Tire Dressing: What It Is and Should We Use It
August 20, 2012
Tire 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 dressing 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
- Generally speaking, tire dressing helps prevent cracking, fading, and hardening of your tires.
- Tire dressing also helps revitalize rubber while leaving a rich shine.
- It comes in sprays and aerosols that you can spray or wipe on.
- Water-based dressings are biodegradable, unlike other products on the market.
Cons of Tire Dressing
- With solvent-based tire dressing, 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.
- Some types of tire dressing actually damage the tire in the long run.
- When using an aerosol form, 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. You should never apply tire dressing 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.
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