How to Keep Tires Black and Shiny


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Tire shine products are designed to be applied to your rubber after you wash your car.  The best tire shine will cover up stains and make your tires look black and much cleaner. This is a super important step to finish off cleaning the outside of your car.  Learn how to keep your tires shiny for longer.

Washing your tires first with a degreaser like Super Clean Degreaser will make the tires look better and help the product last longer.

The first choice you need to make is about how the product looks when it’s applied.  So do you want a wet look or a dry look. Sometimes referred to glossy or matt. Some manufactures also use satin.  As far as I can tell matt and satin are the same. Both choices are very popular. Some people hate glossy and some love it.  It’s up to you.

What’s the Best Tire Shine?

TriNova Tire Shine Spray is the best tire shine on the market today. This is due to its low price and high shine.  It lasts about a week in good weather so you will need to reapply after each weekly wash to keep your tires looking good.

Read reviews of TriNova Tire Shine on Amazon.

TriNova Tire Shine Spray is a water-based product.   To me this is the best type because its easier to apply and not too shiny.

You can also control the level of shine you get from TriNova Tire Shine.  For maximum shine just spray on and leave to dry. For less shine, allow it to dry for just 10 or 15 minutes and wipe down.  

Tire Shine

A good solvent based tire gel is the classic Meguiar’s G7516 Endurance Tire Gel.  It has great reviews on Amazon. You can also get this in a spray. The Gel version gives a great shine.  So if its a high glossy shine you want, this is the best product. Its also fantastic value.

Back in the day, some products were actually a little sticky.  This of course was ridiculous because while the car looked great on your driveway, the tire would be covered in dust after 5 minutes on the road and it was hard to wash off.  The products I recommend will go completely dry and will actually repel water and dust, keeping your tires looking great for longer.

How Long Does Tire Shine Last?

In my experience none of these products last longer than a week. So there is absolutely no point in spending a lot of money on a tire shine product. Just get that delivers the level of shine you want and that is easy to apply. Another thing to look for is a product that dries completely and doesn’t sling on to the car body when you drive your car.

Can Tire Shine Protect Tires?

Tires can get stained too.  And some of these stains are hard to wash off.  These products help hide the stains and make the tire look new.  Maybe even better than new.

You might notice that after just a few months, your tires start to lose a lot of their original blackness and start to go a little brown.  This is caused by the sun and weather in general.

Apply one of these products and your tires will be protected somewhat from the elements.  They won’t turn that nasty shade of yellow the anyone who cares about their cars appearance hates. TriNova product does a good job of covering up the brownness. And if applied weekly, your tires will continue to be protected from the elements.

A point to note is that tire shine products don’t protect you from getting punctuates, nor do they protect your tire from normal wear and tear.

The products I looked at seem to be either solvent based or water based.  But sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. You may need to go to the website of the manufacturer to find out.

Solvent based products usually give a better shine if that’s what you like.  They are also supposed to last longer. But water based products last long enough for most people. A downside of the solvent based products is that they seem to stain my driveway more that the water based ones.

Types of Tire Shine Products.

Products are usually divided up into Gel and Spray types.  In my experience it doesn’t matter much which you choose. Both work just as well.

The main difference between if course is that spray products can be easier to apply.  But you might end up with over spray. That happens when you accidentally spray some of the product on your car body or your driveway.  

How to Apply Tire Shine

Tip: Avoid using a spray when it’s windy outside.  And make sure you don’t get any on your windshield especially.  So any rags you use should be kept for use only on your tires. Also, wash your hands after using them to avoid getting finger print on other surfaces.

I simply spray the product directly on to the tire and wipe with a small sponge. The sponge is optional, if you want more shine you can just spray directly and let dry. If Im being a total perfectionist I will move mi car slightly so that I can get at the part of the tire that touches the ground. But then I’m a little nuts.

Curved sponges are really useful and help to apply the product quickly and evenly.

You can also have problems if you apply too much product.  It doesn’t dry quickly and you end up slinging it all over your car when you drive off.  If you see any wet patches after application be sure to wipe them down.

