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Best Tire Shine of 2021: Dressing for Wet Wheels

Tire shine is one of the most popular car care products on the market. It is widely available, easy to use, and generally a very inexpensive way to put the perfect finishing touches on a newly-cleaned car. Few realize that tire shine can even help keep your tires healthy and free from cracking.

There are a plethora of choices for tire dressing, all of which have different application methods, pros, and cons. Some do a better job than others, and for as little as they cost, it is still important to purchase the right product for your needs. 

The Best Tire Shines

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CHEMICAL GUYS
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1. Meguiar's Endurance Tire Gel

Meguiar’s is perhaps the most recognizable name in automotive car care, and their Endurance Tire Gel is one of their most popular products. Its formula contains specialized macro polymers and copolymers to produce a rich black glossy appearance and UV protection for your tires.

Its formula also makes it durable. It can hold up for long periods without application and can even stick through rain, car washes, and light mud. Meguair’s formula even contains fragrance compounds to add that little extra touch and eliminate strong odors from other ingredients.

Being a gel, Endurance Tire Gel is easy to apply. Overspray is eliminated as direct and even application is achievable through an applicator rather than a spray nozzle.

2. Meguiar's Hot Shine Tire Foam

As the name suggests, this is foam spray tire dressing that is incredibly affordable and does not require the use of potentially messy applicators and gel.

Foam spray allows for easy application to the tire wall while preventing dripping and running that comes with a normal spray. It sticks to the tire and dissolves into the tire wall to produce a deep shine which is, like the Endurance Tire Gel, formulated with UV protectants and polymers.

Also, like the Endurance Tire Gel, the Hot Shine Foam is designed for endurance that does not easily wash away in the rain or car wash. Despite still not being as precise in its application as its gel counterpart, it still offers basically the same formula as the first Meguiar’s product with the convenience of easier application.

3. Chemical Guys Tire Kicker Extra Glossy Tire Shine

Chemical Guys is another big name in automotive care, and their answer to Meguiar’s offerings is their Tire Kicker Extra Glossy tire shine. The name comes from your ability to apply the product, wipe any excess away, and kick the tire with your shoe without the product sticking.

Their fast-dry, high-gloss formula is also UV resistant, hydrophobic, and non-sticky. They use a water-based formula to make their product weatherproof. It will even resist brake dust buildup.

In addition to all of this, Tire Kicker is also able to be used on non-tire surfaces. It is rated for interior materials like plastic, glass, and rubber and is safe to use with the engine bay. This makes it very versatile for a relatively low price.

4. Black Magic Tire Wet Gel

Apart from being a well-known and respected product, Black Magic Tire Wet Gel is handsomely-packaged and affordable. Its thick gel formula allows for minimum running and tire sling after application and produces a deep black finish on tires.

Buyers can control the amount of shine produced on the tire by varying the amounts of gel applied. A light coating produces a subtle shine, and a thicker coating produces a bright and glossy look. 

Regardless of how you want your tires to look, Black Magic lives up to its name because of its self-healing and durable silicone formula. The formula is also weatherproof and highly-hydrophobic, ensuring that your Black Magic Tire Wet Gel lasts for up to eight weeks.

5. Adam's Tire Shine

Adams Tire Shine is a lesser-known product in the car care sector, but it can certainly hold its own. Its silicone dioxide-infused formula is likened to that of a ceramic coating for your tires since this compound hardens when dry to form a tough layer of protection.

Their formula is non-greasy and is highly recommended for large tires and tires with aggressive tread because of its included applicator and spray nozzle. Additionally, their extensively-tested formula produces the same deep shine expected of the best tire dressing products.

With all of this comes Adam’s 110% satisfaction guarantee. Many companies do not stand fully behind all of their products because of the potential costs associated with complaints, but Adams promises to make right any dissatisfaction you experience with their products.

Types of Tire Shine

tire shine product

Dressing

Tire dressing is usually used for enhancing or restoring rubber health. Similar to synthetic oil, it usually contains several polymers and compounds that can prevent the rubber from cracking and restore its health if it already has. 

