It's love bug season again. Soon our windshields and grilles will be covered with the splattered remains of black-and-red insects. What's a car owner to do? We asked Mike Schultz, left, head of product development for Turtle Wax, for some advice. Times staff writer
"It's very important, when the love bug season comes around, to apply a good coat of car wax to the front end of your vehicle, to the hood and the bumper," Schultz says. "I would do it every other week, just to keep the protection as high as possible to prevent those bugs from destroying your paint."
Love bugs, he says, secrete an acidic substance that will etch the surface of the car. "So you have to put on a sacrificial barrier to help protect the paint underneath."
If your car becomes a love bug killing machine, wash the carnage. Schultz recommends two products to clean the mess: first, the Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover to get rid off the stubborn remains. The liquid version is probably best, he says, because it's thicker.
And second, if the bug acid already has done some damage, try the Premium Grade Scratch Repair Kit, he says. This kit repairs the car's finish with a clear-coat pen applicator, a set of sanding pads, lubricant and clarifying compound.
• Wash the bugs off as soon as possible. They should be easier to remove. The longer the splatters stay on the car, the more likely paint damage occurs.
• Drive at night instead. The love bugs are most active around 10 a.m., and they don't fly after sundown.
• Use a screen over the grille to keep bugs from clogging the radiator.
• Some car owners spread a light "nonstick" film of baby oil on hood, bumper, grille and above the windshield. This makes removing the bugs easier.