Do you know what the surest way of ruining your car’s appearance is? Having its tires coated with dust and debris. Dirty tires will surely act as appearance-spoilers regardless of how much time and effort you spent tidying up your vehicle’s exterior.
Still, enhancing your car’s appearance isn’t the only benefit you could expect from the tire shiner. Since it lubricates the tire’s pores to make them look shiny, the best tire shine also saves the tread from premature drying, thereby preventing cracks in the rubber.
It is for these two crucial reasons that car detailers would never return a car they received for washing until they have used a shiner on all four of its wheels. And that’s also why we recommend that you choose the right product for your vehicle from our tire shine reviews.
Best Car Tire Shine Reviews
1. Carfidant Ultimate Tire Shine Spray
There are three reasons why this product is as popular as it is. First, it is equipped with advanced Nano-polymer technology which has given this spray a powerful yet non-toxic formula. It returns the original shine of your tires but not at the cost of their longevity or your health.
Secondly, once you apply this tire dressing, it would allow you to control the subsequent shine level. Provided you want to get that original look of your tires back, wipe this product off after 10-15 minutes. Leaving it for a longer period would give your tires that shiny, glossy look.
Thirdly, it comes with a satisfaction guarantee. You don’t have to trust our or anybody else’s viewpoint about the effectiveness of this product. That its manufacturer gives you the option to return the product without asking any questions if you aren’t satisfied with its performance should erase all your doubts.
2. CarGuys Tire Shine Spray
Although this product mirrors the Carfidant tire shine in the sense that it also comes in spray-form, that’s where the similarities end. It comes with a black microfiber applicator pad which lets you choose between a rich black shine and a high-gloss glaze shine.
In contrast to most tire dressings available on the market, this one can be used on multiple surfaces. Its advanced Nano polymer additive formula makes this product safe to use on wheel wells. And you can apply this spray on vinyl and plastic surfaces as well.
Luckily, despite being safe-to-apply on multiple surfaces, this dressing reserves its best features for your tires. It has a no-sling ability which would keep it limited to your tires after application, which means you won’t have to deal with any shine-sling or run-off when driving at high speeds.
3. TriNova Tire Shine Spray No Wipe
Of the many useful features of the TriNova Tire Shine, the one we found the most helpful was its ability to keep the rubber of your tires from fading and yellowing. It achieves that remarkable result by seeping deep inside the tread area, thereby reinforcing rubber from within.
What is more, you don’t have to apply several coats of this product to achieve the desired results. To make sure that one bottle lasts you longer, its manufacturer has made sure that one layer of the product on the outer surface of your tire will deliver you the shine you are looking for.
Furthermore, since its spray bottle has an extra-long nozzle, you’d be able to lubricate the entire tire. It has a contoured applicator pad to complement the shape of your tire and achieve uniform distribution of the dressing. So you won’t have to worry about some parts missing out on the shine.
4. Adam’s Tire Shine 16oz
To differentiate itself from other dressings on this review, Adam’s Tire Shine doesn’t target all tires on the market. Its lustrous deep shine is specially made to target tires with detailed tire treads, bold lettering, and large tread blocks.
In case you’re confused, this description perfectly fits most all-terrain, high-performance, and winter tires. You can also count on its silica-infused formula to deliver a rich, wet look without any sling. Also, you can apply this dressing to trim components as well as exterior plastic parts.
Furthermore, while it does have a unique scent, you won’t have to worry about it overwhelming your nostrils. You might find it good to know that the utility of this product doesn’t end after you’ve used it on your tires. It is perfectly safe to use on door seals, bed rails, hood cowls, and mirror caps.
5. Griot’s Garage 10938 Black Shine
Similar to the products we have recommended thus far, the Griot’s Garage 1093B also comes in the form of a spray. Just like them, its pleasant scent would enhance the experience of its users. It is even available in the same budget range – one that won’t blow a hole in your pocket.
Does that mean this product isn’t any different from innumerable others on the market? We didn’t say that. It differentiates itself from the competition by giving its users excellent control over its nozzle. So you can expect to achieve more tire coverage with ease.
While it does come in the form of a liquid, you won’t encounter any running or streaking problems. The layer this product will leave behind will be one of maximum gloss. That means that those of you who are looking for a ‘fresh-from-the-factory-floors’ look might want to look elsewhere.
6. Aero Cosmetics Tire Dressing
Two features of this product differentiate it from other products in this review. While most of them are available in 18-ounce size packing, the Aero Cosmetics Tire Dressing is delivered in a 16-ounce bottle. That means that one bottle of this product will last a little less long.
