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Friday, August 3, 2012

Tire Dressings

In a previous post I was asked for recommendations on which tire dressing to use.

 I decided to run a small sample test involving 5 different tire dressings. Now before you complain that I didn't include your choice you need to remember I have no budget for running tests or support or sponsorship from any of the products involved. I bought these products at retail.

I am not sure of the actual chemistry for any of the numerous products BUT I will offer some general guidelines for selecting a product.

Foremost Don't do damage as you try and "protect" your tires.

For the test I marked off six different areas. One for each product plus one where no product was used. The tire sidewall I used was from a scrap tire that was punctured when almost new. I never washed the tire but I did just hose it off a few times. It has been left outside for over a year here in NE Ohio. Sometimes I would treat the tire each week. Other times I might not treat the tire for a number of weeks.

I will present two pictures for each product. One as the tire looks 5 days after treatment.  The second picture was taken immediately after treatment. Most of the time between the pictures the tire sat in full sun at 85° to 95° ambient. It did rain hard one day.
In the order of the product seen in the picture above.


 Since there is a color difference I am also providing pictures taken at the same time of the non-treated section.

I will not pass judgement or make any comments other than to say I made no edits to the pictures other than cropping and resizing the pictures. It is up to you to decide the "look" you want.

 The general guidelines for selecting a tire dressing would be:

1. No Petroleum Distillates. This is a general recommendation from various tire manufacturers.

2. Do not use any abrasive brush. I remember back in the 60's (before I knew better) I used SOS pad to clean my wide white sidewalls. I now know what I was doing was removing rubber and leaving small scratches in the tire. If I had done a lot of this I would have severely damaged the sidewall. Stiff brush or hard rubbing with rag can do minor damage and leave microscopic scratches which could initiate cracks.

3. No high pressure steam clean. This will remove all the protective materials that are built into the tire and if you get too close you have seen the damage shown in a previous blog post.

4. Some products make a lot of claims but I have never seen a direct comparison published.

5. Foaming action products would seem to be good. I have used this type of product on my passenger car. It doesn't seem to remove the tire materials. One brand I have personally used does appear to "wash-off" after a couple weeks so I have no reason to believe it is hurting the tire.  I have not checked all of the dozen or so foaming "cleaners" so you will need to read the label and watch for petroleum distillates

Bottom line. For normal use on a vehicle that is driven frequently, you are allowing the protective materials to work out to the surface of the tire. I see no reason why you cannot wash your tires with the same methods and materials you use on the paint of your vehicles. The issue with RV tires is that you normally will not be replacing the tires after 4 or 5 years. RV tires need help as sitting for long periods is not really good for tires. White tire covers (See THIS post) are best they no only protect from UV they also help to keep the tires from excess heat which artificially ages them. See my previous three posts on covers.
If the product or cleaning method isn't something you would use on your car's paint then  you might not want to use it on your tires.

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