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Tire Dressing: What It Is and Should We Use It

DetailingTires_Tire ShineTire dressing is a product applied to tires to make them look shiny, clean and new. Detailing shops and car enthusiasts use tire dressing regularly. Tires and wheels are critical to the overall appearance of a car and yet are often overlooked. Considering the fact that tires are in continual contact with the road and suffer from adverse effects of road tar, dirt, grime, water, salt, brake dust, grease and ultra violet radiation ozone, and oxygen, it is understandable that they require great care.

Over time, tire rubber simply degrades. As a matter of fact, vehicle manufacturers recommend, independent of tire mileage, that tires be replaced, typically after six years, as a means of preventing sudden failure! From a detailer’s perspective, not only do we want tires to look nice and new, but we also want to protect them from the elements identified above.

A properly cared for tire will add significantly to the overall appearance of a well-detailed vehicle. They really complete “the look” that auto detailers want. Tire dressings will give your tires a new shiny look to them that will impress even the biggest enthusiasts.

Water vs Solvent: Tire Dressing

There are two types of tire dressings you will find on the market: water-based and solvent based. Water-based dressings, often a milky-white liquid, should not harm rubber over time. Water-based dressings are typically a combination of naturally occurring oils and synthetic polymers that provide a very nice non-greasy, satin-like finish – very similar to the look of a new tire. Some water-based tire dressings also contain UVR blocking agents to help keep tires from cracking, fading and hardening. As an added bonus, most, if not all, water-based dressings are environmentally friendly.

Solvent-based silicone dressings, often a clear, greasy, sticky liquid, leave a wet, glossy film on the tire surface. Be careful, some solvent-based dressings contain petroleum distillate solvents that, over time, may lead to premature drying and cracking of the tire surface. The difference between water and solvent-based dressings is simply in the ‘carrier’ system used. Solvent-based products use a hydrocarbon silicone to suspend the product whereas water-based products use water.

Pros of Tire Dressing

  1. Generally speaking, tire dressings help to prevent cracking, fading and hardening of your tires.
  2. Tire dressings also help to revitalize rubber while leaving a rich shine.
  3. It comes in sprays and aerosols that you can spray or wipe on.
  4. One environmentally friendly feature is water-based dressings are biodegradable, unlike other products on the market.
  5. Comes in sprays and aerosols that you can sprayed or wiped on.

Cons of Tire Dressing

  1. When solvent based tire dressing is used it is more likely to sling onto the exterior of the vehicle while driving. The petroleum distillate liquids within the product can harm the tires and paint job.
  2. Some types of tire dressing actually damage the tire in the long run.
  3. When using an aerosol spray can the over spray of the product can damage the brakes.

When it all comes down to using tire dressing on your tires, it truly depends on the consumer. Tire dressing should never be applied to tread because it can make the tread slippery. This is especially important for motorcycles. Always follow manufacturers directions and wear protective gloves when applying solvent-based products. The use of tire shine is a case by case situation.

While all of the above may sound a bit complicated, the procedure is actually quite simple and will only take a few minutes per tire. In the end you will end up with a well protected tire that looks like it came out of a show room! With tire dressing products, there is no faster or easier way to give tires the appearance of a professional detailing job at a fraction of the cost. Check out DetailXPerts many specialty professional detailing services that we offer: from pet hair removal, golf clubs and shoes cleaning to wheel and rim shine.

10 Responses to “Tire Dressing: What It Is and Should We Use It”

  1. […] cleaner can permanently damage them, costing thousands to replace. It is important to thoroughly clean the tires before applying any dressing to ensure it looks its best and lays on the rubber correctly apply a wheel cleaner, which you will […]

  2. […] keep your tires functional for a longer period of time. And while you’re at it, why not use some tire dressing as well? This way, your tires will not only last longer but look better […]

  3. […] should protect your tires and give them a rich satin finish with a quality tire dressing or rubber protectant. Tire dressings should offer more than just shine. A good tire protectant […]

  4. […] Tire shine, also known as tire dressing, is a product that will give you exactly what the name promises – a shiny, new look to your tires. It is important to select a tire shine product that will not only add a shine to the tires but also expand their durability. Selecting a good product might be easy enough, but do you know how to apply tire shine? This process might seem grueling or intimidating, but by following our 5 step guide to DIY tire shine application, you will be able to easily detail your car tires like a professional. […]

  5. […] do not always have to be purchased from shops because you can opt for their homemade substitutes. Tire shine is a good example of this. For many vehicle owners the biggest reservation about using commercial […]

  6. […] Tire dressing is a must-have detailing product in your car detailing kit if you want to protect and keep the brand new look of your tires. There are many tire dressing products in the market, and here we are going to review three products that you should avoid because they contain chemicals that can be harmful to your tires, affect your health, and damage the environment. […]

  7. rajni bhalla says:

    Can you please help me to find tire dressing to sale 5 liters how much can you give it too me .how much would it coast me.

  8. Liberty Baldovino says:

    Hi Rajni Bhalla

    The best organic product we can find is 3M Engine and Tire Dressing Concentrate. It’s cheapest at, where you can get a gallon (5 liters) for only $34.99.

    We hope this helps.

  9. […] well. And when you do check your spare, ensure that you have the right tools for changing and some tire dressing as well. It always feels good to have great looking tires, […]

  10. […] the rubber from hardening, cracking, and fading from exposure to brake dust. Be sure to use a water-based dressing instead of a solvent-based silicone dressing to avoid premature drying of the […]


August 2012
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