Second, its manufacturer clearly states on its packaging that it won’t give a wet, shiny look to your tires. All this tire dressing is capable of giving your tires is a natural look. That is a must-have feature if you don’t want your tires to become a magnet for dirt.
Consequently, it won’t only take care of your tires during its application (by ameliorating their looks) but would also protect them post-application. And you can trust this shine to do just that because it meets the Boeing Aircraft Specification (D6 17487T) specifically made for tire shines.
7. Meguiar’s G7516 Endurance Tire Gel
Whether you’re talking about car buffers, vehicle upholstery cleaners or (in our case) tire dressings, Meguiar’s is a gigantic name among the vehicle crowd. Though it isn’t the brand name but the performance of the G7516 Endurance Tire Gel which makes it a must-have.
This gel is equipped with a long-lasting formula that empowers it to withstand washing and rains. Its thickness allows you to coat your tires evenly without worrying about runs, drips or overspray. The rich black appearance that it would bestow to your tires would also protect them against UV damage.
Is there something that this product cannot do? As it turns out, it isn’t very good at restoring the original, natural look of your tires. Though that isn’t an indictment on its performance as its advanced formula is made to enamor those users who want their tires to have a glossy appearance.
What is a Tire Dressing?
Also known as tire shiners in common parlance, tire dressings are compounds that restore the original luster of faded black rubber. These are (mostly) oily products that help the tire’s rubber recover its natural deep black color which it might have lost due to multiple reasons.
Based on their application, one could divide tire dressings into two types. The first are those which help your tires recover their natural, original looks. The second, on the contrary, gives a glossy effect to the tires. Apart from doing that, premium tire dressings also protect tires against cracking, fading and drying.
Tire Shine Buying Guide
Ask veteran car-detailers, and they might describe many benefits of the ‘right’ car shine, including its ability to enhance your vehicle’s appearance, prevent cracks in the rubber in its tread area, and maintain the tire’s air pressure by lubricating its pores.
But what is the ‘right’ car shine for your car? After all, all of them look the same when placed on the shelf of the superstore. So the easy way is to just pick the product which looks pleasing on the eye, pay its asking price and go scrub your tire with it.
Unfortunately, as most of us already know, the easy way isn’t always the right way. Tire shines, despite their same-looking packaging, are different. You can select the best one for your needs by using the criteria mentioned in this buying guide.
Top Considerations When Buying Tire Shine
Following are the questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing shiner for your car’s tires:
Type of finish
In which appearance do you find your tires aesthetically pleasing? Would you find it acceptable if the tire shine left a glossy touch in its aftermath? Or would you just prefer your tires to rediscover their natural, fresh-from-the-factory-floor looks? Remember, there is no wrong answer to these questions. Regardless of the finish you might prefer, they won’t have any effect on the shiner’s performance.
Most tire shiners leave behind one of these two finishes:
Glossy or Shiny finish
Provided you want your tires to stand-out on the road, you might want to go for the glossy finish. It’s a super-oily appearance that helps the wheels shine on exposure to sunlight or artificial lights.
While there is nothing wrong with glossy finishes, they require more time to project themselves. You might have to leave the tire-shine on for at least an hour (before washing it off) to get the gloss.
Matte or Satin finish
Most car drivers simply adore the looks of the tires as they roll off the factory’s surface. For them, no amount of gloss or shine could be better than the original shine of their wheels.
On the flip side, tires that look natural won’t stand out when parked alongside their glossy counterparts. Though there’s no difference (performance-wise) between both these finishes.
Ease of application
When deciding how easy or otherwise a shiner’s application procedure is, we always look for two aspects: the time you’d have to leave the shiner on the tire and control you’d have on its application. Based on the type of shine (discussed below) you end up selecting, both these factors will play an important role.
Liquid-based tire shiners require less time to deliver the goods. Their thinness allows them to penetrate the tire’s pores relatively quickly. So you can expect to be done with the tire-cleaning chore within minutes.
Gels, on the contrary, tend to be a little slower in their application. Even after you’ve nicely spread it on the tire’s surface, it would take some time for the rubber to completely absorb the gel.
To make up for their long waiting time, gel-based cleaners give you more control over their application. Their thick formula also ensures less wastage, so you could keep on using the same bottle for long.
Liquid-based gels are the polar opposite. Since they come in a spray bottle, there would be wastage every time you apply them, no matter how careful you might be in their application.
