Best Tire Shine: Make Your Tires Look Brand New
Achieve a high-gloss shine with these top-notch products
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON November 14, 2021
Over time, your vehicle's tires start to fade and wear out as they are increasingly exposed to the elements and road debris. Tires withstand a lot of abuse and can sustain scuff marks and small cracks, which ages them and, frankly, makes your vehicle less attractive overall. Car shampoo doesn't do a great job of cleaning your tires. Instead, you need a product that's specially designed to spiff up your tires. The best tire shine brands not only clean your tires but also produce a nice, glossy look. If you enjoy detailing your car or truck, you don't want to neglect your tires if you want a polished result. When used as a regular part of your maintenance routine, tire shine not only makes your tires look better, it can also protect them from UV rays and other damage. Check out our list of the best tire shine products currently available.
Easily sprays on tires to give them a shiny finish. Product is made up of a polymer additive that will not damage the rubber.
- Comes with its own microfiber applicator
- Shine smells good so you don’t get that greasy workshop aroma
- Microfiber may begin to fall apart after several uses
- Satin finish it gives your tires may wash off with any amount of rain
Tire gels give you control over how much shine goes on the tires and allows you to pinpoint specific areas.
- Acts as a UV protection against the sun’s rays
- This prevents the color from fading and the tire from cracking
- Has a grape smell
- Gel-based tire shines are more time-consuming and require more manual labor
- Your hands will get dirty
Your tires will have a gloss finish to them once the tire shine is wiped away. Gives you more control over the finished look of your tires.
- Easy to apply and works great after just one coat
- You can choose how shiny you want your tires to be
- The spray bottle is flimsy and comes with only a wide setting, which means the spray will hit a larger majority of your tire, preventing an even coat
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
We took several factors into consideration when compiling our list of the best tire shine. First, we made sure to only include tire shines produced by well-known, respected brands with a history of creating high-quality car cleaning products. We also chose tire shines that create that coveted high-gloss look and were easy to use and provide relatively long-lasting results. We also spotlighted tire shines that are available in a wide range of prices to suit a variety of budgets. In addition, we checked user feedback to see how these products perform in real-world conditions. To learn more about how we evaluated these products, go here.
And just as a quick safety note, never ever put tire shine on the treads of your tires. Tires grip the road not through their sipes but through a chemical bond that is created between the tread’s rubber and the pavement. By applying tire shine to the tread, you interfere with that bond and can result in reduced or removed traction and you end up wrapped around a telephone pole. We repeat—do not apply to the tread of your tires.
Best Tire Shine Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on Tire Shines
Our pick for the best tire shine is the Car Guys Tire Shine Spray. It's easy to use, gives tires a restored look, and can be used on plastic and vinyl surfaces as well. It also provides UV protection and comes with an applicator pad for convenience. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel.
What to Consider When Buying a Tire Shine
There are several factors to consider before purchasing a tire shine. First you need to familiarize yourself with the types available and the pros and cons of each, so you can find the best kind to suit your needs. Next, you should look at the products' protective qualities, durability, ease of application, and other features in order to make an informed buying decision.
Types of Tire Shines
Spray On Shines
Many tire shining products come in a spray bottle for better application accuracy. These tire shines are easy to apply and allow the liquid to reach challenging areas such as in between the tire ridges. They are made up of oils and polymers mixed with water. These types of shines don’t wear down the tires, meaning they can be used more often without fear of damaging the tires in the long run. However, they do not last as long as gel-based options.
Gel shines come in a bottle and give you control over how much product you use and where exactly it goes. These shines are applied by rubbing the gel onto the rubber of the tire with a microfiber cloth. You could also do the opposite by applying the gel to the cloth first. These require more time and care to make sure the tire gets a nice finish.
Tire Shine Key Features
Tire shines come with an added feature and benefit for your tires: While giving them a shiny finish, they also protect against the sun’s UV rays. This prevents them from fading and showing signs of aging. If you live somewhere particularly sunny, we recommend investing in a tire shine with better UV protection.
Spray and gel shines can leave your tires with a number of different finishes. The results depend on how long the shine is left on the rubber and, in some cases, how much is put on. The longer it remains before being removed, the shinier finish the tires will get.
Tire shine can disappear pretty quickly after application if you don’t choose a product that offers durability. Some formulas last for just a few days; others can stick onto your tires for a week or longer. The more durable a tire shine product is, the more value you’ll get with every use. Look for products that can survive UV rays, car washes or car wash soaps, and combat dirt you’ll pick up while driving to find the most durable options.
