What Are The Best Tire Shine Products? (New 2020 Guide)
Your tires are arguably the most important part of your ride. They’re the single component which connects your vehicle to the road. Not only should they stay in excellent condition at all times, but you want them to look good, too.
Unfortunately, keeping your tires shiny and clean takes some effort. After all, tires face constant exposure to water, dirt, and other road debris.
A tire shine product is the best way to keep your tires looking great and performing at their best. It protects against sun damage, cracking and general wear. However, lots of options are available. Which tire shine should you choose?
If you’re looking for the best tire shine items, you’re in the right place! Check out our top five favorites for 2020 plus a complete guide to product use and application:
Quick Picks: Compare Our Choices For Best Tire Shine Product
- Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Tire Shine Product
- Application Method
- UV Blocking Ability
- Best Overall – TriNova Tire Shine Spray
- Best Cheap Option – Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Gel
- Best Overall Value – Armor All Extreme Tire Shine (2 Pack)
- Honorable Mention – Car Guys Premium Tire Shine Spray
- Also Consider – Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel
- Tire Shiner Products FAQ
- What are the Different Types of Tire Shine?
- What are the Different Application Methods?
- What are the Benefits of Tire Shine Brands?
- How Do You Use Tire Shine?
- Are Tire Shine Items Safe to Use?
- Final Thoughts
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Tire Shine Product
Here’s what to consider when shopping for tire shiners:
Tire shine items have two applications methods: spray or gel. Spray is the easiest and fastest method, but you’ll need to protect your vehicle from overspray. Gel products allow for more precise and controlled application, but they require a bit more work. (We detail the differences below.)
You want the product to last a while once applied. Generally, gel products last longer than the spray type. However, all of the best tire shine brands should last about two weeks during normal driving. Of course, you might need a stronger product if you drive in rainy, muddy, or off-road conditions.
UV Blocking Ability
The sun’s rays can seriously damage your tires. UV damage leads to fading, cracking, and premature aging. Choose a tire shine product with a UV-blocking formula. Not only will UV blockers improve your car’s appearance, but they also help increase the lifespan of your tires.
Some formulas, especially gel formulas, are somewhat greasy. A slight greasiness is fine, but you want to avoid any excessively greasy formulas. A sticky coat on your tires ends up attracting dust, dirt, and other debris when you drive.
Not all formulas create the same effect. Two options are available. Most shine products create a glossy finish. It’s commonly referred to as the “wet look.”
Other products create a more natural finish. It’s a drier, cleaner look similar to the appearance of brand new tires.
Choosing between the two is a matter of personal preference. The wet look is typically most popular among sports cars, while the natural look is popular for family vehicles.
“All-natural” tire shine products aren’t a thing, but there are definite differences in the toxicity of the ingredients between brands. Harsh chemicals aren’t just a hazard to your health; they can also damage your car’s paint. Make sure you understand what’s in the formula before using it.
Best Overall – TriNova Tire Shine Spray
Want a great black shine without spending a lot of time? TriNova’s tire spray applies quickly and requires no elbow grease to clean.
- Powerful, fast-acting formula
- Requires no wiping or scrubbing
- Prevents color fading and tire cracking
- Protects against salt and other hazards
- Dries unevenly
- The spray bottle is prone to leaking
and creates a shiny, black finish.
Our favorite feature is the easy application. Spray on one coat, and you’re good to go. You don’t need to wipe it away or wait for it to dry. (However, the included brush helps remove stubborn stains.)
We also like the formula’s protective abilities. Regular use prevents fading and yellowing. It’s a cost-effective way to extend the lifespan of your tires.
Plus, you can control the level of shine. Leave it on longer for a more intense shine. It also helps keep tires protected against road salt and water spots, making it a must-have spray for colder climates.
Finally, it’s long-lasting. You won’t need more than a few quick sprays every two weeks to give your tires a clean, black, and shiny finish.
Best Cheap Option – Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Gel
A rich, easy-to-apply gel which adds protection and gloss which lasts for several weeks.
- Affordable gel
- Creates a protective shield
- Reduces cracking and fading
- Easy application process
- Slow application process
Armor All’s Extreme Tire Shine gel is a solid choice suitable for any budget. It has an advanced formula which protects against cracking, fading, and other damage. It’s fortified with high molecular-weight silicone.
The gel is easy to apply with no overspray. It’s thick and rich so it’ll reach deep into the small spaces of your tires to create a protective shield. Regular use keeps your tires shiny with dark black coloring.
Results last for about two weeks. You only need to apply a small amount of gel to each tire. The 18-ounce spray bottle will last a long time, making this one of the most cost-effective tire gels on the market.