Pro Tip: If you want more control and can afford to give the shiner some time for drying, go for the gel-based shiner. Do the exact opposite if that isn’t the case.
Top 6 Features and Specs of Tire Shines
Here are some of the features and specs which are a must-have for the top-rated tire dressings:
Similar to the best car buffers, the best tire dressings must also provide UV protection. That’s because UV rays react with the tire’s rubber and disintegrate its pores, thereby reducing the tire’s shelf life. P
Tire shiners shouldn’t just wash off or evaporate after a single rain or washing session, even if you’ve applied a single coat. It’s imperative that your tire keeps on looking shiny for days, regardless of the weather conditions out there.
You might have noticed that most of the tire shine that we have recommended above are shiners-cum-protectants. That’s because the top-rated models have the obligation to protect your tire against environmental damage for the prices they charge.
Microfiber applicator pad:
Regardless of whether you choose a spray- or a gel-based shine, you’d want to have something to rub it in. Microfiber applicator pads also help you get an even coat all around the wheels.
Narrow-spray pattern (optional):
If you are looking to get a liquid-shiner, make sure its spray bottle’s nozzle has a narrow spray pattern. Otherwise, you might end up forcing a lot of overspray on the vehicle’s body or on the ground.
The sooner the dressing gets absorbed in the rubber, the better. This way you won’t end up polluting all your driveway with excess tire shine.
What Are Tire Shine’s Made of?
The formula of tire shine is a mixture of various polymers and chemicals, the exact quantity of which is a closely guarded secret. None of the manufacturers whose products you saw above reveal much about how they prepare their tire dressings.
Having said that, based on their application, we could categorize this product into two different categories: water-based and solvent-based. Both of them are the same in the sense that they have the same active ingredient (silicone fluid). Though the co-solvents in their formulae are different.
Let’s take a look as to which of them might suit your requirements better.
Water-Based Tire Dressings
An option preferred by most drivers, water-based tire dressings are made from a mixture of polymers and naturally occurring oils. That’s because silicone, in its raw form, doesn’t mix with water. It is broken down and suspended in water to form an emulsion that would stay on the tire’s rubber.
The processes which they use to keep the emulsion stable lets us differentiate between cheap and premium water-based tire dressings. The former use surfactants which, while keeping the emulsion stable, reduce the longevity of the dressing. So you’d have to reapply it soon.
In contrast, premium tire dressings use stabilizers and thickeners. Despite stabilizing the emulsion, they do not interfere with its thickness, thereby not requiring you to re-apply the product later. Hence the reason why most drivers pay more upfront for premium dressings.
Regardless of which type of water-based dressing you might end up choosing, the finish would be the same. These products leave your tires with a non-greasy, matte black or satin coating. In plain English, you can count on them to give your tires ‘’fresh-off-the-factory-floor’’ looks.
– Give your car the natural look
– Relatively less costly
– Not flammable
– Not freeze stable
Solvent-Based Tire Dressings
In contrast to their water-based counterparts, solvent-based tire dressings do not have to use an external agent to dissolve silicone. These products have the formula which allows them to ‘bond’ with the tire’s rubber better. That means you could count on them to last longer.
Additionally, these tire dressings are mostly preferred by drivers who wish their model to stand out on the highway. That’s because they leave a shiner, glossy finish in their wake. Also, they justify their high initial cost by providing several weeks of appearance and protection.
Not all is hunky-dory about solvent-based dressings though. Environmentalists voice serious concerns about the solvents used in these products. Some of the cheap products contain ozone-depleting compounds, whereas others have solvents that are flammable.
Furthermore, as they have a thicker composition, solvents require long drying times. You’d also have to be careful while applying them on the tire, as a thick layer of these products would simply either fall off the tire or sling onto the side of your car.
– Give the tire shiny look
– Are freeze stable
– Usually flammable
What are the Different Tire Dressing Application Types?
In the good old days of tire dressings, the industry relied on a sponge material to apply them onto the tire of your vehicle. That’s mainly because the products in those days had a thicker composition which couldn’t be sprayed out of a spray bottle.
Fortunately, times have changed and now we have got three options: spray, gel, and foam. Some of them still require the hands-on, manual approach but there are others that won’t get your hands dirty. Let’s take a look as to which of them might suit you better.
Spray Tire Dressings
The majority of tire shines sitting on market shelves come inside a spray bottle. Such products are mostly water-based and allow for better application accuracy. Also, since they allow you to adjust the angle of their nozzle, these models also provide better tire coverage.
