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Best method to remove road tar on rims

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What do you use to remove road tar from the aluminum rims?  Other than a little elbow grease. 




2016 Legacy Elite II  o--o  Hull #110 o--o  Wayfinder  o--o  Twin Bed  o--o  2020 RAM 1500 Limited 5.7L 
Augusta, Georgia

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My first approach is to use "Bug and Tar Remover" from any of the major brands sold at WalMart, Auto Zone, Murpheys, etc.

If that doesn't work then I'll go after it with Acetone.  However, if you go this route - be very careful in that acetone will take the coating off those nice wheels if rubbed too hard and/or if left on one spot for too long.


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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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This is pure magic for tar, bugs and tree sap: ... 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner. Body shops use it for body prep before painting, you can buy a quart can for $14 at any auto body supplier, that is half what it costs online. A good coat of wax applied semi-annually will help to keep the tar and grime from sticking too badly.

John Davies

Spokane WA

SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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On 6/20/2021 at 5:57 AM, katanapilot said:

Inexpensive mineral spirits will probably remove road tar and be safe for the wheel clear coat. As JD said, the 3M adhesive remover is excellent as is WD-40. 

That's what they recommend using to remove tar from your feet at the beach.


2020 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel. LE2 hull# 344.

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The primary ingredient in WD-40 is mineral spirits.   At home I always have a gallon can of mineral spirits around.  Many years ago I had a friend that worked as a chemist at a DuPont.   One time we were hanging out, and another friend asks him the best chemical to use to dissolve old duct tape stuck to aluminum.  He explained that he frequently got questions like that, everyone always looking for the quick chemical fix, the magic bullet.  His answer was…….heat & time.   Don’t rush the job, just use inexpensive mineral spirits, or diesel fuel.   Warm the sticky substance to be removed with a heat gun if needed, and let ‘er soak.   Wrap a rag or paper towel soaked in it on the stuff to be cleaned, and go find something else to work on.   That advice has worked countless times for me since.  

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“Ramble” - 2021 Legacy Elite II #797;  2020 Ford F-250

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My mom used gasoline or paint thinner when we got home from the beach (1959-60), pre offshore drilling days along souther california beaches.

Today I would use mineral spirits. Acetone is highly flammable.


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2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

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