removal

When you notice that bug remains are all over your car, you won’t want to leave them on there for too long. They can lead to etching of the paint and you will need a suitable car polish to remove the defects as a result. However, at the same time you’ll want to use a suitable bug remover because you may cause more harm than good with a product not suitable for use on cars.

All of the bug remover recommendations within this article are safe to use upon automotive surfaces. However, it’s worth pointing out that there are many products that are more suited to domestic tasks, which may not be safe to use for cars and it could damage the clear coat.

Most brands state on the bottle the surfaces that the bug remover is suited for. Generally, most will be safe to use on paint, metal, plastics, chrome, aluminum and others but you’ll want to check before spraying it onto the car.

Removing Bugs From Cars

Once you’ve purchased a bug remover, you’ll want to use it correctly. Before spraying, check the bottle for a specified dwell time to see how long you must leave the product to get to work on the paintwork. This is important as it gives the formula time to dissolve the bug remains for easy removal. In most cases, the dwell time ranges between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

It’s also recommended that you have a dedicated applicator sponge or cloth that allows you to wipe the tough remains that refuse to budge.

Once you are setup, below are the brief steps required for removing bugs from your cars.

  1. Soak the targeted area with the bug remover.
  2. Allow the product to dissolve the bug remains.
  3. Using a damp cloth, wipe the product clear.
  4. Check for any leftover bugs and repeat if necessary.
  5. Apply suitable wax to protect the paintwork.

Although most bug removers for cars claim they don’t damage the wax, it’s always good practice to reapply wax afterwards. The etching from the bugs may have damaged the protective layer and for this reason, it’s worth waxing the area again.

Tar Remover For Cars

Heavy Duty Wash vs Spot Cleaners

Using a heavy duty car wash soap to tackle bugs can work great and is a safer method too. Products such as the Chemical Guys formula tackles both bugs and tar but if this dirt has hardened, car wash soaps may struggle. Therefore using a bug spot cleaner is the best alternative but it does come with drawbacks.

Some spot cleaners are known to strip durable waxes and damage surfaces such as plastics, chrome and others. Therefore, its vital that you choose a bug remover for cars and not one that can be used around the house.

What To Avoid?

Most bug removers for cars are completely safe to use but when used incorrectly, they can do more harm than good. For example, you shouldn’t use these products in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces as this will cause them to dry instantly. Once dried, it may be hard to remove and this could cause a reaction with the clear coat or other surfaces.

Another common mistake people make is leaving the product on for too long. It main seem the correct thing to do but leaving the bug remover for too long may cause it to start stripping the wax or other elements of the paintwork. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that you keep to the manufacturers guidelines for the best results.


Tackling bug remains on your paintwork as early as possible will make them much more easier to remove. However, not everyone has the time to wash their car everyday but this is where a bug remover for cars comes very useful as they can be remove bugs in just a few minutes.

All of our recommendations are affordable and safe to use on automotive surfaces. They also do a great job of removing other dirt and debris such as tar, road grime, bird droppings and so much more.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always likes to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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