We’ve all admired a new set of tires before—the new shine and sweet smell. But, they don’t stay that way long. Tires are subjected to all sorts of chemicals on the road: gasoline, salts, radium, strontium, calcium and sodium. Beyond those, your car produces its own corrosive material in the form of brake dust. Brake dust (that lovely grey substance known for discoloring your hubcaps) contains adhesives and carbon fibers which can deteriorate your tires. And there’s always the sun and water, nature’s two destroyers. So there are a lot of things working to break down the flexible rubber chemicals in your tires.
Tires are important to both the aesthetics and safety of your vehicle—and the two are not entirely unconnected. A good looking tire is often a well-kept tire. Here are some instructions on cleaning and protecting your tires to help preserve the flexibility, color, and youth of your tires:
Wash tires first
Next time you set out to wash your car, remember to give attention to your wheels and tires. In fact, they should be the first thing you clean because they’re the dirtiest. If you wait until the end, you’ll make a mess of the areas you’ve already cleaned.
When you clean your wheels/tires, they should be cool to the touch and out of any direct sunlight. If they’re too hot, wait for cooler temperature or give them a good bath of water before beginning. This is important because otherwise the cleaning chemicals you use will evaporate too quickly and adhere to the surface of your wheel/tire before doing its job. Not to mention, a bunch of concentrated cleaner dried up on your wheels and tires can actually cause some damage.
The next step is to use a good cleaner and a medium-to-firm scrub brush to cut through the road grime and brake dust. We recommend Armor All or a similar product. Different wheels have different recommended cleaners (aluminum, chrome, painted, etc.). Of course, if you don’t know your wheel type, there are all purpose cleaners that work on all varieties.
Once the wheel is clean and dry, use a tire protectant to help the tires resist corrosive chemicals, UV rays, and ozone damage. Different protectants will have different instructions. Once you’re done, your tires will be clean, safe, and beautiful. That’s right, they’ll look newer and last longer.