Ran Over Paint With Car? Here’s What To Do!

81 / 100

Discovering that you’ve run over paint with your car can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it’s not uncommon. 

So, what should you do now that you ran over paint with car?

The first thing you should do is get your car to a pressure wash. If that’s not possible, get home, then wash and wax the problem area of your car. If that doesn’t work, use a strength remover or petroleum jelly to clean off the paint. Remember to be gentle with the scrubbing and not to use solvents as they will damage your car’s finish.

This article provides tips and advice on how to handle the situation and remove the paint effectively and safely.

Ran Over Paint With Car? Follow These Steps!

Source: Hyper Car Care

So, you’ve run over paint, and now you have road paint splatter on the car. The situation can make you super annoyed, but you should act as fast as you can to remove it. 

The first thing you should do is get your car to a pressure car wash while it’s still wet. The car wash should be able to get the paint off for you. If you’re not able to go to the car wash, don’t worry; follow the steps mentioned below.

How To Remove Dried Paint From Car Exterior?

We are assuming you noticed right away that you ran over the paint with your car and got home. The paint should be dry by the time you get home, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Method 1: Wash and Wax

The first and easiest method for removing paint splatters is to wash your car thoroughly and then apply car wax. 

Tools Needed: Car wash soap, microfiber cloth, car wax.


  • Park your car in a shaded area and make sure it’s cool to the touch before you begin.
  • Use gentle soap and a clean sponge or microfiber cloth to wash the affected area. Rinse the car thoroughly with a hose or pressure washer.
  • Use a clean, dry towel to dry the car completely.
  • Apply a layer of car wax to the affected area using a soft cloth or applicator pad. Rub the wax onto the paint in a circular motion, making sure to cover the entire affected area.
  • Allow the wax to dry completely, usually for 10-15 minutes.
  • Use a clean, microfiber cloth to buff the wax away in a circular motion. Be sure to use gentle pressure and work slowly to avoid damaging the paint.
  • After washing the car you can apply the iron remover to restore its previous shine.

Method 2: Use Strength Remover

If the paint splatters are more stubborn, you might need to use a stronger solvent, like a strength remover. 

Tools Needed: Strength remover, microfiber cloth, and car wax.


  • Wear nitrile gloves before proceeding 
  • Apply a small amount of the strength remover to a clean microfiber cloth or sponge. Gently rub the paint splatters until they dissolve.
  • Rinse the area with water to remove any remaining chemicals.
  • Use a clean, dry towel to dry the area completely.
  • After the area is dry, apply a layer of car wax to protect the paint.

For even better protection, there are products you can use after applying wax.

Method 3: Use Enamel Reducer

You can use safe solvents such as Enamel Reducer to make the paint soluble and thus making it easier to remove. Now I’ll go through the process about how to use an enamel reducer to remove the road main from the car.

Tools Needed: Enamel Reducer, Microfiber Towel, Some well reputed LSP such as Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Detailer.

Speedokote SMR-870 - Universal Medium 65-80°F Urethane Grade Reducer
Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Detailer


  • First, soak the corner of the towel with the enamel reducer.
  • Now with your finger and the microfiber towel try to clean a small spot where the paint splattered. 
  • If it goes away then apply the same pressure to wipe away all the splattered spots.
  • Do not let the enamel dry, use the dry part of the microfiber cloth to wipe it away.
  • Finally use an LSP such as Chemical Guys Speed Wipe Quick Detailer to give a clean finish to the surface.
Chemical Guys WAC_202_16 Speed Wipe Quick Detailer

NOTE: Remember not to use lacquer thinner to clean the paint.

Method 4: Apply Petroleum Jelly

If the paint has been there for several days, you can try using petroleum jelly or vaseline. This method is gentler than using a solvent and can be effective for smaller splatters. 

Tools Needed: Petroleum jelly or vaseline, microfiber cloth.


  • Apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly to the affected area using a clean, soft microfiber cloth.
  • Let the petroleum jelly sit on the paint for several hours, ideally overnight.
  • Use a clean, soft cloth to wipe away the petroleum jelly and the dissolved paint.
  • If there is still paint remaining, repeat the process until all the paint is removed.
  • After all the paint is removed, wash the area with soap and water to remove any remaining petroleum jelly.

Method 5: Use WD-40

WD-40 is a household name for cleaning and greasing. And everyone turns to it when nothing else works out. That’s why a lot of people ask the same question. Can you use WD-40 to remove road paint from a car?

Yes, you can easily use WD-40 to remove road paint from cars. The actual formula of WD-40 is a well kept secret. But mineral oil, Isoparaffinic aliphatic hydrocarbons, Flammable aliphatic hydrocarbons, Alkanes are the substances that are present in it. These substances can be used together to remove car paint as the paint is soluble in this solution.

Even though there is some confusion about using WD40 on car paint, now you know that you can use it, so let’s move on to the process.

Tools Needed: WD-40, Clean Microfiber Cloth, Dry Towel and sufficient water.

