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Best Bug and Tar Remover for Cars

Removing bugs and other road grime is a real pain, but not when you have the best products at your disposal.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
4 min read

Bug and tar removers are specially formulated to help remove splattered insects and tar spots from your car's finish. Sure, those unfortunate hazards of the road don't endanger drivers, but they can harm your car's paint job and overall appearance. 

If you're looking for the best bug remover for cars, we can help you get rid of the stubborn stains mucking up your car paint with our top picks. All of these cleaner choices are based on our first-hand experience with each product. Make sure to read on afterwards for tips on how to use the products the right way.

McKee's 37

Hands down, this is the best bug and tar remover if you can swing the money for a bottle. Better yet, buy a big 128-ounce jug so you have it to last a very long time. McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Remover, in our experience, makes removing any bug stain, nasty bug guts and baked-on tar spots as simple as spraying, waiting and wiping the product off with a microfiber towel.

You can even add some of the cleaning product to your favorite bucket of car wash soap and water to make Road Kill Bug Remover even better. No matter how you use it, this is, by far, our favorite bug and tar remover.

McKee's 37

We liked McKee 37's spray product so much, we wanted to try what may even be a simpler product to use -- its Road Kill Bug Scrubber. It just requires you to dunk it in some warm, soapy water filled with car wash soap. We're happy to report it works really darn well removing bug splats and tar residue, just like the Road Kill Bug Remover spray, it removes bugs with ease.

This bug sponge scrubber did not leave any trace marks of scratching on paint clear coat in our experience, even on a black car, and it scrubbed off contaminants like dried bug guts and bird droppings with ease. If you don't actually want to add another spray bottle of detailing product to your arsenal, keeping a couple of these on hand is a great choice.


We're fans of a lot of 3D products here, and 3D's Bug Remover spray lives up to the quality its other products display when we've used them to keep the Roadshow fleet looking fresh. We specifically like that it's safe on a number of surfaces, including the car's paint, glass, plastic and headlights. It's easy to use at that, so you can't go wrong with 3D to clean nearly every car surface you can think of.

Comparison of the best bug and tar removers for 2022

Best bug and tar remover for cars BrandNamePrice
Overall McKee's 37Road Kill Bug Remover$25
Scrubber McKee's 37Road Kill Bug Scrubber$12
For tree sap Stoner Car CareTarminator$15
Multisurface 3DBug Remover$16
Cheap Turtle WaxPower Foam Bug & Tar Remover$18

Tips for using bug and tar remover

  • Dilute as needed: Make your paint cleaner product last if the manufacturer OKs the practice. For example, our top pick, McKee's 37, can be diluted 1:1 with water.
  • Follow instructions for best results: It may seem like spraying and wiping is all you have to do to remove tar and to remove bug messes, but some products ask you to be a little patient to let them do their job. If so, let the cleaner sit awhile before wiping it off paint with a microfiber cloth and it'll perform its grime and bug removal job on your beloved chariot.
  • Work in a shady area and make sure the surface is cool: It's as simple as that. You don't want to use these cleaner products on hot surfaces. They just won't work like they are supposed to, or could leave nasty results behind on paintwork.
  • Rid bugs and tar as soon as possible: Leaving junk like bug residue, bird droppings and tar spots on paint for a long time will only make them that much harder to get off. Plus, bugs that bake on paintwork can actually leave permanent damage behind.

Be bug and tar free with these Roadshow-approved products

Each of our bug and tar removal picks work well, and we think we have something for everybody who has to deal with smashed bugs, grime and tar on their road journeys. Pick your favorite and rest easy knowing bugs don't stand a chance.

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