How To Clean Tires To Look New

Over time your tires will begin to look dirty and turn a brownish color. This is a normal process that is designed to protect the rubber used to make tires. It’s fairly easy to clean away the brown oxidation that appears on your sidewalls but it will come back a few weeks later. A common method for extending and improving the look of tires to bring them back to a new-like appearance is to use a tire dressing. There are an almost innumerable number of tire dressings available on the market and in truth many work very well and last a similar length of time. We have found that Meguiar’s leads the pack when it comes to tire dressings however. For a glossy shine we recommend checking out Meguiar’s Gold Class Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel. If a matte finish is more your speed then Meguiar’s Hyper Dressing is a better option. Keep reading to learn more about tire blooming, avoiding tire sling, and more.

how to clean tires to look new

Why do tires turn brown?

This browning effect is called tire blooming. This is the byproduct of a protectant that is included in the production of tires called Antiozonant. Antiozonant is designed to react with ozone which is harmful to the rubber used in tires. When the reaction occurs it creates a brown discoloration to the tires. This discoloration can be cleaned off but it will eventually return. Antiozonant continuously works its way to the surface of the tires when your car or truck is driven. This is by design and continuously protects the outer surfaces of your tires while they are in use. When tires sit for too long unused they can easily dry rot due to ozone breaking down the rubber and causing it to crack and deteriorate.

What's the best tire cleaner?

Simply using car shampoo or an all purpose cleaner and a good quality tire brush is all that is needed to remove the oxidation of Antiozonant from the surface of your tires. Using more harsh cleaners can actually cause more Antiozonant to work its way to the surface more quickly and prematurely cause tire blooming. 2 great all purpose cleaners are Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner and Optimum’s Power Clean. Either one are great options if you’re looking for something a little stronger than your favorite car shampoo.

Best glossy tire dressing

If you’re looking for the wet look for your tires you’ll want to go with Meguiar’s Gold Class Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel. This quality tire shine is very durable and long lasting. Like most quality tire dressings this gel protects from harmful UV rays. It has a pleasant aroma which is a bonus. The downsides are that like almost every other tire shine it will only last just so long. It is very durable and long lasting but that is relative to tire shines in general. You’ll also need to take a little extra care to wipe away the excess to avoid tire sling.

Best matte tire dressing

For those of us that prefer a more matte finish you’ll want to check out Meguiar’s Hyper Dressing. For a more matte appearance many will want to dilute it 3:1 or 4:1 which will knock back any glossiness considerably and will significantly increase its bang for the buck. Durability isn’t its strong point but it does last similarly well to most matte tire dressings currently on the market.

Is tire shine good for tires?

Absolutely! Whether you’re using a glossy or matte tire dressing it will almost certainly contain UV protectants to help filter out harmful UV rays. Most tire dressings will also protect tires from cracking. Tire dressings in general won’t hurt tires although there are some poorer quality brands that may not react well with the rubber and accelerate aging. Aggressively cleaning your tires prior to applying a tire dressing may cause Antiozonants to escape from within the rubber more quickly but this won’t necessarily harm the tire. It is unwanted as it accelerates tire blooming so it should be avoided if possible.

How to keep tire shine from slinging

The primary reason tire shine slings off tires and onto the body of your car or truck is not so much due to the formulation of the tire dressing but the way it has been applied. When applying any tire dressing whether it is the more glossy formulations or the matte types you should do your best to reduce the amount left on the tire itself. It’s best to put the shine onto an applicator and then wipe onto the tire. You can go back and wipe away excess dressing. If the results aren’t as shiny as you would like you should wait until the first application has dried and then reapply.

Should I use tire shine?

You don’t need to use a tire dressing if you don’t care for the look. They will help keep down the browning from Antiozonant oxidizing on the surface of the rubber. They also do provide a bit of protection to your tires. There likely isn’t enough extra protection provided to make a significant difference in the longevity of the average tire. It’s mostly an aesthetic decision. While I think most will agree that a light coating of matte tire shine will restore a tire to a new-like appearance, some people may not find the level of effort required to restore the look of tires worth the end result. If that’s the case though you may be on the wrong web site! 😉

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Tire blooming is an unfortunate fact of life. Antiozonant is required to extend the usable life of tires and keep the rubber from cracking and deteriorating. It’s easy to simply wash away the brownish oxidation on your sidewalls but that won’t restore the appearance to like-new. Applying a tire dressing is the only way to restore your tires to a factory-fresh appearance. Some people prefer going a step further with a glossy finish. I personally prefer a simple matte look. Tire dressings are more about appearance than anything else so you may find experimentation the best route to get the look you like most. Meguiar’s Gold Class Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel is excellent for a long lasting glossy appearance. To increase the gloss you may find multiple applications after the previous application has dried to give you the results you’re after. For those of us that prefer a more muted matte look Meguiar’s Hyper Dressing is a better choice. Instead of multiple coatings to build up a gloss, diluting the formula may be required to get just the right level of matte finish.

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