When it comes to automotive detailing, nothing says impressive like properly cleaned tires. When your tires are clean and properly dressed, they will make your vehicle stand out above the crowd. Yet, tires and wheels are one of the hardest details to clean because they are exposed to a lot of road conditions and brake dust. For your convenience, we have compiled 10 do-it-yourself tips to clean your tires and wheels for show-stopping looks.
Tip #1: Wash Your Tires First
Whenever you wash your vehicle, the hardest part to wash is always the wheels and tires. If you wash them last, they can spray soap spots and residue all over that fresh wax job. For this reason, you should always use separate tools and wash your wheels and tires first. But avoid using the same cloth on the body of your car as your wheels, or you are likely to pick up some heavy rocks or dirt particles that will scratch the finish.
Tip #2: Use a Scrubbing Brush
Because wheels and tires build up a lot of brake dust and dirt, it is important to work it away with a bristle brush instead of just wiping at it. Wiping with a cloth may not be aggressive enough to remove the residue. A nylon brush won’t damage anything but will put enough pressure on the components with every stroke to whisk away any gunk.
Tip #3: Use a Sealant to Protect
In order to keep your wheels looking like new, you need to apply a sealant that will help repel the brake dust. The brake dust is mostly composed of metal from the rotors. The friction pads do break down but wash away much easier than the fine metallic particles that are produced by the rotor wear. A silicone sealant will repel the brake dust and also block UV-radiation that can fade the finish on some wheels. The sealant should not be used on the tire itself, however.
Tip #4: Use a Special Tire Cleaner
Regular soap and even automotive car wash soap can leave residues behind on tires. If you want to clean your tires properly, you need to buy a professional product that is designed for tires. Most of these products can be sprayed on rinse completely away. If your car’s tires size is appropriate then no need to worry.
Tip #5: Use a Tire Gel
If your tires are brown or discolored, you may choose to apply a tire gel that restores the original deep black finish. A tire gel is easy to apply and works to instantly return the rich glossy shine to your tires.
Tip #6: Avoid Overspray
You want to ensure that the tire cleaning products that you choose do not spray onto the body of your vehicle. They can damage paint or lift away the rust because they are designed to work more aggressively than the mild detergents in regular car shampoos.
Tip #7: Try Tire Clearcoat
Instead of simply applying a tire dressing or gel, you can apply a clear coat that is durable. The durable clear coating will last for months and keep your tires glossy and shiny. You can achieve a high gloss with a silicone-based tire dressing or using multiple layers of a water-based dressing. However, the clear coat requires far less maintenance and provides a heavy layer of protection. At BlackLabelAutomotive.com.au, we like to use a clear coat on our tires.
Tip #8: Inspect Your Tires
While you are washing your tires, you should take a few minutes to give each tire a thorough inspection. Check the sidewalls for any deformations or bulges. Examine the tread for any scallops, zigzags, or balding. These can be signs of steering and alignment issues. You should also ensure that the air valve caps are in place to protect the Shrader valves from contamination.
Tip #9: Consider Rotating Your Tires
While you are cleaning your tires, you should also consider rotating them. This gives you an opportunity to inspect them better and will minimize uneven wear. The front tires tend to wear more unevenly than the front ones because of all the engine weight and pressure from steering back and forth. Most drivers like to use an X pattern that swaps each front tire to the back on the opposite side.
Tip #10: Avoid Parking Vehicles
If you park your vehicle for long periods of time in one place, it can create flat spots in the tires. If you are storing a vehicle, you should either put it on jack stands to remove the weight off the suspension and tires or at least drive it every so often to distribute the pressure more evenly.
By: Eric Reyes