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Dried out tires

Best Tire Shine 2018

Get Wet-Looking Tires With the Top 10 Tire Shines

Published September 18, 2018

You could spend all day detailing your car, but if you forget to shine your tires, you might as well have skipped the entire process. So how do you make tires shine as if they were new? You start by reading this article on how to make your tires shine and by purchasing one of our recommendations for the best tire shine products of 2018.

Why Use Tire Shine on Your Car?

It’s no secret that tires are more aesthetically pleasing when they look wet. The wet effect looks best because the dirt and the small cracks that develop from wear and tear are made harder to see when a tire is properly “dressed.”

Tire shine, tire gels, and tire dressings ensure your tires appear clean, shiny and new. Your tires undergo the toughest beating of any other part of your vehicle. The tire’s constant contact with the road not only accumulates dirt, dust and road grime, it also dries out the rubber causing unsightly and determinantal cracks to form in the surface of the tire.

Dried out tires

Tires that are rarely shined and often neglected are not only less aesthetically pleasing; they are also more likely to sustain a rupture or crack and lose air pressure.

Tire Shine Buying Guide

How to make your tires shine? That is the question this guide is going to help you solve. Whether you’re working with a brand new bottle of tire gel, water-based tire dressing, or you brewed a homemade tire shine, the most important thing is that you use it correctly, and leave your wheels looking like they just rolled off the factory floor.

Rubber degrades over time. Constant contact with the road and exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation dries out the tire surface leaving it brittle, faded and cracked. In fact, most tire manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years, regardless of mileage.

Not to mention that tires look better when they have been properly dressed and shine like they are wet. That is why detailers never call a detailing job complete until they have used tire shine on all four wheels.

tire shine before and after

Homemade Tire Shine

To brew your homemade tire shine, combine the following ingredients and give it a good stir:

  • Alcohol
  • Distilled water (optional)
  • Mild dish soap
  • Two buckets of warm water
  • Castor Oil

Though it is possible to brew your own homemade tire shine, the best results will still be found with a professional tire shine that is specially designed to erode and dissolve dirt, dust, and automotive grime.

Water-Based Tire Shine vs. Solvent-Based Tire Shine

The debate over whether a water-based tire shine is as effective as a solvent-based tire shine can occasionally be heard swirling around detail shops.

The active ingredient in both water-based tire shine and solvent-based tire shine includes silicone fluid, which is chemically inert and typically non-toxic but tends to interfere with paint applications. In fact, many detailers and body shops do not allow silicone-based cleaning agents and chemical compounds in their operation.

Water-based tire shine- A water-based tire shine does not contain solvents. Instead, water is used because it won’t mix with the oil-based silicone fluid. This mixture has the effect of breaking the silicon fluid into droplets which spread over the surface of the car without washing off once the tire gets wet.

Solvent-based tire shine- Solvent-based tire shine is designed to effectively homogenize the silicone fluid used to restore the tire, but they also generally contain volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs) which are bad for the environment.

How To Apply Tire Shine The Right Way

You can use tire shine spray, tire shine by the gallon or tire shine in bulk, but if you don’t know how to use tire shine effectively you can ruin your clothes, your driveway, and even your car’s finish, in which case you should find an article that answers questions like:

  • How to remove tire shine?
  • How to get tire shine off car paint?
  • How to get tire shine off driveway?
  • How to get tire shine off clothes?

To provide your tires with an effective clean and your car with showroom ready aesthetic, it’s important to thoroughly wash your car while paying close attention to your wheels before applying any tire shine.

Be sure to scrub the nooks and crannies or your tires removing all traces of visible dust, dirt, and grime.

Once you are sure your tires are as clean as you can make them, remove as much excess water as you can and allow them to dry.

Allowing your tires to dry before applying tire shine is essential.  Tire shine applied to wet tires has a tendency to sling off as soon as you start driving your car. Dry tires enable the tire shine to cling to the tire surface more effectively.

Now it’s time to apply the tire shine. Be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions, which will almost certainly include carefully applying the tire shine to a microfiber rag, brush, or applicator, and gently swirling it into the surface of the tire.

Allow the tire shine to rest on the surface of the tire and work its magic for a period of 10 to 20 minutes. Don’t drive your car during this time as you will probably sling tire shine all over your car and be forced to wash the whole thing again.

When the tire shine has dried or the designated amount of time has elapsed, use a sponge or rag to remove any excess tire shine. This step is extra important as excess tire shine left on the surface of the tire can accumulate dirt deposits, grime and brake dust which can damage your wheels.

10 Best Tire Shine Products

Now that you know why and how to apply tire shine, the only question left to answer is; what’s the best tire shine to use? To be considered one of the 10 best tires shines, a product needs to be effective at restoring a factory black shine to faded tires and do so at a price that is kind to your budget.

What’s more, a tire shine should restore and strengthen a tire to last well beyond the manufacturer recommended six years, regardless of mileage.

10. Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel

One of the most commonly reported complaints about tire shine products is that they sling off and can leave a tire looking greasy rather than shiny. Meguiar’s Endurance tire shine puts a stop to greasy-looking tires and does it for a price that every car owner can afford.

Meguiars Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel

Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel includes a rich gel formula that restores your tire’s high-gloss shine and protects it from the elements.

Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel is one of the longest lasting tire shine products and one of the easiest to apply. The innovative gel comes in a user-friendly bottle that enables you to control application without using too much.

The formula for Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel includes highly advanced macro polymers and copolymers that cling to the tire’s surface and won’t sling off onto your rims or side panels and won’t leave unattractive sling marks.

Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel is water resistant. Water beads up and rolls off, enabling your tires to be virtually unaffected by rain. Sun and soaring temperatures are no longer an issue with Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tire Gel, either.  The specially-engineered formula includes antiozonants which help deflect ultraviolet sunlight and prevent the tire from fading or turning grey.

9. Armor All Extreme Tire Shine

Armor All is one of the most trusted names in automotive care because their product always performs as advertised, if not better. The same is true with Armor All Extreme Tire Shine.

Armor All Extreme Tire Shine

Armor All Tire Shine is the affordable and convenient answer to invasive and expensive tire dressings. Armor All Extreme Tire Shine digs deep into the tire surface to remove dirt and stubborn contaminants and clings to the surface to avoid sling-off.

The unique formula in Armor All extreme tire shine also includes extra gloss enhancers, conditioners, and nourishers to create a rich, deep-black look while preserving a mirror-like showroom shine.  

Armor All Extreme Tire Shine also protects as well as it restores. The “Shine-Shield  “ formula deflects ultraviolet sunlight and ensures that your tires remain shiny and appear wet longer than some of the more expensive tire shine products.

Detailing professionals consider Armor All Extreme Tire shine to be one of the best tire products you can buy.  It provides a level of detail and shine only seen with the most talented detail shops for far less than the cost of a professional detail, but what else would you expect from one of the most trusted brands in automotive care?

8. Superior Products Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing (Aerosol)

Concerning tire shine, it isn’t often that a tire shine spray is as effective as a rich tire shine gel, but Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing by Superior Products is the aerosol spray that changes that misconception.

Superior Cover All Tire Shine

Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing is a powerful tire shine spray that eats through stubborn dirt and grime and adds layers of protection to your tire’s surface.

Though Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing is available as a compound, we consider the Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing aerosol tire shine spray superior due to its easy application and large coverage area.

Superior Products’ Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing is exceptionally durable, water repellent, and stays on the tire surface longer than the next leading tire shine.

Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing is the tire shine spray that has your tires covered. With Superior Products Cover All High Gloss Tire Dressing there are no more heavy applications of greasy and potentially harmful chemical agents. Spray on long lasting, high gloss spray and walk away. It’s that easy.

7. Turtle Wax Wet’n Black Ultra Wet Tire Shine

When car owners think Turtle Wax, reliable and long-lasting results come to mind, along with its pleasant trademark scent. Turtle Wax Wet’n Black Ultra Wet Tire Shine does not deviate from that reputation at all.

Turtle Wax Wet’n Black Ultra Wet Tire Shine

Turtle Wax Wet’n Black Ultra Wet Tire Shine is formulated with rich, deep cleansing cleaning agents that dissolve dirt and grime and restore your tires to a high-gloss showroom-ready shine.

Silicone polymers lock in the restorative power of the grime-dissolving formula and block ultraviolet sunlight from fading and cracking the surface of your tires. Turtle Wax Wet’n Black Ultra Wet Tire Shine comes in a user-friendly spray bottle that makes application a breeze.

Spray on the dry tire surface and let the specially-formulated solvents and silicone polymers dig deep into your tires to leave them looking “wet’n black.”

6. Black Magic Tire Wet

According to their advertising, Black Magic Tire Wet has held the distinct title of “the number one tire shine in America” since 2012, and after using Black Magic Tire Wet on our tires, we can hardly argue with that claim.

Black Magic Tire Wet

Black Magic Tire Wet is specially designed and formulated to provide a brilliant shine with a high gloss finish and leave your tires looking wet and restored to factory new.

The unique combination of polymers and high-molecular-weight silicones provide a long-lasting, high-gloss shine which clings to the tire surface, preventing sling-off and protecting your tires from damaging ultraviolet rays.

What’s more, Black Magic Tire Wet doesn’t need to be rubbed into the surface of the tire. Black Magic Tire Wet is applied with one easy spray which is more effective than multiple applications of the leading competitor. All you need to do to achieve the ultimate tire shine is spray Black Magic Tire Wet onto the tire surface.

5. DUB by Meguiar’s Tire Shine

DUB tire shine – developed by Meguiar’s – is the culmination of years of Meguiar’s automotive care experience and “urban custom car flare.”

DUB by Meguiar’s Tire Shine

DUB Magazine, known for showcasing everything from high-performance European supercars to Long Beach lowriders teamed up with the experts and Meguiar’s to create DUB Tire Shine.

