Tire Dressing: What It Is and Should We Use It
August 20, 2012
Tire dressing makes tires look shiny, clean and new. This is why detailing shops and car enthusiasts use this product regularly.
Tires and wheels require care to extend their life and increase their functionality. They are always in contact with the road and suffer from the adverse effects of road tar, dirt, grime, water, salt, brake dust, grease and ultra violet radiation ozone, and oxygen.
Over time, tire rubber simply degrades. Vehicle manufacturers recommend, independent of tire mileage, that tires be replaced, typically after six years, to prevent sudden failure. From a detailer’s perspective, we want tires to look nice and new as well as 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 that will impress even the most avid enthusiasts.
Tire Dressing: Water-based vs. Solvent-based
There are two types of tire dressing you will find on the market: water-based and solvent-based.
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.
Water-based dressings, often a milky-white liquid, should not harm rubber over time. They are typically a combination of naturally occurring oils and synthetic polymers that provide a 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.
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.
Choosing the tire dressing for your tires depends on your needs and preferences. You should never apply tire dressing to tread, because it can make the tread slippery. This is especially important for motorcycles. Always follow manufacturer’s 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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