Tire shine spray can be found in aerosol and pump action types.  A great example of an easy to apply aerosol is Stoner Car Care More Shine.  Although it doesn’t last any longer than any other product, it still delivers a great result and it’s super quick and easy to apply.

Can I use Shoe Polish on my Tires?

I actually tried. And the answer is no, its just a waste of shoe polish. I tried both the paste shoe polish and the liquid stuff. The paste didn’t add any shine because it didn’t bond with the tire. And the liquid stuff didn’t look shiny when it dried in. So don’t waste your time or money.

How to wash your tires and wheels.

In my post about washing your car I mention that you should wash your wheels and tires first.  This is because brake dust is very abrasive so it can cause your paint to lose it’s shine and look dull if you wipe it in to your paintwork.  So get rid of it first.

The great thing about tires is that you don’t need to worry about scratching them.  When washing my tires, I use a good quality brush just for the job. If dirt is very light and I want to do a quick wash,  I’ll just use a microfibre wash mitt.  It gets in to the spokes too.  I keep that special mitt solely for use on wheel wells, wheels and tires.

Cleaning Wheels and Tires the quick way

  • inse off lose dirt with a hose.
  • For light wheel dirt, use a bucket of soapy water with car shampoo.
  • Wash tires with a hard bristle brush.
  • A wash mitt is perfect for getting the job done quickly.
  • Make sure you don’t use that bucket of water for washing the rest of your car.
  • Wash and dry the rest of your car as normal.
  • Dry wheels with microfibre cloth.

Wheel and tire cleaning tips for heavy dirt

  • Rinse off lose dirt with a pressure washer or hose.
  • Apply an alloy wheel cleaner spray to wheels like Sonax Wheel Cleaner
  • Allow it to dwell for the time specified on the product.
  • Clean wheels using a good set of wheel cleaning brushes.
  • Use detailing brushes to get around the lug nuts.
  • Scrub the sidewall of the tire with a degreaser product until fully clean.
  • Rinse off with pressure washer of hose.
  • Wash and dry the rest of your car properly. Read lots of drying tips here.
  • Dry wheels with a microfibre cloth.
  • To prevent brake dust from sticking again, apply a sealant or wax to your wheels.
  • Apply your tire shine product and let it fully dry.
  • Click here to read my review of a great pressure washer on Amazon.

For really stained wheels and where it’s difficult to get to the wheel drum, it might be necessary to remove the wheels.  This is the best way to get maximum results and if you’re obsessed like I am it’s definitely worth doing.

An iron remover will get all of that dirt off and leave your wheels like new.  And applying a ceramic coating made especially for wheels will protect for a very long time.  I really like Sonax Wheel Cleaner. Click here to read my review.

What about using a tire degreaser.

Using a degreaser like Super Clean Degreaser or Chemical Guys Orange Degreaser will remove even more road grime and also previous dressings from your tire.  This will help give a cleaner surface for your tire shine product to bond which means it will last a little longer.

Ceramic coating for wheels

The ceramic coating will help to prevent iron particles from bonding to the wheels and make washing them so much easier.  Ceramic coatings can last for a year or more and are well worth the cost. Products like Pinnacle Black Label Diamond Coating are expensive but because they save you having to use a de-iron product every week they can actually save you money.  Of course they also save you time which is something I’m always looking for. You can apply wheel wax after each wash to protect and shine further.

Sealant for wheels.

Many paint sealants also work on wheels.  I have used Chemical Guys JetSeal to great effect. Its a lot cheaper than using a ceramic coating and its extremely easy to apply. Its another product that has stunning review on Amazon (Click here to read)

Waxing your wheels.

Wax can give a great shine to your wheels (not tires) and will also give some protection to make cleaning easier the next time.  But avoid getting wax on your tires as it can stain them white. If I’m waxing my car using Collinite Insulator Wax. I will also do my wheels with it (not tires).  It lasts a long time and is my favorite wax overall. Its probably the best wax on the market right now

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