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As the weather warms up in spring and summer, a new issue for your car crops up, and, if you’re anything like us, it can really bug you. We’re talking about bugs! Especially if you take a road trip through the countryside at night, dozens of tiny insects meet their demise on your windscreen, headlights, grill, front bumper and bonnet. Your windscreen wipers don’t stand a chance against these guys, even with wiper fluid.
Once these little bugs become stuck onto your paint job, removing them with car wash shampoo alone can be a chore, especially if you don’t clean your car soon afterward. The sun can literally bake their remains into your car’s paint, so the most important priority is to clean off any bug splatter as quickly as possible.
If you act fast, a thorough pre-wash with a high-quality car wash shampoo will remove most bug remains and road grime, but you’ll almost always find one or two stubborn ones that seem to hang onto dear life with all six legs. That’s when we recommend a specialty insect remover made just for auto finishes to break down bug remains and other tough stains and soils. And while you’ll never be able to stop bugs from hitting your car, you can protect the finish, so they’re easier to remove and don’t stain the clear coat of your car.
Before we get to the how-to, we’ll share a bit of science to help you understand what’s happening with bugs and your car. Let’s jump right in!
Insects, like most living things, are filled with acidic fluids. When they collide with your car at high speed, bugs splatter onto your car’s exterior surfaces. As the remains dry in the wind, or even worse in the sun, these acidic fluids start to react chemically with your car’s surfaces. If left long enough, they can stain your car’s clear coat permanently. A normal car wash with a pH-balanced car wash shampoo may not be enough to remove the remains or the stains. Whatever you do, don’t try to manually remove stuck-on remains. Too much elbow grease will end up scratching your car’s paint.
This job calls for a specialized product and a bug sponge or microfiber cloth. Scientifically formulated insect removers like Turtle Wax Insect Remover neutralize and break up acidic insect remains and tree sap so you can wipe them away easily, protecting your finish from permanent staining and scratching.
Wash your car by hand using a hosepipe, bucket, microfiber wash mitt and your favourite car wash shampoo. We recommend Hybrid Solutions Pro Pure Wash. This car shampoo will remove most bug remains, but you’ll likely have some stubborn ones to contend with.
Start at the roof and work your way down and around the car, finishing with the lower panels. Rinse with your hosepipe or power washer until you see no more foam running off your car’s finish. Be especially mindful to rinse window seals thoroughly. These spots tend to hold soapy foam even after you might think you’ve rinsed it all away. Pat the car dry with a plush, microfiber automotive drying towel.
Spray any leftover bug stains with enough Insect Remover so that the residue can soak in the cleaning solution. Let the product dwell according to the directions on the package. As it sits, the product chemically breaks down the acidic bug remains. When the time’s up, simply wipe away the bug residue with a bug sponge or clean microfiber cloth.
Consider this step optional…sort of. You won’t always need to take this action, but if bug residue and stains have hung on this far, they aren’t just on top of your clear coat. They’ve baked into the clear coat. At this point, you’ll need a polish to correct the paint.
We recommend Hybrid Solutions Pro 1 & Done. This breakthrough formula is the only polish you need for light stains and scratches up to some of the most severe damage. For more thorough instructions on polishing your car, check out this article.
If you have several problem areas, you’ll be better off polishing the entire car. If you only need to correct one or two spots, you can polish those areas only, but we’d advise you to lightly polish the surrounding areas as well. By feathering the polish on a broader area, you’ll blend the finish for a seamlessly glossy look, instead of leaving one area that clearly had been treated.
Chemical cleaners like bug and tar removers can strip off any protective wax that was present on your car. You’ll want to reapply wax on those areas. Plus, a car wax or paint sealant will help prevent future damage from bug residue and other contaminants.
For the ultimate protection, beauty and convenience, we recommend Hybrid Solutions Pro Flex Wax. This simple spray-on and wipe-off solution features a powerful combination of carnauba wax, ceramic polymers and pure, state-of-the-art graphene. It will keep bugs from embedding into and reacting with your car clear coat, and, even better, it will make your job of removing them easier down the road.
Now that you’ve dealt with those pesky pests, who’s up for an evening drive through the countryside?
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