Tyre dressings are seen as the final touch to most detailers washing process. Choosing a tyre dressing and then applying it just sets off all the hard work that’s been undertaken on other parts of the car, which is why it’s been my job to find the best wet look tyre dressing on the market.
Tyre dressing comes in all shapes and sizes. There are tyre dressings that deliver a matte or satin finish, which appeal to some, but the old-school wet look is still one of my favourites and go-to options when detailing my car.
There’s actually something about tyre dressings that go beyond simple aesthetics. What many car owners don’t know is tyre dressings will actually prevent tyre blooming.
Whilst tyre blooming may sound like a good thing, it can actually make the tyres (and the entire vehicle in general) look old, faded, or worn out, hence the importance of considering the best wet look tyre dressings.
Best Wet Look Tyre Dressings – Top 3
Below I have included a list of what I think are the best wet look tyre dressings on the market right now:
- Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tyre Gel
- CarPro PERL Plastic, Engine, Rubber, Leather Treatment
- Adam’s Tire Shine
- Advanced, long-lasting formula endures even through washing and rain
- Rich tire gel eliminates overspray, runs, and drips providing an even and consistent high gloss shine
- Protects the tires against UV damage and browning
Without a doubt, Meguiar’s have designed one of the best in the Endurance High Gloss Tyre Gel. This product comes in thicker gel form, which makes it incredibly effortless to apply. It also leaves a striking high-gloss finish that can last a really long time.
How long? The silica-based formula of this product enables it to last for a full month in good weather. Give it a full week if you constantly drive in heavy rain. If you happen to prefer a tyre dressing that requires infrequent applications, nothing beats the glossy shine and staying power of the Meguiar’s Endurance Tyre Gel.
But there’s also one thing that makes this tyre dressing the best of the best: the price. As if being the best and most durable is not enough, it also happens the Meguiar’s Endurance Tyre Gel won’t leave a huge dent in your budget.
This tyre dressing is also highly versatile. You can apply multiple coats if you want the tyres to shine like a diamond. If you wish a more subdued finish, simply allow the tyre gel to cling for ten minutes and wipe off the excess using a microfiber towel. This final step will also prevent slinging the gel on the rocker panels in your car.
When it comes to the best look tyre dressings, it is hard to find a better product than the Meguiar’s Endurance High Gloss Tyre Gel. It has excellent hydrophobic properties and can even repel mud on the tyres!
The CarPro PERL is not strictly a tyre dressing. It is formulated to protect, restore, and beautify plastic, rubber, vinyl, and leather surfaces on both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Unlike the previous tyre dressings in this list, the CarPro PERL combines a water-based formula with the UV protection of silicon-dioxide.
This does mean that the CarPro PERL is not as glossy as the Adam’s or the Meguiar’s. It leaves behind a slightly glossy and satin-like finish without the greasy appearance of lesser-known tyre dressings.
However, the CarPro PERL is the most expensive tyre dressing in this list. But unlike others, this product can be used on a multitude of surfaces. It is a concentrated formula that needs to be diluted in water when used on external parts of the vehicle. If you want to use this product on the tyres, CarPro recommends using the product full strength.
Water-based tyre dressings are less prone to slinging, and the CarPro PERL is no exemption. While it may not leave an intense glossy shine, it doesn’t sling as much and is the most versatile of the three, offering up great value.
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The Adam’s Tire Shine is a silicon-based formula that offers lasting protection against tyre blooming. This product is also formulated to bring a deep and glossy shine to freshly cleaned tyres.
I have to admit this product doesn’t last as long as the Meguiar’s tyre gel, but not by much. What I really like about this tyre dressing is the finish. Where the Meguiar’s has a tendency to look thick and sticky (especially after applying multiple coats), the Adam’s Tire Shine leaves a nice and even glossy sheen after curing.
This also means it has a lesser tendency of slinging the tyre dressing on the paint. However, this product will cost more than the Meguiar’s tyre gel. I also think the sprayer is a bit wonky and has a tendency to break if you’re not gentle with the spray bottle.
Nitpicking aside, the Adam’s Tire Shine comes in at a close second place to the Meguiar’s Endurance Tyre Gel in terms of shine, performance, and longevity.
How to Apply Tyre Dressing
The trick is to only apply tyre dressing to freshly-cleaned and dry tyres. Here are the easy steps on how to apply tyre dressing.
