Can You Drive With Tar On Your Tires? (Yes, But Not For Long)

Newly paved or resurfaced roads tend to have tar and gravel that can stick on your tires as you drive along.

Having tar on your tires can be tricky because the tar sticks on the rubber, affecting the performance. But, can you drive with tar on your tires? Here’s all you need to know!

Can You Drive With Tar On Your Tires?

Although you can drive with tar on your tire, it won’t be for long. It might look harmless, but tar can become a problem once it hardens on the rubber. When this happens, it affects your driving conditions, especially driving at high speeds. As well, tar on your tires will affect your balancing and stress other parts of the wheel.

To learn more about how tar affects your tires, whether you can drive in this condition and how to remove the tar, read on for useful facts and tips!

Is It Dangerous To Drive With Tar On Your Tires?

Drivers have accidentally run over tar or hot asphalt on many occasions, and while some might assume that the tar will fall off as you drive, this isn’t always the case.

It’s only safe to drive with a fair amount of tar on tires at low speeds; however, you’ll still need to deal with the problem as soon as possible.

Tires covered in tar are dangerous, especially once the tar hardens on the rubber material. While it looks harmless, hardened tar puts you at high risk and can create hazardous driving conditions when driving at high speeds.

Once the tar sticks on the rubber, it forms a hard compound, and you’ll notice that the tires are shaking at high speeds.

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A little amount of tar can also cause your tires to become unbalanced since the tread is not contacting the ground evenly.

When the tires become unbalanced, this affects wheel assembly, shock, and bearings on your vehicle. In the long run, this causes vibration when driving, uneven tread wear, and affects gas mileage, increasing fuel consumption.

Therefore, once you notice you have tar on your car, you need to remove it; otherwise, you’ll incur a lot of repair costs when the other parts get affected.

Why Does Tar Get Stuck On Tires?

Why Does Tar Get Stuck On Tires?

Tar or asphalt is designed to be sticky so that it can bind the road materials together. Therefore, when tar comes into contact with the rubber components on your tires, it clings because it has a natural glue-like substance.

Apart from the tires, the tar from a newly paved road can also stick on other parts of your car. When driving, the vehicles’ tires pick the loose tar particles and splash them onto your undercarriage, car body paint, and other parts of the vehicle.

Once tar settles on the car, it becomes difficult to clean up or remove from the surface.

What To Do After Driving Through Tar?

What should you do if you drive on a road covered in tar by mistake like most drivers? Here are some tips.

1. Assess The Damage

Once you notice that you’ve driven on the road with loose tar particles, pull over to a safe space and assess the damage on your tires.

You’ll need to check whether the tread is completely covered, making it unsafe to drive, especially at high speeds.

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If your insurance company covers such issues, you should take a lot of pictures as evidence of the damage to your tires or other car parts. In this case, you should also take photos of the wet roads.

2. Visit The Mechanic

If the damage is extensive, especially on the car body, take your car to the mechanic or local body shop for repairs on the paint damage, and go to a professional with expertise in asphalt removal.

3. Tar Removal

If the damage is minimal, you can remove the tar yourself using commercial products.

How Do You Remove Tar From Tires?

How Do You Remove Tar From Tires?

Tar build-up on your tires can significantly affect your car’s performance, stopping distance, and traction; therefore, how do you remove the tar? Use the following guide:

1. Get The Necessary Tools

You’ll need a cleaning agent, plastic knife, hard bristle brush, and tar removing products to successfully remove the tar from your tires.

2. Scrape Off The Tar

Using the plastic knife, scrape off the tar on your tires before you start cleaning;This plastic knife is a better choice because it helps prevent puncturing.

3. Use A Cleaning Agent

Spray the tires with a cleaning solution and let them soak for a few minutes to make removing the rest of the tar easier. After 20 minutes, use the plastic knife to scrape off more tar.

4. Use Lubricants

If the tar doesn’t come off entirely, you can use products such as WD40 lubricants, which can be used to dissolve the tar.

Spray your tires with this lubricant and give it a few minutes to soak, then use a plastic scraper to remove the tar (you might have to repeat this process more than once).

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Be careful not to use these products on the paint, as it could cause damage if left on the vehicle’s body.

Apart from this product, you can also get a tar remover which needs to be diluted in water and sprayed on the tires. On the other hand, you can also use a degreaser and follow the same procedure until your tires are free from all the tar particles.

After these processes, you can wash your tires with a detergent, scrub and rinse with water, and leave the tires to dry.

What Happens When You Drive On Tar?

What Happens When You Drive On Tar?

Once you drive through a road covered in fresh tar layers, here’s what will happen:

1. Vibration

Since the tires have bonded with the tar, the tread is not contacting the road surface evenly. As a result, your tires will start shaking and vibrating when driving at high speeds. Therefore, you should pull over once you have tar on the tires.

2. Unbalanced Wheels

When the sticky substance affects the car’s movement, it causes further damage to the suspension, bearings, and shocks.

As well, your wheels also become unbalanced, and the vehicle will not roll smoothly on the road.

To know more about tires, you can also read our posts on unbalanced tires symptoms, whatt are tire beads, and if tires makes noise.


Driving with tar on your tires can be quite dangerous, because tar is naturally sticky and will bind your tires, affecting how they move on the road surface.

When this happens, your car will start vibrating and shaking, and the tread will wear out unevenly, eventually affecting the tire balancing.

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