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Paintwork seriously f%&cked after leaving car under tree

My Williams has been off the road for a few months and foolishly left under a tree. I spent hours washing the car this afternoon getting all the sticky dust off, but the paintwork on the bonnet looks messed up, no matter how much I wash it.

I can't get a very good photo of it but it looks pretty bad, like most of the shine has gone where the sap / dust has soaked into the paint itself. As well as being mottled all over, there are worm like, almost fractal designs, caused by who knows what?

Fortunately, the rest of the bodywork has cleaned up okay - it's just the bonnet.

I realise it's all my own fault so no need to point out how stupid I was to leave it there.

Is there anything I can do to fix it?

'veI spent an hour or two trying different things - clay, no improvement, WD40, nothing, rubbing alcohol, nada!

Can anyone confirm from the pictures that it is tree sap? I need to identify it in order to choose the best form of action.
The car's been out in torrential rain and baking hot days and I think whatever it is has really taken hold.

If it's of any help, the bonnet looks fine when wet, it's only when it goes bone dry that I can see any more shine in some areas than others?

Could it just be that whatever was on it has just stripped the wax or clear coat in the pattern where it landed? Is there a safe and easy way to strip all wax / coat to see if I can make it look even before rewaxing?

Or am I barking up the wrong tree and something has actually been dissolved into the paint to make it look duller in some areas?






Matt W

ClioSport Club Member
  Suzuki Jimny
Few months? That looks like it's been left in the thames for a year!
  Ph1 172 (titanium)
What about a bit of unleaded on a soft rag. Has pretty good cleaning properties.
Just don't leave it to sit on the paint work for too long!
  Clio RS200 FF
You said that clay didnt touch it. What clay was it, could you try a more agressive clay? Failing that a proper polish should help, im talking the likes of Menzerna or 3M polishes here.
used a 'Bilt- Hamber Auto Clay' I had lying around. There are 3 different 'agressions' but mine doesn't say which one it and all the packagings on their website look the same, regardless of which type!


  BMW 440i
Lol Can't believe you left it without periodically changing it and realising the state it was in.

Post this on DW asking for advice, and put the link in here so we can laugh at their despair!
  Fiesta ST-2 Finsport
Only looking at the pics from my iPhone so hard to say. When you rub your hand along the paint is it rough as it raised bits or amooth. Sap can be a c**t to clean. But like I say, just looking at it, it looks like a good machine polish will bring that back. Where do you live?
  Golf GT & A4 Avant
I'm pretty sure everyone has bought a bottle at some point, but have you tried very mild polish cleanser like SRP? Work it fairly well with a foam applicator and see how you get on. If not then see if someone local to you has a machine polisher and is willing to spend some time on it for you in the detailing section
  LY 220 Trophy+IB PH1
Jesus ! That needs some serious TLC, try a sample spot with some cutting compound and see what sort of results you get.