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Bug and Tar Remover For Cars

The Best Bug Remover For Cars 2020

Avoiding bug splatter buildup upon the paintwork or windshield is pretty much impossible. No matter what you use, preventing bug sticking can be hard. However, you can arm yourself with a bug remover for cars that makes removal far easier.

The best bug remover for cars is the McKee’s 37 Road Kill, which effective removes bug remains without removing any durable waxes on the paintwork.

Unlike other forms of dirt or debris, both tar and bugs may not wash easily with regular car wash soap. However, using a bug remover will break down the tough dirt and can be used effectively on paint, plastics and the windshield.

Bug and Tar Remover Comparison

Bug RemoverBottle SizeMicrofiber Included
McKee's 37 Road Kill16 or 128 ozNo
B.E.S.T. 45032 Bug-Off32 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 that are suited to light or heavy buildup. Some are available as a car wash, which is great for removal all over the cars whereas others come as spot cleaners with a dedicated sponge.

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

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

The Best Bug Remover For Cars

1. McKee’s 37 Road Kill Bug Remover

McKee’s 37 are a reputable detailing brand and their bug bug remover spray also works great on tar, road grime and other tough elements. The concentrated formula requires no rinsing and application is simply spraying on and then wiping off.

Features of the McKee’s 37 Bug Remover for cars includes:

  • 100% clear coat safe
  • Safe to use on paint, glass, chrome and plastic
  • Will not remove durable car wax protection
  • Available as a kit with dedicated sponges for tough bugs

Unlike other cheaper alternatives, the McKee’s 37 bug remover will preserve the wax used on your paintwork. Instead, the enzymes within the concentrated formula dissolve the bug remains and is does this with great success. Overall, it is the best bug remover for cars that is safe to use and tackles other tough dirt and debris too.

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2. B.E.S.T 45032 Bug-Off Bug Remover

B.E.S.T is a popular bug remover for cars, trucks and RVs that contains no acids or caustics, which may cause damage to some surfaces. Application is as easy as spraying the target area, leaving to settle for 30 seconds and then wiping clear.

Features of the B.E.S.T 45032 Bug-Off Bug Remover include:

  • Does not harm decals or fabric
  • Safe for use on a clear coated paintwork
  • Available in a 32 oz spray bottle and 5 gallon refill
  • Powerful formula for the biggest of bug splatter
  • Also tackles tree sap and road grime

Overall, the B.E.S.T 45032 Bug-Off Bug Remover is a great all-rounder that is very powerful in order to tackle the worst bug splatters. We highly recommend purchasing an applicator and sticking to the 30 second dwell time as the formula works instantly.

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3. BugSlide Remover and Polish

BugSlide is a fairly unique product because unlike the alternatives, the formula is an all-in-one because it removes, clean and polishes. After application, it provides a slippery surfaces that help prevent bug 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 effectively removes bugs but it does come with a premium price tag when compared to other products.

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

One of the most popular bug and tar remover products is by Turtle Wax. It is a sport cleaner that requires no rubbing and is as simple as spraying onto the surface area, letting it settle for 1 minute and then wiping it off.

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 ideal. It is the best bug and tar remover that is easy to apply and works great on a range of surfaces. We highly recommend using separate microfiber towels when using this formula for better results.

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5. Chemical Guys Heavy Duty Car Wash

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

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 is a heavy duty car wash, the formula may not be strong enough to remove tough bugs or tar. However, it is by far one of the safest to use and will effectively remove bugs, tar, tree sap and other gunk that hasn’t hardened with ease.

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6. Mothers Speed Foaming Bug & Tar Remover

The Mothers Speed is a foaming formula that specifically targets bugs and tar upon any exterior surfaces. The brand states that is a simple spray on and rinse off application, which neutralizes bug acids to leave 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

The Mother Speed aerosol is a fast acting formula with professional cleaning strength that easily tackles deep splatter and road grime. Whether you use it for touch-ups or spot cleaning, it will safely penetrate and loosen dried residue on any exterior surface.

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7. 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 will effectively remove tough bugs with ease.

In terms of the application, the brand recommend 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

The Thetford Bug Bust is an excellent all-round option that is fully biodegradable and comes in an easy to use spray bottle. The fact that it can be used upon any exterior surface provides complete peace of mind for those with fragile surfaces upon their car.

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8. 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 is made in the USA and backed by a reputable brand. Compared against many of the alternatives, it also offers great value for the money.

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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. You can use a quality paint sealant to make your paintwork as slippery as possible but 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 bugs 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 splatter. This is where a bug remover becomes very useful as 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 buying guide regarding bug removers for cars.

Bug and Tar Remover

Safe Removal

When you notice that bug remains are all over your car, you will not 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 defects as a result. However, at the same time you will want to use a suitable bug remover because you may cause more harm than good with a product not suited for use on cars.

All of the bug remover recommendations within this article are safe to use on automotive surfaces. However, there are many products that are more suited to domestic tasks, which may not be safe to use and could damage the clear coat.

Most brands will 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 be sure to check before spraying onto the car.

Removing Bugs From Cars

Once you have purchased the bug remover, you will want to use it correctly. Before spraying, check the bottle for a specified time to see how long you must leave the product to dwell for 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 is also recommended that you have a dedicated sponge or cloth that will allow you to wipe the tough remains that need bit more of push.

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

  1. Soak the targeted area with 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 do not damage the wax, it is always good practice to reapply wax afterwards. The etching from the bugs may have damaged the protective layer and for this reason, its 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 bug and tar but if this dirt has hardened, car wash soap may struggle. Therefore using a bug remover 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 will 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 might start stripping wax or other elements of the paintwork. 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 easy to remove. However, not everyone has the time to wash their cars 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 are safe to use on automotive surfaces. They will 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 like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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