How to remove super glue off car paint

How to remove super glue off car paint

Nicholas Edwards

There's glue stuck on my car

Super glue is a tricky product to handle, it's always runnier than you're expecting, unpredictable and untouchable; touching it just makes things worse.

Bearing all this in mind, it's inevitable that super glue will land somewhere on your car, whether it be super glue on the dashboard or super glue on the bodywork, potentially damaging the paint. Thankfully, there are many people who have been in this scenario before, some of them happen to be scientists, inspiring the development of glue removal fluid!

The great news is that they're readily available for adults to purchase. Essentially, the better and stronger glue removal products are those that contain a chemical called Acetone.

What is Acetone?

Acetone is a clear liquid otherwise known as Propanone. It is a solvent based product used in manufacture of plastics and other industrial products.

Acetone is also used in the manufacture of cosmetics and personal care products, the most popular being in the formulation of nail polish removers. Beware, Acetone is a nasty product, handle it with care. We're talking goggles, gloves and masks will all be required.

Whether your glue removal fluid has Acetone or not, the process of super glue removal is exactly the same.

Removal Instructions

You'll need a dry cloth (a microfiber cloth is ideal) and your glue remover of choice. First things first, get your safety gear on. Looking good? Great!

We've mentioned glue removal fluid is solvent based, meaning that it'll work it's way through any glue, but it also means it'll likely work its way through the car paint and the rubber seals as well.

The glue removal product is sold in aerosol form but we don't recommend spraying it straight on to the glue, the aerosol over spray is going to be much larger than the affected area and will cause more damage. Instead, spray a small quantity of the removal fluid on to your cloth and start rubbing it in to the super glued area. Start with a small quantity to test it out.

Here's the critical bit, the glue remover works pretty quickly and starts breaking down the super glue, with a bit of elbow grease the majority of the glue can be removed fairly quickly. However, you don't want to be using too much of the removal fluid, especially towards the end when most of the glue has gone, the removal fluid will inevitable come in contact with the surface, your rubbing will only make things accelerate. The quicker the job is done, the better.

If too much of the removal fluid gets in contact with your car paint, wash it off with water, dry with a cloth and start again. The effects of the removal fluid on the paint may not be immediately obvious, but once dried you'll notice a discoloration, a fade or the area will be less glossy. At which point it'll need a good polish with a quality compound or repainting if it's badly scared.

In summary, firstly get all your PPE on with your cloth and glue removal fluid of choice ready to go. Apply a small sample of fluid to your cloth and get rubbing. It'll start working almost immediately, so keep an eye on it.

If it needs more removal fluid go for it, but the likelihood is that, it won't. If you've used too much removal fluid, wash it off with water and assess.

Once it's dried analyse your work and be proud of yourself. If you need to top it by polishing, take a look at our post on Reviving faded car body work.