WD-40 Original Forumla


  • First identify the spot where the paint splattered and spray a generous amount of WD-40 there.
  • Now take the clean microfiber cloth and scrub the road paint away gently. Make sure that you don’t put too much pressure while scrubbing, otherwise it might damage the paint.
  • Now rinse the area with water to remove any remaining paint splatters.
  • Finally, use a clean dry towel to dry the area completely. Ensure that there is no moisture present there.
  • To top it off, you can apply a layer of car wax to protect the paint from future damage.

How to Remove Paint from Tires and Wheel Wells?

Along with your car’s exterior, the tires and/or wheel wells are probably splattered by the paint. The process of removing paint is slightly different than that for the car’s body. Because tires do not have a smooth surface like a car’s body and they are made of different materials. 

How to Remove Paint from Tires? 

How to Remove Paint from Tires
Source: Rated Radar Detector

If you have paint on your tires, it should go away on its own as you drive your car. But if you have to clean it, you can follow the procedure described below-

Method One: Rubbing Alcohol

This method will only apply if the paint is still fresh. 

Tools Needed: Microfiber cloth, rubbing alcohol.

Procedure: Pour a lot of rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth and scrub the paint away from the tires.

Method Two: Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Baking soda and lemon juice are powerful cleaning agents commonly used as all-purpose cleaners in households.

Tools needed: A heavy-duty nylon-bristled brush, baking soda, and lemon juice.


  • Hose down the tire with water to ensure it is clean.
  • Use a heavy-duty nylon-bristled brush to vigorously scrub the paint spots. This will loosen the paint and prepare it for removal from the tire.
  • While the tire is still wet, sprinkle baking soda onto the affected areas.
  • Apply lemon juice to the same areas. 
  • Scrub the tire tread again with your nylon-bristled brush, allowing the baking soda to work on the painted areas.
  • Reapply baking soda and lemon juice as needed, and continue scrubbing until the paint is completely removed.
  • Rinse off the tire with water to remove any remaining residue.

Method Three: Vegetable Oil

Although it may seem unconventional, vegetable oil can actually be an effective method for removing paint from tires. This technique can help restore your wheels to a shiny appearance without causing any damage.

Tools Needed: A heavy-duty nylon-bristled brush and vegetable oil,


  • Apply a generous amount of vegetable oil to coat the affected tire area.
  • Let the vegetable oil sit for 2-4 hours. The oil will help to break apart the paint on the tire.
  • Scrub the tire with a brush, using force to remove the paint.
  • Occasionally apply water to stimulate the grease and continue scrubbing the tire.
  • Rinse off the tire with water and use a towel to dry it.

How to Remove Paint from the Wheel Wells

How to Remove Paint from the Wheel Wells
Source: Ranger 5g

You can use a lacquer thinner to remove the paint from the wheel wells, as they are less susceptible to damage compared to the car’s body. Use a small amount of lacquer thinner on a microfiber cloth and rub away the paint on the wheel wells.

If you prefer to use a rather common cleaning product, you can use petroleum jelly to clean the paint from wheel wells. Apply a lot of petroleum jelly to the wheel wells, and keep it there overnight. Then clean it off with water the next day. Repeat the process if it was not enough on the first try.

What Not to Do When Removing Road Paint Splatter on Car?

When removing road paint splatter on a car, there are some things you should avoid doing to prevent damage to the car’s paintwork. Here are some things you should not do:

  • Don’t use abrasive materials: Avoid using rough or abrasive materials such as steel wool or sandpaper, as they can scratch the car’s paint.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals such as paint thinners or acetone as they can damage the car’s paint and cause it to fade or peel.
  • Don’t scrape the paint: Avoid using sharp objects such as razor blades or knives to scrape off the paint, as this can also cause scratches and damage to the paint.
  • Don’t use hot water: Avoid using hot water to clean off the paint, as this can cause the paint to soften and become more difficult to remove.
  • Don’t use excessive force: Avoid applying excessive force when scrubbing the paint off, as this can also cause scratches and damage to the paint.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Does hand sanitizer remove car paint?

No, hand sanitizer cannot remove car paint. In fact, it does not impact the car paint in any way. Most hand sanitizers are neutral, do not contain alkali or phosphorus, and are primarily used for sterilization.

Is hand soap safe for car paint?

No, hand soap is not safe for car paint. The chemicals that the hand soap contains can remove the protective wax on the car’s paint. 

Do alcohol wipes remove paint?

Yes, you can remove some types of paint with alcohol wipes. But it depends on the type of paint and the surface it is on. They are generally not recommended for removing paint.


If you ran over paint with car, it was probably a stressful experience. But if you take quick action, you can minimize the damage. 

By following the right steps and using the appropriate products, you can remove the paint from your car’s tires, body, and pavement without causing further harm. It is always advisable to seek professional help if you are unsure about how to proceed or if the damage is extensive.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I am a professional automotive and car mechanic. I have been in the industry for 15+ years. At the moment I have 3 garages. Every day dozens of cars come to our repair shops that are damaged in a very short period of time. The main reason for this is not taking a proper care of the car.

Leave a Comment