How to Remove Glue-like from Headlight & Paint - Nissan Versa Forums
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-09-2019, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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How to Remove Glue-like from Headlight & Paint

I have no clue exactly what the substance is, but it covers 90% of one "plastic" headlight and dripped onto white paint on bumper beneath.

Guessing it is glue-like because a "bubbled" bit on the paint was just raised enough that I could grasp between fingers and it "pulled" like elastic. (Think dried rubber cement.) It is sun baked on hard. It is a medium yellow color. Thin layer.

Have searched for products and what people have used. Usually their problem is some left behind adhesive after a cover is removed from headlights. Or it is road tar or sap on the paint or decal. Neither quite like my "mess".

What's best to try to avoid scratching the plastic or removing the coating? Ditto paint, not scratching or removing paint protection coating? What would be mildest to harshest of these: mineral spirits, acetone, rubbing alcohol, spray lubricant WD-40 type, rubbing compound, etc?

AND any wild guess what the substance could be? If vandalism, wouldn't think one headlight would be much of a target, but who knows what they "think". For none of it to be on the hood makes me think it was intentional vs happened during driving and caught a spray/splash somehow from somewhere.

HELP !!! and Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-09-2019, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by CA2015VERSA View Post
I have no clue exactly what the substance is, but it covers 90% of one "plastic" headlight and dripped onto white paint on bumper beneath.

Guessing it is glue-like because a "bubbled" bit on the paint was just raised enough that I could grasp between fingers and it "pulled" like elastic. (Think dried rubber cement.) It is sun baked on hard. It is a medium yellow color. Thin layer.

Have searched for products and what people have used. Usually their problem is some left behind adhesive after a cover is removed from headlights. Or it is road tar or sap on the paint or decal. Neither quite like my "mess".

What's best to try to avoid scratching the plastic or removing the coating? Ditto paint, not scratching or removing paint protection coating? What would be mildest to harshest of these: mineral spirits, acetone, rubbing alcohol, spray lubricant WD-40 type, rubbing compound, etc?

AND any wild guess what the substance could be? If vandalism, wouldn't think one headlight would be much of a target, but who knows what they "think". For none of it to be on the hood makes me think it was intentional vs happened during driving and caught a spray/splash somehow from somewhere.

HELP !!! and Thanks in advance!
Stay away from the acetone.........that can possibly melt the plastic and ruin the paint job. What I would suggest you try first would be GOO-Be-Gone. It is used for removing left over glue from store stickers. Next on the list would be one of the cleaning products that remove tar that are formulated for cars. No matter what you decide to try, I would suggest that you first use a Q-tip or small piece of cleaning rag to test it out on a small section of the substance to see if it can do the job without any problems or issues.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-09-2019, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, pimperell, for your reply about products AND reminder to cautiously try with Q-tip!
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-10-2019, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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DONE!! SUCCESS!! You now that feeling, when something FINALLY works

First tried GOO GONE AUTOMOTIVE liquid. For the headlight, it removed a top layer after crazy intense rubbing. As if was 4 coats deep and removed 2. For the bumper, it removed with much lengthy rubbing, less intense, but left a yellowish trace of color somewhat on the white paint.

Then back to research! Found this YouTube by ChrisFix, problem solved. Titled The BEST Tree Sap Removal Product for your Car is?
He demonstrates many automotive products for sap, home remedies, etc on a sap covered car in real time, per stated directions, etc. The winner, only winner, total winner? Either liquid 70% rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.

I used hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol and immediately the bumper paint yellowish trace disappeared. The headlight wasn't immediate like the paint. But with rubbing awhile 75% disappeared. Final spots required intense rubbing, but disappeared.

No issues with the "shine" of either bumper of headlight. BUT DON"T KNOW if the paint on metal body would have also been unharmed. In his video though, he's using on the painted body metal.

Had a lot of time to think about what was on the car. My best conclusion, someone was carrying coffee (head into cell phone) tripped, fell forward, spilled down my car. Explains why not on hood; not intentionally thrown. GLUE? Coffee probably had "shots" of the gooey syrup flavorings. Add intense sunshine. Baked on "sap".

Worse case I would have had to replace the headlight as it wasn't functional covered in goo, glue, sap, opaque.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-10-2019, 12:49 PM
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Glad that all is well and thanks for your info regarding the steps you took to get the job done.
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