Car Care / Tech

Picking The Right Tire Care Products

Upgrading wheels and tires can impact both the look and the performance of your ride. Wheels tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to attention getting so they tend to get the most detailing… but tires matter too. They complete the look and we have six dressings and two cleaners dedicated to enhancing the look and longevity of tires.

Our dressings beautify vinyl, rubber, and plastic with a finishing sheen, create a darker, uniform color thanks to their silicone formulation, and often contain protectants to ward off UV damage. They should always be applied to dry tires and most perform better when pre-prepped with one of our rubber cleaners. We introduced our first dressing, Vinyl & Rubber Dressing, more than 20 years ago and have since added a number of other dressings that differ in their gloss factor, level of protection, and formulation… spray, gel, or aerosol.

With so many choices picking the right one can be tough. We’ll be providing a quick description of each of the dressings in the Griot’s Garage car care lineup, outline their capabilities, and tell you how they differ from one another. We’re also including a handy chart to help you compare these great products at a glance. As always, if you have any questions or helpful hints of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

Vinyl & Rubber Dressing

This is our best-selling all-purpose protectant. I love this dressing for all surfaces because it produces an even, non-greasy, satin sheen and the added UV protection is icing on the cake. Its versatility makes Vinyl & Rubber Dressing great for tires, interior plastics, exterior trim, door seals, and more. Vinyl & Rubber Dressing is the only dressing in our lineup that also has a light cleaning capability which makes it even more useful. It can be applied via a Blue Detail Sponge or a Microfiber Cleaning Pad without prepping with a rubber cleaner.

Long-Lasting Tire Dressing

I use this dressing on my tires and exterior plastic trim during the rainy season. Our use of a thick polymer contributes to the dressing’s strong water repellency and its long-lasting nature. It should be noted that this Long-Lasting Tire Dressing provides no UV protection. You can adjust the gloss of this product by applying it, then wiping off some of the excess to lower the sheen, or applying multiple thin coats to build the gloss and increase the longevity of the dressing.

Black Shine High Gloss Tire Spray

This product is all about being the boss of your gloss. For the highest gloss, spray the product directly onto the tire, let it dwell on your tire for 30 seconds, then even out the high spots with a clean foam applicator. For a more satin look, spray directly onto a foam applicator like our Blue Detail Sponge and spread evenly until desired sheen is achieved. Allow the dressing to set-up for 20 minutes before driving. Black Shine High Gloss Tire Spray will stand up to rain, road grime, car washes, and the sun’s harmful rays, providing long-lasting protection.

Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel

The difference between Black Shine High Gloss Tire Spray and the gel version is application method. Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel goes on smooth, and even with a Target Tire Applicator or Blue Detailing Sponge with no messy overspray. The thickness of the gel adds a durable high-gloss shine to your tires while also providing superior water beading and robust UV protection, making Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel a great year-round, all-season choice.

Black Shine Tire & Trim Coating

For those who prefer aerosol spray can application, this premium dressing delivers best in class coverage and lays down smooth for a consistent finish and maximum gloss all the way around the tire. Our water-resistant formula provides extended durability against rain and multiple car washes, while also fending off road grime. Ideal for use on tires, trim, and wheel wells, it should be noted that Black Shine Tire & Trim Coating provides no UV protection. For full gloss spray Black Shine Tire & Trim Coating onto tires, allow product to stand and dry for 20 minutes before driving. For a less glossy look, spray Black Shine Tire & Trim Coating onto the tire, allow product to penetrate for 20 seconds, then wipe the tire down with a microfiber towel.

Black Satin Tire Coating

This product delivers the convenience of aerosol delivery found in Black Shine Tire & Trim Coating but dials back the gloss. It’s the only aerosol tire dressing on the market to produce a satin finish. Black Satin Tire Coating also quickly dries to the touch for mess-free application, resists slinging, and provides extended durability against rain, but provides no UV protect. It even smells good. The beauty of this product is how it allows you to dial in a realistic like-new look for your tires or add a higher luster by applying additional coats.

Rubber Cleaner/Rubber Prep

While Vinyl & Rubber Dressing has a cleaning capability, all dressings work best when preceded by a deep clean. We have two products that fit the bill, Rubber Cleaner and Rubber Prep. Both rid the tire sidewall of any and all dressing residue and silicone buildup to create a truly clean slate. Rubber Cleaner is a spray-on product that requires a quick mist and a gentle scrub. Rubber Prep is an easy apply-and-wipe proposition; no scrubbing necessary! It’s odorless and features ultra-low VOCs. The big difference is the main active ingredient… Rubber Prep features a solvent that does a better job stripping away the existing dressing basecoat than the surfactant-based Rubber Cleaner.

The key to happiness is getting what you want. Our tire care offerings allow you to get the amount of gloss you want, the application method you prefer, and a combination of durability and protection that you desire.



  1. What about cleaning raised white letters on tires?

  2. Michael Hebert says:

    Comet with a brush and water.

  3. Marc Henry says:

    Anything special for white walls? Something without chlorine.

    • Marc – Rubber Cleaner is the way to go on whitewalls. It is more gentle than Prep and can be used as a maintenance cleaner.

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