Step 1: Wash the tyres first
Only apply tyre dressing after washing the wheels and tyres (or the entire vehicle, for that matter). You can use a separate all-purpose degreaser for this step.
What I usually do is mix a teaspoon of ordinary dish soap to a gallon of water. This is a good no-cost cleaner that will effectively rid the tyres of mud, dirt, and grime.
Rinse the tyres with clean water using a pressure jet or garden hose, helping remove loose mud and dirt. Wash the tyres by dipping a sponge to the cleaning solution and wipe the face of the tyres gently to remove all traces of dirt and contaminants.
I also don’t mind using a medium-soft cleaning brush for this step.
I want to point out that regular washing and cleaning of the tyres is enough to avert the formation of tyre blooming. Always wash the wheels and tyres every time you plan on washing the entire vehicle.
Step 2: Thoroughly rinse the tyres
Rinse the tyres with clean water. Make sure to remove all traces of soap or degreaser by giving each tyre a thorough rinse.
Step 3: Dry with a microfiber towel
Wipe the tyres dry using a microfiber towel. While it’s true you can apply tyre dressing to a damp surface, it is better and more economical to wait for the surface to dry before thinking about applying tyre dressing.
Step 4: Apply the tyre dressing
Apply tyre dressing. Grab a clean applicator sponge, pour a small amount of tyre dressing, and wipe the saturated sponge all over the tyre. In most cases, a single light coat of tyre dressing is enough to bring back the shiny and black finish of the rubber.
But if you prefer a glossier and more intense shine, allow the first coat to cure for about five minutes before applying a second and third coat.
Want a more natural matte finish? After applying the first coat of tyre dressing, grab a separate microfiber towel and wipe off the excess until you achieve the desired finish.
Step 5: Don’t drive the vehicle until cured! I’m looking at you 😉
At this point, it is better to avoid driving the vehicle until the tyre dressing is fully cured. I sometimes use a hair dryer (which my wife hates) or a leaf blower to speed up the curing/drying process in cold weather. Allowing the dressing to dry is the easiest step in preventing sling.
What is tyre blooming?
It’s far from the colourful bloom of flowers in the spring. Without sounding like a complicated lab rat, tyre blooming is caused by antiozonant. It is an organic compound added to various plastic and rubber-based materials. Antiozonant is utilised to prevent early deterioration of the surface. It also prevents fading, cracking, and severe oxidation when the material is exposed to high heat or harmful UV rays.
Tyre blooming can also be caused by the lubricating chemicals that are utilized in the manufacturing process. The chemicals are applied to the inside of the tyre mould. This prevents the tyres from sticking to the mould. It is basically Teflon for tyres if you catch my drift.
So, all of this sounds well and good, right? Wrong. As the antiozonant is drawn to the surface of the tyres, the compound is repeatedly exposed to moisture and air. As the compound oxidizes, it tends to leave an ugly and brown-coloured residue.
The obvious presence of those detestable brownish residues on the face of the tyres is referred to as tyre blooming.
Do tyre dressings cause tyre blooming?
Not specifically, no. Like I previously mentioned earlier, there are two main types of tyre dressings in the market, and each of them has specific pros and cons.
- Water-based tyre dressing. This type is easier to apply and remove. Water-based tyre dressings also have a lesser chance of slinging on the paint as you drive. However, most water-based tyre dressings are not as shiny or as glossy as you expect them to be. These products tend to have a matte or satin finish. It is also worth noting that water-based tyre dressings tend to fade faster and will not last as long on the tyres.
- A solvent or silica-based tyre dressing. This the desired type of tyre dressing if you are looking for a longer-lasting wet look shine. Silica or solvent-based products are also better in terms of water-beading protection. The only problem with this type of tyre dressing is the increased tendency to sling on the paint as the tyre rotates.
You may have heard that silicon-based tyre products will inevitably cause tyre blooming. The short answer is NO! The painful truth is tyre blooming can still manifest itself whether using water or solvent-based tyre dressings.
How can I prevent tyre blooming?
Easy. Periodic cleaning and application of tyre dressing is the easiest way to prevent tyre blooming. Removing small traces of oxidation will constantly reveal a black surface (hence the reason why tyre dressings are also called tyre black in some markets). Applying a light coat of tyre dressing will serve to protect and nourish the surface of the tyre, hence preventing further oxidation.