More importantly, since they don’t contain any solvent, you can trust spray shiners to not wear down your tires. You could use them more frequently without causing any damage to the tire. However, since they have a thin composition, they require more frequent re-application.
Similarly, their water-based formula means you’d have less control over where the spray might end up. You could angle the nozzle as carefully as you might want, but there would be wastage on every application. That’s why spray-based products last less long than gel-based shiners.
– Provide better coverage
– Won’t damage tires
– Easy to apply
– Require more frequent re-application
Gel Tire Dressings
Gel-based shines are the polar opposite of their spray-on counterparts. While the latter gives you less control over where the spray might end-up, the hands-on approach of gel shines means you could control where exactly they would go. That results in less wastage.
Furthermore, these products typically cost less than spray or foam-style shiners. Their thick composition means one coat would last longer on the tire. Also, since you’d be applying them manually, you’d have more control over where the product might end up.
On the flip side, there’s one major reason why you might end up ignoring this product: they are time-consuming. Whether you apply the product onto the tire with your bare hands or first apply on a microfiber cloth, both arrangements will require you to set aside at least 30 minutes.
– Low asking price
– Provide better control
– Last longer than spray style products
Foam Tire Dressings
Just like car buffers, some tire dressings are also foamy. These products are usually more expensive than their spray- and gel-based counterparts. Though they justify their steep asking prices by lasting longer and providing more control than both of them.
Foam-based dressings are the combo of the two we saw above. They require you to spray the foam onto the microfiber cloth before manually coating your tire with the same. In this sense, they combine the benefits of the duo while sidestepping the negative points.
That doesn’t mean, however, that these products are without any fault. Foam, no matter how thick, cannot rival with gel or water-based products when it comes to coverage. Two tires of the same diameter will require more foam- than they’d do gel- or water-based dressings because it doesn’t spread evenly.
– Last long
– Provide more control
– Less time consuming to apply
– Less coverage for the same quantity
Why Should I use Tire Dressing on my Car?
Let the following benefits of tire dressings answer this question:
6 Reason for Using Tire Dressing
Make tires shiny:
At the cost of stating the obvious, these products cause a world of difference in the pre- and post-application appearance of your tires. Whether it is shiny/glossy looks or ‘fresh-out-of-the-factory’ ones that you’re after, tire dressings would provide both.
Prevent tires from fading:
UV rays can cause the tire’s original color to fade and, in extreme cases, turn its outer surface brown. In less extreme cases, they might cause cracking in its rubber. The best tire dressings prevent both these unfortunate scenarios from materializing.
Protect tires from road pollutants:
If you have no intention of keeping your car parked in the garage for the foreseeable future, you might as well want its tires to have some protection against dirt and grime. No prizes for guessing that tire dressings provide just that!
Revitalize the tires’ rubber:
Most of us don’t realize but the real function of tire dressing is to revitalize the rubber. Unless they do that and bring back the rubber’s deep black color, the subsequent shine won’t be possible.
Enhance your vehicle’s appearance:
What would you call a car which is spotless from above the wheels? Dirty is the most appropriate word that comes to mind. And any car which is dirty won’t be able to stand out from the crowd.
Increase its resale value:
Have you ever sent a car to a detailing expert? These are professionals who ‘prepare’ cars so that they could be resold at maximum prices. Such pros don’t consider detailing complete as long as the tires aren’t sparkling, as they know the effect shining tires would have on your vehicle’s resale value.
Can Tire Dressing cause cracking?
It depends on a) how you use the tire dressing and b) which type of product you’re using. Let’s discuss both these points in detail to further understand what we mean by them.
How You Use The Tire Dressing?
Experts tell us that even the safest tire dressings (discussed below) can cause cracking if you do not remove them before reapplying.
Some of them might be easier to take off than others, but you should remove the dressing by following its manufacturer’s instructions if you want to limit the chances of cracking.
Which Type Of Dressing You Are Using?
Water-based tire dressings, in almost all cases, are the safest. They don’t have any solvent which could cause damage to the tire’s rubber.
Solvent-based dressings, especially those with any petroleum-based products (i.e. aerosols) in their ingredients, aren’t. You could identify them from their price tag as they are dirt-cheap most of the time.
All You Need to Know About Tire Shine Applications
How to Apply Tire Shine in 5 Easy Steps
Assuming that you’ve selected a tire shine by now, here’s how you can apply it to your tires. Most people think that it’s a grueling process and therefore leave it to the detailers. Luckily for your wallet, the reality cannot be more different.
