How To Remove Bugs from Car & Keep Them Off

Flying insects and bugs - they may be small but they can be a huge problem!

Driving head-on into flying bugs is unavoidable.  If you drive your car any distance at all, chances are good any flying insects that cross your path are going to slam into the front of your car’s body panels, headlights and grill as well as the side mirrors, windshield and the front portion of the roof of your car.

When bugs slam into a glass windshield or a chrome grill, there’s no risk of damage because glass and chrome are not affected by the acidic and corrosive guts that splatter onto these types of materials.  Car paint?  That’s a whole other problem. 

Bug guts contain acids that are corrosive to car paint

Modern cars are painted using a basecoat/clearcoat paint system.  The top layer of paint on your car is a layer of clear paint that protects the basecoat or color coat underneath.  This top clear layer of paint also creates gloss and shine. 

Modern clearcoat paint technology is made using urethane resin.  Urethane resin in and of itself is actually pretty tough compared to old school paints used before the 1980s and this is because they are harder than old school paints and a lot more chemical resistant.

Not tough enough to stand up to a bug

As tough as modern clearcoat paint technology is, it still cannot hold up against the corrosive acids found in the stomach and guts of bugs and insects. 

In fact, the acid found in some bugs is so corrosive that if you don’t remove the dead bugs and all the guts that are splattered all over your car’s paint fast enough – the acids will etch or eat into the clearcoat layer of paint, basically dissolving it and leaving a crater or hole in this clear layer of paint. 

In extreme conditions, the acids will eat through the clear layer of paint and then keep going and eat through the basecoat or pigmented layer of paint.  In really extreme situations, the corrosive acids can eat all the way into the primer and even the underlying body panel material. 

When this happens, the ONLY way to undo the damage is to repaint the affected area or the affected panel and this can be very expensive.  The average low-end price to re-paint a hood that has no body damage or rust – just the bug damage will be around $500.00 and that’s on the low-end side.  The better the body shop with a more renowned reputation – it’s going to cost a lot more.

What’s the answer?

The answer is to remove the bugs off your car and the sooner the better!  Bug guts can start doing damage in a matter of minutes, it just depends on the type of bug and the volume of bugs plastered onto the front of your car.

The best bug remover

When it comes to removing nasty dead bugs and the guts that have splattered all over your car’s paint finish, you want to use products that are professional grade quality, made by a true manufacturer that has a top-notch team of chemists that specialize in car care formulations.  3D is a true manufacturer, we make all of our products right here in the USA and we have a stellar team of Chemists and Material Scientists that create all our unique formulas specifically designed to be both effective and safe. 

3D Bug Remover

3D manufactures products for various markets including body shops, detail shops and the hardcore car enthusiast market.  All our products are formulated to the highest standards for professionals in all these categories but they are also completely safe for people that are brand new to taking care of their own car.  One of our best selling products is our 3D Bug Remover.

Safe on any surface

Some products touted for removing bugs are too harsh for use on car paint as well as the other surfaces and materials used on the exteriors of cars.  3D Bug Remover is non-acid and safe on any surface.  Professionals trust the 3D brand because they know we make all of our products at our own manufacturing plant in Santa Clarita, California.  

The problem in the car care products industry is there are so many marketing companies purchasing their products from who knows where and then slapping their label on the bottle and using marketing hype to separate people from their hard-earned money.  When you buy products with the 3D label you can trust and know exactly where the product inside the bottle comes from – it comes from 3D.  

Two safe ways to remove bugs

 Here’s two ways to safely get bugs and bug guts splatter off the front of your car without the risk of damaging the paint or any other surface or material on the front of your car.

1: 3D Bug Remover – Spray & Wipe Technique

Use 3D Bug Remover as a stand-alone, spray-on, wipe-off solution.

2: 3D Bug Remover – Pre-soak Technique

Use 3D Bug Remover as a pre-soak cleaning treatment before washing your car. 

Use the technique that fits your application best.

Below I’ll show you how to clean your car and remove the bugs using both techniques.

IMPORTANT: Always work on a cool surface in the shade. Always shake liquids well before and during use 

1: 3D Bug Remover – Spray & Wipe Technique

Use 3D Bug Remover as a stand-alone, spray-on, wipe-off solution. 

