Rubber is a material that you might not think would come into contact with your car very often. But between minor fender benders, edges of shopping carts, and your kids’ shoes when they decide to use your car as a jungle gym, these instances are quite common.
Sometimes removing rubber scuff marks off your car paint can take a bit of work but it’s not impossible. You just need to gather the right products.
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5 Ways to Remove Rubber Scuff Marks
While there is no product specifically for removing rubber from car paint, there is a good variety of other car cleaners and generic cleaners that will work just as well.
A clay bar is one of the most widely used products for professional car detailers. It is made from synthetic clay, which is a combination of certain polymers and resins. Its sticky, putty-like surface helps to grab onto contaminants on your car’s paint and pull them off without damaging the paint.
When used with the proper lubricant, rubber scuff marks can be pulled off the surface of your car. It also leaves behind a smooth, shiny finish.
Using a clay bar is simple. Cut the bar into quarters and knead the piece for several minutes in your hands until it softens. Spray the scuff mark with the approved lubricant and start buffing the area.
Make sure to keep it well lubricated and fold over the clay bar periodically once it starts to get dirty. It may take some time, but it is sure to remove all that rubber from your paint.
Bug & Tar Remover
Products that are tough enough to remove tar from your car are also well-equipped to remove rubber marks. Chemical Guys is a favorite among consumers for its ability to get rid of all kinds of sticky residue from car paint, even tree sap.
Whichever brand you choose, make sure it specifies that it is safe to use on a clear coat. Some formulations will require you to dilute it in a bucket and some come premixed in a spray bottle.
Use a microfiber cloth to apply your product and start buffing out the black marks, staying as close to the scuff as possible. The tar remover will help soften and dissolve the rubber so it can be wiped away.
That’s right, the beloved all-purpose lubricant also works to remove black scuff marks from your car.
Spray WD-40 across the entire rubber mark and allow it to sit for several minutes. It will work its way underneath the rubber and give it enough “slip” to be easily removed. After it has sat, you can use a dull plastic scraper or a microfiber towel to start removing it.
You may need to repeat this process a few times, making sure the rubber stays well lubricated.
Because WD-40 does leave a greasy film behind, you will want to follow it up with a thorough wash so that it doesn’t attract any more dirt and grime to the area.
Similar to a bug and tar remover, Goo-Gone cuts through both sticky and dried pollutants on your car’s paint without damaging the clear coat.
This is a tried and true product for most car owners and homeowners. Ask anyone who has tried to remove the sticky residue left over from a sticker. Simply spray Goo-gone on the affected area, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently start buffing off the rubber marks.
Rinse and dry the area between applications and repeat as many times as necessary until the mark is gone.
A classic dissolving agent, rubbing alcohol can help soften and remove rubber scuffs easily. However, it should only be used for minor scuff marks that are less than a foot in length.
This is because it needs to be washed off immediately after use, or it can possibly damage the clear coat. It’s difficult to do that when you are working over a larger area.
Fill up one spray bottle with water and another spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. Spray the rubbing alcohol on the area, let it sit, and soak in, then go over the area with a microfiber towel and a little elbow grease until the mark is removed. Immediately spray the area with water once you are done.
Some Things to Remember
Remove as much as you can with soap and water before you start applying any remover products. Not only does this help lessen the amount of rubber you potentially need to remove but it removes any other dirt and debris.
This is an important step because most of these products will require you to use a buffing pattern. You don’t want to buff in minute bits of dirt or gravel, or you may end up with scratches in your clear coat.
Don’t let any product sit and soak for too long, 2-5 minutes should be all that is needed to moisten the area enough to remove the mark. While most are safe for clear coats (with the exception of rubbing alcohol), letting it sit too long means the product and the rubber will start drying again.
Keep it well lubricated but always keep an eye on it.
Wipe As You Go
Because the nature of rubber is to collect and “roll” up on itself, wipe the scuff in one direction after each pass with your product. This will move the pieces that are removed out of the way, so you know just how much you have left, and you don’t overwork the area.
Use gentle pressure and take your time.
Always Wash After Removal
Once your scuff mark is gone, give the area another pass with car soap and water to remove any leftover product. Some of these products can dry sticky if they are left on paint, which will only make them an attractant to bugs and other debris.
You may also want to buff and polish the area as well to restore its shine.