Getting the most out of your Tyre Dressing

Getting the most out of your Tyre Dressing

Waxit Beginner

Detailing your car just isn’t complete until that final step of dressing your tyres, as it’s just amazing what a difference something as basic a tyre dressing can do to amplify the over finished look of your entire car.


These days, many of us prefer a more matte to satin finish tyre dressing on our vehicles though some of us do still prefer a more glossy tyre dressing to really make those tyres stand out. But regardless of the type of finish your prefer on your tyres, the best possible finish always starts with a good thorough and intensive clean of your tyres to get them ready for your favourite tyre dressing.
Although you certainly can use a general wheel cleaner to clean both you’re car rims and tyres, in most cases you will find that either a dedicated tyre cleaner such as Shine Supply Wise Guy or a general car APC and degreaser such as CarPro Multi-X will actually tend to work a little better on tyres to really strip them back and free of all the grease, grime and browning compared to a general wheel/rim cleaner.

Also extremely important is the type of tyre brush you use. A tyre brush with short firm nylon bristles such as the Economax tyre brush is best for deep cleaning tyres compared to more general wheel brushes that may not be quite as effective. A great method to deep clean your car tyres is to use a dedicated wheel bucket with a grit guard in place to help separate the dirt coming of the wheels and tyres. It’s also important to use a more intensive car wash solution in your wheel bucket such as Nv Snow+ to give you that extra lubrication and cleaning ability needed to address tyres that do tend to get extremely dirty.

Start by spraying the tyre cleaner liberally over your tyre and give it a couple of minutes to start breaking down the surface grime.
Then using your tyre brush in your wheel bucket soap solution, begin scrubbing back and forth all around the tyre using a bit of elbow grease to really give it a good thorough clean. Also, insure that you constantly rinse out your tyre brush in your wheel bucket to remove the grime from the bristles as you continue from section to section around the tyre.

In many cases when the tyres haven’t been cleaning for some time, you may need to repeat this process to get them truly clean.

A good way to tell if the tyre is truly clean while you’re cleaning it, is to look at the wheel cleaner and soap solutions. If they are still a brownish colour, that’s usually an indication that there’s more grime to be removed, while if your solutions are a bright white colour, that’s usually an indication that you’ve removed the tyres grime successfully. But the real way to judge your work is when the tyre is completely dry, as only then can you really see if it’s completely clean and free from the surface grime. But it’s also important to note that certain tyres, in particular when the get old, may in fact show a browning surface colour that’s virtually impossible to remove.
When a car tyre is truly clean and free from surface grime as well as stripped of any older tyre dressings, only then will you be able to get the most out of any tyre dressing.

If you apply a tyre dressing over a dirty or poorly cleaned tyre or over older tyre dressings still remaining on the tyre, it will never look quite as good, it will never last quite as long and it will almost certainly lead to tyre dressing sling as you drive the car. Without the proper preparation, you’ll never be able to truely appreciate how well a quality tyre dressing looks and performs.

In most cases a quality tyre dressing such as Nv Onyx should be massaged into the tyre for a good minute or two with a tyre dressing applicator to really allow the dressing to achieve a good uniform finish and promote a good lasting bond to the tyre.
Once the dressing has been applied it’s best to give it a good hour to set, cure and self level before driving the vehicle. This is to avoid tyre dressing sling.

With many quality tyre dressings (though not all) you can actually influence the type of finish you wish to achieve, whether it be a matte, satin or glossier finish.

To achieve a truly matte OEM finish, after allowing the tyre dressing time to set, you can come back to it using a microfibre cloth to thoroughly wipe it down and knock back any shine to really matte down the finish look.
For a more typical satin tyre finish you can simply allow the tyre dressing to self level and set to achieve that, or just very lightly wipe it back with a cloth.
For a glossier finish, you should wait about half an hour or so and then apply a second coat, letting just dry on its own without wiping it at all, or even potentially a third coat to really boost the gloss levels.

Additionally, you can simply choose to select certain tyre dressing that have a very matte finish or certain tyre dressing that have extremely high gloss finishes based on what you personally prefer.

Tyre dressings are generally either solvent based or water based.
Solvent based tyre dressings which are more common in retail settings tend to be far more durable and glossy, but also tend to be extremely difficult to remove and can accelerate tyre browning and grime buildup on tyres over time.
Water based tyre dressing which are more common in professional settings tend to be less durable and have more matte to satin finishes, but also tend to be easily cleaned off, and tend to preserve the tyres better in the future as well as keep them looking cleaner.

Although solvent based tyre dressings last longer, the best overall practice for ensuring tyre walls age well, is to regularly clean the tyre side walls by removing old tyre dressings and reapplying a new dressing as part of a maintenance wash routine.
Under no circumstances should you apply a tyre dressing to a tyre’s road contact tread, tyres dressings should only be applied to the car tyre side walks, and tyres dressing should never be applied on any areas of a motorcycle tyres in any situation for safety reasons.