With this technique you can remove bugs no matter where you’re at.  For example, if you’re driving your car on a trip across the country or just to the next city, if you encounter bugs on the way you can remove them at any time.  I live in South Florida and we have our traditional Love Bug Season that takes place twice a year, once in March and second time in September.  

When I’m on a trip, anytime I pull over for gas, snacks, cold drinks or a bathroom break, I make it a habit to inspect the front of my car and also the side mirrors for dead bugs.  If discovered, right then and there I can remove them and in most cases avoid any damage to the clearcoat on my car. 

This is the most pro-active technique because you’re removing the bugs and the acidic bug guts splatter in the fastest way possible because you can do it in real-time anywhere.  

You can also use this technique when you arrive at your location, perhaps a business, a restaurant, a hotel or resort.  You can also use this same technique when you return home from your trip. 

Perhaps it’s late when you get home and you don’t feel like washing your car to remove the dead bugs, instead you can use the spray-and-wipe technique immediately to get the bugs off the front of the car and then if needed, wash the car the next day.  

The key thing is to always remove any dead bugs and the bug guts splatter as fast and as soon as possible before damage to the clearcoat paint can occur.

 

Step-by-step – How to use the 3D Bug Remover Spray & Wipe Technique

 Step 1: Spray a generous amount of 3D Bug Remover to any area of your car with dead bugs and/or bug splatter and allow the product to dwell for 30 to 45 seconds and even up to a few minutes in cooler temperatures.  You want to give the Bug Remover as much time as possible to dwell as long as it will remain wet on the surface.

Step 2: Next, using a clean, dry, soft microfiber towel, gently wipe the product off the treated surface.  Normally after making a few initial wipes you’ll end up with dead bug bodies on the microfiber towel so it’s a good idea to have a few extra clean microfiber towels on hand to do the job right. 

If you discover any areas where the product has dried, no worries, simply re-spray this area to re-liquefy the product and then immediately wipe any excess product off. Switch to a clean microfiber towel often to avoid rubbing any dead bug carcasses over your car’s finish. 

Optional Step:  After removing the dead bugs and bug splatter, use 3D Bead It Up to re-clean the surface to ensure all residues are removed and to also restore a slick, high gloss finish and protect the paint from future bugs and bugs splatter.  Plus, 3D Bead It Up leaves a super slippery finish that will make removing any dead bugs and bug splatter faster and easier in the future.


2: 3D Bug Remover – Pre-soak Technique

Use 3D Bug Remover as a pre-soak cleaning treatment before washing your car. 

With this technique, you use the 3D Bug Remover to pre-soak the bugs and bug splatter before washing the car.  It’s a lot more thorough of a technique because you’re not only able to remove the bugs but also get your car clean at the same time. 

The way I use this technique is to start by spraying 3D Bug Remover onto any area with dead bugs and let the product start going to work while I get the rest of my car washing tools and supplies staged and ready to go.  This makes efficient use of your time.

Step 1: Spray a heavy or wet application of 3D Bug Remover onto any area with dead bugs and bug guts splatter.  

While the 3D Bug Remover is penetrating, dissolving and loosening the bug bodies and guts, use this time to gather all your car washing tools, car wash soap, wash mitt, and of course, pull out the water hose and attach any water spray guns or hook up to a foam gun or foam cannon and pressure washer.

Step 2: Using a water sprayer or a pressure washer, blast the treated areas with a strong spray of water to remove as much of the bugs and bug splatter as possible using only water.  

In most cases, 99.9% of the bugs and bug guts splatter will rinse off the car without the need to scrub using a wash mitt or bug sponge.  This is the safest way because the strong blast of water is doing all the work and there’s zero risk of accidentally instilling any scratches into the paint by pushing the bug bodies and bug legs over the paint. 

You also avoid filling and embedding your wash mitt with dead bugs.

Step 3: After removing the majority of dead bugs off the front of the car, next use a clean wash mitt and your favorite 3D car wash soap to gently wash and remove any dead bugs and bug guts splatter that blasting with water did not remove.

Step 4: After tackling the front of the car and removing any dead bugs and thus removing the acids that can etch your car’s finish – next wash the rest of the car using your normal wash routine and then dry the car. 

