Tire Shine: Extend the Life

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Tire Shine New Again Auto DetailSo you’ve completely enhanced your vehicle. You’ve washed it. You’ve detailed it. It looks great inside and out. So, what’s next?

The Tires: Your Vehicle’s Shoes!

The very last piece of the detailer’s puzzle is usually addressing the tires. You wouldn’t take a shower, put on great clothes, then slip on ratty old shoes, would you? Taking proper care of your tires isn’t only an opportunity to add a great look, but there’s a significant amount of satisfaction in adding that special shiny tire touch.

But adding the tire dressing is only part of it. Getting as much mileage out of that tire dressing application as possible is equally as important.

Today, we’ll talk about how to extend the life of the tire dressing after you’ve taken the effort to get the rest of the car looking perfect.


Grime, Grime, and more Grime!

Reach down and swipe your finger around the sidewall of any of your tires. Dollars to donuts, you’ll come away with a blackend fingertip. That’s not just a dirty tire. Nope. That’s the buildup from all the previous tire dressing applications. What? You’ve never added tire dressing? In that case, it really is just a dirty tire.

Either way, let’s fix that.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a list of the kinds of things you’re going to need to really make this a success:

  • Citrus-based, automotive cleaner
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Tire shine applicator
  • Microfiber towels

Prep is Your Friend

You’ve probably noticed that over time, your tire dressing “lifespan” has been getting shorter and shorter after each one. You apply it. It looks great. But only for a while. Then you apply more. Sooner. And again. That grime you go on your finger earlier is buildup. Lots of it.

For you to get the maximum, longer-lasting benefit from the next (or first!) tire dressing application, you need to first strip away all that tire shine grime that’s been building up. Add a fair bit of road grime and brake dust, and you have some prep to complete first.

Tire Cleaner: Wet and Set

Chemical Guys CLD_101_16 All Clean+ Citrus Based All Purpose Super Cleaner, Safe for Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Motorcycles, RVs & More, 16 fl oz, Citrus Scent

Buy on Amazon

What works really well is AllClean+ from Chemical Guys. It’s not the least expensive, but it is very good. Other citrus-based cleaners designed for automotive use, and specifically tires, would work as well.

You can use these products safely and don’t worry if you happen to get it on your rims or even on the paint. These are gentle (but effective) cleaners and will do nothing more than just add a little extra cleaning to what you’ve already done. Pick the right cleaner and you’re all set.

Spray down your tires’ sidewalls and give them a few minutes to allow the solution to penetrate that grime just a bit. Let it do some “pre-work” for you. There is considerable build-up that needs to get removed, so save some elbow grease for when you really need it.

Bristle Brush: Attack the Grime

Mothers Car Wash Brush, Wheel and Fender Brush, Short Handle Tire Cleaner for Car Detailing, 10 Inch, Red/Black

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Spray a little of your cleaner of choice on your bristle brush. You want to help it dislodge the grime that has been loosening up by giving it a bit of its own cleaning solution. This “one-two punch” will help get all the crap off the sidewalls. Spray a bit more into the brush from time to time.

Start at the top and give it short back and forth strokes. This will not only get deeper into the grime layers, but any overlap will add more effectiveness.

Working from the top, down to the bottom, will prevent any of the removed grime from getting on the just-cleaned surfaces. Remember to keep your brush wet with spray cleaner.

Microfiber for Maxiclean

In our Microfiber Towel article, we discuss not just the magic that is microfiber technology, but some strategies for getting the most out of your towel investment. (Not to mention helpful accessories and care suggestion.) In the article, we suggest dark colored towels in blue or black for the nastiest of the jobs you’ll have. Old light colored towels that are very tired from lots of use on glass and chrome are candidates, too, but using dark towels for “dark” jobs just makes sense.

Grab one of your dark colored towels for this step. It’s time to wipe that black grimy filth right off your tires. If you want to see the amount of crap that you’re getting off the tires, feel free to use one of your tired old light colored towels. You will be amazed!

Time to Shine!

Applicator Application

Now you’ve removed the grimy barrier that has been preventing your tire shine efforts from lasting very long. There’s nothing (literally) standing between you and a very effective tire shine application.

There are many tire shine applicators available. I use mine until they really can’t be cleaned very well any longer and then deploy a new one. They aren’t terribly expensive, so that strategy works for me.

My advice though, is to look for one that fits the way you like to hold it. Everyone’s technique, hands, posture, whatever… are all different. Find one that you like and that works well – and then buy a bunch of them. You’ll always have a consistent tool that you’re used to and not be left with one that feels awkward.

Solution: Superior Shine Solution

In sports, they say it’s not how you start, but how you finish. When we started this, we talked about using any one of the many citrus-based cleaners designed for automotive use. Sure, better cleaners probably clean better, but it may only be the difference between a little or a little more elbow grease to get the same results.

Not here.

Your tire dressing of choice is not the place to scrimp on product quality. You’ve taken the effort to get the raw tire surfaces properly prepped and ready for treatment. Now is the time to show the world just how nice those tires look. Using an inferior product may not be your best strategy. Using one of better quality will not only look better, but there’s a good chance it will last a lot longer based on your prep work.

Chemical Guys Tire Shine

Available on Amazon
(Sunglasses not included!)

The Chemical Guys provide great products and this is where you want to use them. The real decision you need to make is what type of finish you want on the tires. Either you’re a matte/flat kind of guy, slightly glossy, really glossy, or “get out those sunglasses!

Put some solution on your applicator and apply slowly. This gives the solution ample time to penetrate the pores of the sidewall’s surface, giving you full, complete coverage.

Take your time. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Some products recommend a second coat. That’s optional as you see fit.

Chemical Guys Demonstration

We just shared some great advice on how to get the most out of your next tire shine session. Now you can watch the Chemical Guys to actually see everything in action!


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