The Best Way to Get a High-Gloss Tire Shine

by Chuck Brown
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Tire close up image by Dmitry Rukhlenko from

Your car is just not clean unless your tires and wheels are, too. Often tires go unwashed because they are the most difficult to get clean while avoiding the practically unavoidable knuckle cuts and scrapes. Fender wells, especially if you have big tires, are where the aforementioned cuts, scrapes and bruises normally happen. Get that high-gloss tire shine that no car is completely clean without.

Step 1

Select your tire cleaning brush carefully. The bristles must be stiff enough to remove the road dirt and grime that has been picked up while driving. Never buy a soft-bristle brush for tire cleaning. Buy a brush with a longer handle. Longer handles keep your hands a safe distance from the exterior trim that often surrounds the tire well. They also keep your hands out of the inside of the tire well where the bolts and screws usually cut your hands.

Step 2

After washing your vehicle’s body out of direct sun light, spray water directly onto the tire allowing the hose pressure to knock off any caked mud or other excess debris the tire has accumulated. While the tire is thoroughly wet, spray on a quality tire cleaner. Allow the tire cleaner to set on the dirty tire briefly. When you see the dirt and oil start to come loose, use your long handle stiff brush to vigorously scrub the tire and wheel. Rinse off the tire soap and dirt without letting any of the surface dry. Letting the surface of the tire dry will cause it to streak, and you will have to re-wash it.

Step 3

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Drive your vehicle forward just enough to roll the tires about a half turn, exposing the partially missed bottom of the tires you just washed. Repeat Step 2 to get the entire circumference of the tire clean. A high gloss tire shine begins with the tires and wheels being cleaned completely.

Step 4

Allow the tires to dry. Although there are spray glosses that can be applied to wet tires, it is recommended to let tires dry before applying the tire shine. Drive the vehicle down the street for a short drive to blow out any excess water that may have settled in the wheels and their covers. Away from direct sun light, let the tires to cool and finish drying completely.

Step 5

Out of direct sunlight, apply the tire shine to the clean, dry tire by following the directions on the back of the can of tire gloss. Cover the tire evenly and completely, but do not apply too much. Usually 1 or 2 slow, even passes over the tire are enough. Keep a clean, dry cloth in hand while you spray the tires. Use it to immediately wipe the tire shine over spray off the wheel covers. Do not wipe the tires off, but let the tire shine dry on the tire. This is what will give the tire its sheen.

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