Optional Step:  After washing and rinsing the car, while the car is still wet, use 3D Bead It Up as a drying aid.  The way this works is you mist just a little Bead It Up onto a wet panel, like the hood, a fender, trunk lid etc., and then dry this panel off.

The benefits for using 3D Bead It Up are many.

1: Bead It Up will bond to wet surfaces so you can basically wax your car as-you-dry.  Bead It Up is not a wax, it’s a polymer coating but the idea is the same and that is at the same time you’re using a drying towel to remove excess water off the car you can apply a layer of polymer protection and do it in one-step. 

2: Bead It Up will make removing any standing water faster, easier and safer than using only a drying towel. 

3: Bead It Up creates a hydrophobic surface that creates super water beading and this will enable your car to self-clean anytime there’s a hard rain or the next time you wash your car. 

4: Bead It Up creates a super slick surface and seals the paint using a unique polymer shield and this is a unique formula from the chemist and 3D laboratory – it’s really good stuff

5: If you encounter bugs on the road again, Bead It Up will help to protect your car’s paint from the acids in the bug guts plus make removing any bugs or bug guts splatter faster, easier and safer to the paint.

How to make your own Bug Splatter Emergency Kit

If you travel a lot and especially in geographical areas where you know there are lots of flying insects or seasonal infestations of flying bugs, I highly recommend you to be proactive and protect your car’s paint from damage.  It’s easy to do, simply put together a simple kit with all the supplies you’ll need to remove dead bugs when traveling.


Find a safe place to store your  3D Bug Remover in your vehicle when traveling.  

In the back of our cars we have cargo carriers to hold items securely.  You can find these at most auto parts stores and online.

Find or create a safe location where the bottle cannot fall over.

We keep a large beach towel and a small tool case in one compartment and this leaves a space for our bottle of 3D Bug Remover and a couple of towels.

Use a clean food storage bag to keep microfiber towels clean

Here are a few clean microfiber towels in a clean plastic bag. Remember - in most cases you will be removing dead bugs and bug splatter off of clearcoat paint and other trim like chrome and plastic and it's important to use clean towels to avoid putting any swirls and scratches into the paint. This is why you should store your clean towels in a clean plastic bag - to keep them clean until needed.  It’s a good idea to have an extra plastic bag to store the dirty towels after use until you return home where you can launder the dirty towels.

I've placed the bottle all the way down into the corner of the cargo carrier and then sandwiched them into place with the clean towels. This bottle won't be falling over no matter how wacky the driving gets.

 

Important: Always be sure to turn the spray nozzle into the OFF position after use.

This may seem like overkill to some people but the damage the acidic but guts can cause to your car’s clearcoat finish is real.  Don't take chances when traveling or during Bug Season. The acids in bug cuts can do major damage to your car's paint in a very short time. When traveling pull-over at rest stops and gas stations to inspect for dead bugs and bug splatter and if discovered - remove immediately.

 

The factory paint on your car is thin

The factory paint on modern vesicles is thinner than most people think. My good friend is a chemist that has worked for 4-5 of the major OEM paint manufacturers and he said from testing, paint manufacturers know they need to apply a minimum of 2 mils of clearcoat paint in order for the entire paint system, (ecoat, primer, colorcoat and clearcoat), to hold up over the service life of their vehicles.

Now follow me... they don't put on any less and they also don't put on any more.

The average Post-it Note is around 3 mils thin. When you hold a Post-it Note between your finger and your thumb you can easily wrap your brain around just how thin 3 mils is and the clear layer of paint on your car is even THINNER than this!

Feel how thin a Post-it Note is between your thumb and index finger.

YES!  The factory layer of clear paint on your car is thinner than a Post-it Note!

Make sense now?

It’s because the paint on your car is so thin, this is why it’s so important to remove any bugs and bug guts splatter as fast as possible to avoid damage to your car’s preciously thin clearcoat.

Summary 

Bugs and bug splatter will always be a problem when we drive our cars down the road but with 3D Bug Remover and 3D Bead It Up you can protect your car and also make removing the bugs faster, easier and safer while maintaining that just detailed look.

If you need any help with any of your detailing projects, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Mike Phillips

mike.phillips@3dproducts.com