Tire dressing is usually used for enhancing or restoring rubber health. Similar to synthetic oil, it usually contains several polymers and compounds that can prevent the rubber from cracking and restore its health if it already has. 

Wax

Tire wax works similarly to vehicle paint waxing and polishing. It usually contains the most natural ingredients of the three types of tire shine, and it is applied and “buffed” out. 

Sealant

Tire sealant is pretty self-explanatory. It acts as a wax protectant or a ceramic coating would on car paint. It is usually the most durable of the three since it usually contains the most synthetic compounds of the three. These can also provide a high level of ultraviolet ray protection.

In an attempt to complete as many jobs as possible, many tire shine products combine two or more types of shine.

Tire Shine Details Explained

Within each type of tire shine are subgroups of products. Whereas the type of tire shine product focuses on the job of tire shine, there are two main ways in which tire shine is actually produced. Naturally, both have their own sets of pros and cons.

Water-Based

Water-based tire shine uses homogenization to “carry” tiny droplets of silicone compounds onto the surface of the rubber. Because water and oil do not mix well, water-based tire shines do not last as long as solvent-based shines, but they are much better for the environment since the chemical compounds used are not as harsh. 

Solvent-Based

Solvent-based tire shines use synthetic compounds to “carry” the silicone compounds onto the surface of the rubber. They do not evaporate as quickly as water, and therefore, they give the tire a wetter appearance, tend to have a higher rate of tire sling, and can cause more environmental damage. But, they do usually last much longer and provide unrivaled levels of glossiness and shine.

Solvent-based tire dressings are usually much thicker than water-based solvents. Water-based tire dressing can vary in thickness depending on how many extra compounds are added to perform various tasks.

Tire Shine Application Explained

tire shine application

Like any other product or piece of equipment, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. Tire shine rarely requires specialized equipment to apply, but it can be applied in many different ways depending on the product and its chemical makeup.

Read the Instructions

Reading the instructions for anything is the most important but also the most overlooked aspect of use and ownership. With tire shine, different products are applied differently depending on several factors. For best results, always read what the manufacturer says, even if the spray bottle looks simple.

Apply to a Clean Tire

The golden rule of just about any finishing car care product is to apply it to a clean surface. The same goes for tires. This helps the product stick and perform better, ensuring that you get the most out of your purchase and that the product works exactly as designed.

Let the Product Dry

Tire sling is when tire shine gets propelled onto surfaces on which it should not be because of the momentum of the spinning tires. To prevent this, manufacturers usually set a time during which the car should not be driven to allow the product to dry.

Avoid Overspray

Tire shine is designed to be applied to tires, not wheels or paint. Whenever any tire shine product drips, leaks, or gets sprayed onto a surface other than the tire, it is important to clean it. This is especially true if the tire shine is applied to the tread of the vehicle – the part of the tire that contacts the ground.

It is extremely important to avoid using tire shine on the tread of the tire. It can be dangerous because of the greasiness of the product. If this happens, it should be removed immediately and as thoroughly as possible.

Final Thoughts

Tire shine is an excellent product to perfect a complete car wash. It makes your clean vehicle look showroom new, but many do not realize that tire dressing can actually help the health of your tire rubber. Many tire shines are made with rubber-enhancing, anti-cracking, or restorative compounds to prevent or even revert tire damage. 

Whatever your needs, there are plenty of tire shine products on the market at relatively affordable prices. Just be sure to read all instructions on whatever product you purchase since products can be very different from one another.

Richard Reed
I've been a General Manager of a moving company and I've also been a Professional Mover for over 30 years. I've driven flat beds, reefers, dropdecks, moving vans, heavy machinery, etc. In my time as a Mover I've driven over 1,000,000 safe miles. My days of moving and driving truck are past me but The Vehicle Lab allows me to share the knowledge I've gained over the past 40 years.
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