Car Care / Tech

Tire Care Secrets Part 2: Dressing

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You’ve all cleaned your tires after yesterday’s Tire Cleaning article, so let’s get to the fun stuff… tire dressings! The importance of dressings is two-fold; 1) protect the tires, and 2) make them look great. The definition of protection is pretty consistent, but we all have our own ideas of what finish looks good on a tire.

I’ll cover the three dressings we offer here at Griot’s Garage, very similar in the protection they provide, but quite different in finish.

Tire Rejuvenator – The Daily Driver Dressing

This dressing was designed with long-lasting protection in mind. It actually has a pigment dye property, so it lasts a long time and only needs to be applied every month or two. You won’t get much gloss or shine from this dressing, but the finish is nice with low maintenance. I love using this on my wife’s car and when detailing vehicles with large tires like trucks and SUV’s.

Vinyl & Rubber Dressing – A Concours Finish

This is my favorite tire dressing. It provides excellent UV protection, is water-based, and gives your tires a nice sheen similar to when they were brand new. While this dressing has the shortest life of any of our dressings (1-2 weeks) the finish is worth the extra application or two per month. Here’s a tip: Apply Tire Rejuvenator as a base coat whenever you wax your car. This keeps tires looking good in case the Vinyl & Rubber Dressing wears away.

Long Lasting Tire Dressing – Dressing for Your DUB’s

Long Lasting Tire Dressing was designed for customers wanting a high-gloss finish for their tires. This dressing usually lasts at least 2-3 weeks without needing to be reapplied. My favorite aspect of this dressing is the ability to apply it in layers to achieve a deep gloss. With a thin coat or two you’ll get a low-gloss finish, but you can add another couple coats for a high-gloss finish to match your 24″ chrome deep-dishes.

1) Weatherproof 2) Vinyl and Rubber 3) Long Lasting

1) Rejuvenator 2) Vinyl and Rubber 3) Long Lasting

The application process for each of these dressings is the same:

1. Apply product onto your applicator sponge. I prefer our Dressing Applicators for tires with grooves and raised lettering on the side walls, but the Blue Detail Sponges also do the trick.

2. Spread in thin, even coats across the tire, ensuring you get in and around all the grooves and lettering. Applying thin coats will give you a more even finish and help avoid the dressing flipping down the side of your car.

So, to sum up what we’ve learned about tire care… There are two main things I’ll stress; clean your tires often, and apply dressings in thin coats. Clean tires look better and last longer. Thin coats of dressings will give you an even finish and, most importantly, keep the dressing off the side of your car!

Learn More:
Rejuvenator | Vinyl & Rubber | Long Lasting

As always, if you have your own car care questions or tips, let me know in the comments!

1: Apply product to applicator

1: Apply product to applicator

2: Spread thin, even coats

2: Spread thin, even coats

7 Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    When dressing my tires, I like to use the Weatherproof Tire Dressing followed by the Long Lasting Tire Dressing. I find it adds a very clean, dark, and glossy look. 🙂

  2. I really like the long lasting tire dressing as it completes the detailing of my car. I would like to use it on my husband’s truck but he insists that tire dressings are bad for the tires. Is this true? I was under the impression that your tire products are all safe to use on tires and would not cause them to dull and crack. Need to order more so I will wait for your reply. Thanks

    • Great question Nicole! And a very fair concern from your husband as well.

      I believe your husband’s concern comes from a lot of what we call the “Wet & Sticky Shine” dressings out there. Generally the high-gloss you’ll get from tire dressings is due to a very high percentage of silicon in the dressing. And, your husband is correct in the fact that this can cause your tires to dull and crack over time (especially when built up and never cleaned out). However, that is not the case with every tire dressing, and if you still want that high-gloss finish there are things you can do to care for your tires to avoid the negative effects silicon can have on your tires. I’ll also point out, regularly driven cars generally need new tires every couple of years, which is well before a dressing would dry out or “rot” a tire.

      If you are really concerned about the silicon level in your tire dressings, I recommend using our Tire Rejuvenator or Vinyl & Rubber Dressing. I’ve been using these two dressings on my cars for years (Rejuvenator 3-4 times per year and V&R more regularly) and have never had any issues with dull or cracking tires. I also really like the more subtle, satin finish of them.

      When developing Long-Lasting Tire Dressing we were trying to create the high-gloss dressing our customers were asking for, so it does contain silicon. However, I would have to assume it isn’t as much as most since it actually stays on the tires without flipping down the side of your car. 🙂 If you are using LLTD, I recommend cleaning your tires regularly with Rubber Prep. This will strip away any silicon build up that is in the tire, and long-term build up is what can really cause the dullness and cracking. We’ve done quite a bit of long-term testing of LLTD and have never experienced any issues that would concern us about the health of the tires.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.

      • Bob Giuntoli says:

        I am looking for a good cleaner and dressing for WIDE WHITEWALL TIRES as I have three classic cars with them. Any suggestions

        • Bob, our Rubber Cleaner is great for cleaning the whitewalls, but you’ll want to make sure to agitate it with the Yellow Scrubbing Pads. This combo will be aggressive enough to effectively clean the whitewalls without being too aggressive and damage them.

          As for dressings, I’d definitely go with the Vinyl & Rubber Dressing. It will enhance any black rubber and the whitewalls. Long-Lasting Tire Dressing would work, but I think V&R will be better for this application. Do not use the Tire Rejuvenator here as it has a black die in it and will stain the whitewalls permanently.

  3. How long does it take the Long Lasting Tire Dressing to dry? I understand that it’s formulated not “sling” onto the car when driving but I’m assuming that it will need to dry before driving. To avoiod any dressing “sling” how long should I wait before driving after aplying it?

    • An exact time is tough to say since factors such as temperature, number of coats applied, etc. can all adjust it a bit. With one coat on a reasonably warm day, I’d say as quickly as 15 minutes. If you do 2-3 coats and it’s cool out, you may want to give it an hour (to be safe). I’d say in most cases if you apply it, clean up and put away your detailing gear, and aren’t rushing out the door for a drive you’ll be fine.

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