DUB Tire shine is for serious detailers whose projects include shining tires on luxury trucks, sports cars, and custom lowriders to create what DUB Magazine refers to as “The DUB Effect.” But you don’t need expensive rims on your car to see the benefits of using DUB Tire Shine.

Meguiar’s formulated DUB Tire Shine with a powerful blend of quality ingredients that restore tires to a high gloss and digs deep to remove contaminants and unsightly dirt deposits.

DUB Tire shine comes in a convenient aerosol spray. Spray and walk away for rich black tires and a showroom wet appearance.

4. Trinova Tire Shine Spray

Trinova Tire Shine Spray qualifies for our list of the 10 best tire shine products because we found ourselves hard-pressed to find a tire shine spray with more protective qualities.

Trinova Tire Shine Spray

Trinova Tire Shine Spray covers the full tire surface with a durable protective coating which repels water, dirt, and other automotive contaminants. The powerful spray is silicone-based and comes in three shine-level options; low, medium and high.

Regardless of the shine level you choose, Trinova Tire Shine Spray will leave your tires showroom ready because its active ingredients restore the tire’s surface and repair damage done by ultraviolet sunlight and regular wear and tear.

Trinova Tire Shine Spray comes in an easy-to-apply spray bottle and only requires a single coating for you to restore, protect, and shine your tires better than the professionals.

3. Chemical Guys Tire Kicker Extra Glossy Tire Shine

When you purchase a brand new car, you kick its tires. That’s what prospective car owners do. You most certainly kicked your car’s tires when you first picked it up.

Chemical Guys Tire Kicker Extra Glossy Tire Shine

The experts at Chemical Guys want you to feel that excited about your car again, which is why they developed the Tire Kicker Extra Glossy Tire Shine.

The Chemical Guys Tire Kicker Extra Glossy Tire Shine is a one of a kind spray designed to extend the life of your tires and keep them looking wet and black while it does it.

Chemical Guys Tire Kicker Extra Glossy Tire Shine is a water-based tire shine spray formulated with added gloss enhancers and ultraviolet sunlight blockers that extend the life of your tires and restores them to factory shine with one easy application.

Chemical Guys Tire Kicker Extra Glossy Tire Shine is designed to be sprayed on the surface of the tire where it clings to dirt, grime, and contaminants. After the drying process, all you need do is wipe away what’s left, revealing a wet, rich black tire surface.

2. Griot’s Garage Black Satin Tire Coating

Griot’s Garage broke the mold with their Black Satin Tire Coating. They broke the mold because Griot’s Garage Black Satin Tire Coating is the only tire shine that we know of that enables you to custom tailor the look of your tires.

Griot's Garage Black Satin Tire Coating

The advanced coating formula of Griot’s Garage Black Satin Tire Coating adds several layers of protection and durability to your tires. Griot’s Garage Black Satin Tire Coating clings to the surface of your tire and repels mud, rain, grime, snow, and dirt while also defending your tires from harmful ultraviolet rays.

Griot’s Garage Black Satin Tire Coating is also the only tire shine designed to be dry-to-the-touch, which means it goes on clean without streaking or running. Griot’s Garage Black Satin Tire Coating produces a subdued, matte aesthetic, which means a low-gloss satin finish.

Griot’s Garage Black Satin Tire Coating is the perfect tire shine for car owners pursuing a subdued, natural look.

1. Blue Magic Supreme Tire Shine

Blue Magic Supreme Tire Shine performs exceptionally well at what it claims, and that provides an instant high gloss that lasts longer than the rest.

Blue Magic Supreme Tire Shine

Blue Magic Supreme Tire Shine is easy to use and sprays on thick with little runoff. With such a thick application you would think that Blue Magic Supreme Tire Shine would take a long time to dry, but that’s not the case.

Blue Magic Tire Shine spray drys quickly and with zero streaking. The only thing Blue Magic Supreme Tire Shine leaves behind is a spotless, deep black finish.

Final Thoughts

Tire shine is the auto detailing product that most car owners know the least about and not because tire shine is particularly difficult, but because there are so many variations of the same product in the highly-saturated marketplace.

Tire shine is essential to maintaining a showroom new aesthetic, but it also plays a significant role in extending the life of your tires. All tires degrade with use and age, and most – even low mileage tires – need to be completely replaced every 5 to 6 years.

Besides the obvious dangers regular use presents to a tire, ultraviolet sunlight can fade the rich black color from your tires and leave them looking cracked, dry and withered.

The 10 best tire shine products presented here outpace the competition because they are easy to apply, effective, and restore a deep black to the surface of the tire. They keep tires looking wet longer than the rest of the tire shine products on the shelf, and they do it for a fair price.

Purchasing any one of the 10 best tire shine gels or sprays presented here is the first step to ensuring a long, healthy life for your tires. The second step is to apply tire shine to your wheels on a regular basis.

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Jacob Doyle
About Jacob Doyle

I am a Chicago-born writer with a thirst for everything automotive. I live by a simple rule; travel far, work hard and never stop writing. If I am not writing away, you can find me wrenching on my 1989 Ram Charger or wrecking something with wheels.

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