Ease of Application
Tire shines come in a gel or spray form. Both are simple to apply, but gel-based shines may take more time and require more manual labor, while sprays are applied more quickly.
If making your tires super shiny isn’t the end goal, you can instead give them a matte or satin finish. This look will make the tires less sparkly and create a factory look instead.
Microfiber Applicator Pad
It is important to have something to rub in the tire shine. Microfiber applicator pads are used to rub in the spray or gel to get an even coat all around the tires. Many products may come with their own pad, but if they don’t, you will need to buy one in order to make sure you get the best finish possible.
Benefits of a Tire Shine
- Enhanced gloss and color. A tire shine can make your tires look brand new all over again with a single application. It’ll literally gloss over signs of wear like fading or tire scuffs and marks, leaving behind an enriched black color with more depth, a sleek shine, and high gloss. You can even opt to make some tire shines more matte by wiping them for a customized appearance.
- All-around protection. Tire shine adds a layer of cool shine, but it can also help protect your tires, keeping them cleaner every time you hit the open road. Tire shine can keep dirt, mud, and other kinds of debris from gunking up your tires and making them look worse for the wear.
- Prevents potential damage. Over time and exposure to the elements, your tires can become damaged (and unattractive) due to UV light, rain, and temperature changes. Tire shine can actually combat these types of damage and wear to protect your tires. It’ll even help prevent cracks from forming, offering lubrication and moisture.
Based out of California, Chemical Guys designs and creates high-quality waxes, coatings, polishes, and sealants for cars. The company offers videos and courses to teach people how to properly care for a car. One of its top products is the Chemical Guys TVD80816 Optical Select Tire Shine (Hybrid V07).
Car Guys is a brand devoted to properly detailing cars to make sure they last longer. It launched as a website in 2015 and evolved into a company later on as it started to design its own personal car products. Its best-rated tire shine is the Car Guys Tire Shine Spray.
Founded in 1901, Meguiar’s has been creating care products for more than just vehicles over its 118 years of business. It began as a furniture polishing laboratory by Frank Meguiar, Jr., then later began to develop its own products for automotive care. One of its most recommended products is the Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel.
Based in Huntington Beach, Calif., Mothers got its start by creating mag and aluminum polish. Today, the company produces over 100 products, including tire shine, leather conditioner, wheel cleaner, and foam wash. We recommend the Mothers 16915 Speed Tire Shine.
Chemist Joe Palcher invented Armor All Protectant in the early 1960s, but it wasn't patented until 1979. These days, the company produces a wide range of cleaning products, from protectants and disinfectants to cleaners and air fresheners. One of its top products is the Armor All Extreme Tire Shine.
Tire Shine Pricing
Many tire shine products are affordable and cost $5 or less. They are often small spray cans or bottles but are a good option if you want to try out a new tire shine and don’t want to spend a lot of money. Spend up to $10, and you'll find more options from more popular brand names. Packaging is often a little bigger, so the products will last longer. If you spend $10 to $20, you'll find tire shines that are more durable with more features, such as UV protection. Products that cost more than $20 are typically sold in larger containers or bulk packaging.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and tire shine products. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- Make sure your tires are clean and dry before applying a spray or gel. The shine solution can’t remove debris or dirt effectively, but the resulting shine can help keep dirt and other road debris from sticking to the tires.
- For sprays, it is recommended you hold the bottle closer to the tire when applying. That way, you will have more control over where you’re spraying and how much product hits your tires.
- Sling is what happens if a tire is not fully dried after applying tire shine to the rubber. If any water from the product is leftover, it will be flung off and stick to your car as soon as you start driving, thus removing the tire shine. To prevent this, make sure the tires are completely dry.
- Avoid applying tire shine when it’s hot out to get a nice even coating on the tires and give them a slick finish. You should also avoid applying shine products to tires that are hot or warm. Bring the car into the shade or wait until the sun has set to apply.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!
Q: Can all tire cleaners be applied to plastic and vinyl?
Some, but not all, tire shine products can be applied to other areas of your car. We recommend researching a shine before you start applying it to plastic or vinyl.
Q: How long does the shine last?
This is a difficult question to answer because each tire shine is different. The majority will keep your tires shining for up to a week, but check with the manufacturer to make sure.
Q: Will tire shines leave a stain on concrete?
Yes, however most stains will go away over time or can be washed away with a hose or power washer.
Q: How easy is it to remove accidental marks on wheels?
It’s simple to remove any marks you may get on the wheels. Just use a microfiber to wipe it off quickly.