Provided you follow our five-step procedure to tire shine application, you’ll leave your tires shining as if they were detailed by a pro. If you think that couldn’t happen, then you must follow these five steps to check out for yourself.
Step 1: Give Your Tires a Thorough Clean
Apart from providing a better surface for the shine to stick to, cleaning the tire offer various other benefits. It might help remove the blooming appearance that the tire might have adopted after encountering excessive pollution on the roads. Also, recently-washed tires will result in the saving of dressing by allowing less amount to cover their entire surface.
Step 2: Give The Tires Time To Air Dry
In contrast to what the previous step might have left you wondering, you should NOT apply dressing on wet tires. The reason is obvious: dressings don’t stick on wet tires. Professional detailers point out other reasons why you should apply dressing on dry wheels. They are of the opinion that dry tires won’t cause product flicking, dripping, or slinging.
Step 3: Apply Tire Dressing
Every tire shine comes with instructions guiding the user about its application. Before you start putting into the process the instructions written on your product, give them a thorough need. It might happen that your product might require some items not included in its kit. So you’d have to arrange them beforehand to not leave the work midway.
Safety tip: Similar to some of the products recommended in our car scratch remover buying guide, some tire dressings (like those which are solvent-based) might require you to wear protective gloves during their application.
Step 4: Let the Tire Shine Settle
Once again the instructions given alongside your product will come handy. Consult them to know more about the duration that you should let the shine sit on your tires. To be on the safe side, leave the product for about 15-20 minutes.
Step 5: Rub off the Extra Tire Shine
Use a rough microfiber cloth or a sponge to rub the extra dressing off your tires. Apply due diligence while wiping off the shine as, if left on the tire, it would attract road dust. You might want to note that tire shine gets easily absorbed in properly cleaned tires. So if you followed the instructions to the letter, you might have to dab off less extra product.
Tire Dressing Application Tips
Follow these tips to get the best results from the application of your tire dressing:
- Read the instructions carefully:
Seems a no-brainer, right? You cannot call it obvious once you look at the number of people who ignore the directions given on the package of their product. Unfortunately for them, the end result makes their folly clear for all to see.
- Apply multiple coats:
Some people apply too much dressing on at once and are left to rue the results. The best way to apply tire shine is to apply several coats, one after the other, then applying a thick gentle lob all at once.
- Give the dressing time to dry:
Unless you’re in a hurry, it’s better that you give the dressing several hours to dry thoroughly. Otherwise, if you drive away moments after cleaning the dressing, all your effort might go to waste.
- Apply dressing before you detail the interior:
Here’s how your car’s cleaning routine should go. First, give your vehicle a thorough wash. Second, apply the dressing. Third, after choosing a car upholstery cleaner, detail the interior. It is crucial that you apply dressing between the first and third step. This will get it the time to absorb in the tire’s rubber and give better results.
- Don’t apply the dressing to hot tires:
Ever touched your tires after a long journey? You should never apply the dressing to such tires as their heat will affect the ability of the dressing to bond properly with the tire’s rubber.
FAQs and Answers
- Q: How often should I apply tire shine to my tires?
A: If you want your tires to shine all the time and not only on special occasions, you might want to lubricate the tires with a shine during every car wash.
- Q: Should I apply the tire shine in direct sunlight?
A: You shouldn’t apply the dressing in direct sunlight as the heat might affect its ability to dry properly and absorb in the rubber. If you don’t have a garage, move your vehicle under shade before you apply the dressing.
- Q: How to remove tire dressing from paint?
A: Different users who faced the same issue recommend different solutions. Some recommend using a degreaser whereas others vouch for wax and grease remover. To be on the safe side, you might want to have your car undergo rubber compound and see if it works.
Don’t forget to check out our roundup of the high-quality car drying towel reviews.
Even the best tire shine won’t work unless you do. You shouldn’t be in a hurry when lubricating your tires with these products. That means that a) you should leave the dressing on for the manufacturer-recommend time and b) you shouldn’t drive-off the car moments after you’ve removed the dressing.
Provided you do that and don’t display hastiness, a mere scroll through our tire shine reviews will reveal the benefits of this approach. These products outsmart their competitors by not limiting their utility to restoring the original (or glossy) shine of your tires.
Rather, to justify their reputation, these tire dressings go the extra mile. Most of them offer post-treatment protection to guard your tires against cracking, color fading, and drying. They also withstand several washes and rainy periods as they keep on delivering the goods.