Best Overall Value – Armor All Extreme Tire Shine (2 Pack)
This two-pack of Armor All will last in your garage for a long time even with frequent use. Plus, it’s safe and effective for practically all types of tires.
- Classic Armor All formula
- Includes two 22-ounce bottles
- No-mess, no wipe application
- Can take a long time to dry
It’s a classic for a reason! Stock up on this two-pack of classic Armor All tire shine to protect all your vehicles without breaking the bank. Each spray conditions and protects your tires for weeks.
The 22-ounce bottles allow you to spray liberally with each use. Apply multiple sprays to remove dirt or just a single spray for a no-mess touch-up.
Our favorite feature is the extreme high gloss. Nothing beats Armor All for that mirror-like shine.
Honorable Mention – Car Guys Premium Tire Shine Spray
A quick-drying, no-mess formula which protects against UV rays, road debris, and fading.
- All-natural, non-toxic formula
- Cleans and protects rubber, vinyl, and plastic
- Fast, even application
- The mess-free alternative to gel
- Fluid is thin
- Application requires lots of product
- Not affiliated with the Car Talk radio program
The Car Guys Tire Shine Spray includes unique polymer additives for an ultra-deep, black shine. It extends the life of your tires by helping the rubber stay strong and free from cracks.
If you’re sick of dealing with dripping, clumping gel, you’ll love this spray’s no-mess formula. Spray it on your tires then wipe away with the included circular applicator. It works on rubber, vinyl, wheel wheels, trim, and plastic.
Plus, it consists of non-toxic ingredients. You don’t have to worry about accidentally breathing in the fumes or skin exposure. It’s an American-made product with a 100% money-back guarantee.
Also Consider – Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel
Choose the purple stuff if you’re looking for the longest-lasting shine.
- Rich gel
- Applies evenly
- Lasts for over a week
- Resists water
- Protects against UV damage
- Application takes longer than spray
- Requires several coats for best results
They don’t call it “endurance tire gel” for nothing! Meguiar’s endurance tire gel uses advanced polymers to keep your tires glossy and shiny for up to two weeks. It stays strong even after exposure to rain, car washes, and other water.
The rich endurance tire gel applies evenly, with no drips or runs. It allows you far more control during application than a spray.
Not only does the formula protect your tires from age-related damage but it helps them look great, too. Your tires stay protected from UV rays which prevents yellowing and cracking. They’ll look brand new after just an application or two.
Tire Shiner Products FAQ
What are the Different Types of Tire Shine?
Two types of formula are available:
- Solvent-based (silicone)
Water-based shiners use natural oils and polymers. They’re the easiest to apply. Solvent-based shiners can damage paint, but water-based formulas wipe off without an issue. You don’t have to worry about accidental overspray.
On the downside, water-based formulas aren’t as durable as the other types. You’ll need to reapply them more often. Additionally, they don’t have as much of a high gloss finish.
Solvent-based formulas are stronger. They create the most brilliant shine. Plus, they stay shiny even after exposure to heavy rain and snow.
However, solvent formulas can damage the paint. You’ll need to tape up your vehicle before spraying. The application requires more time and effort but results last longer.
What are the Different Application Methods?
Tire shine has two application methods:
- Spray or Aerosol
Spray formulas are easy to apply. They’re mess-free, too. However, they’re often hard to control. Overspray can wind up on your exterior paint if you’re not careful.
Tire gel allows for more precise application. You can work the formula directly into your tires to target dull spots.
On the downside, the gel gets messy and greasy on your hands. It also takes longer to apply (although you have to apply it less frequently than water-based gel.)
What are the Benefits of Tire Shine Brands?
Tire shine brands do more than improve the look of your tires. They also help protect and maintain your wheels in a variety of different ways. Here’s a closer look at the main benefits:
Restores Faded Color
Tires fade over time due to exposure to sunlight, water, debris, and other hazards of the road. Tire shine brands use a powerful blend of chemicals to remove built-up grime.
Removing the built-up dirt allows your tires to shine. Because the formula is designed specifically to work on rubber, it’s more effective than any general-purpose car cleaner. Regular use of tire shine helps restore your tires’ original appearance.
Protects Against Build-Up
Your tire picks up dirt and debris with every rotation. While most of these unwanted particles spin away, enough hang around to cause cracking and wear. Tire shine helps create a slick barrier of protection. Road debris can’t stick to your tires.
Consider the length of the protection. The shine should protect for at least two weeks without needing re-application. Of course, products provide the most protection immediately after application, but they shouldn’t fade completely within days.
Prevents Yellowing and Browning
Tires change color due to a variety of factors. If dirt and grime build-up for a long period, tires can appear brown. Also, tires can yellow due to age.
If your tires are brown, look for products with water-resistant polymers. They’ll help prevent dirt from sticking to your wheels.
If your tires are yellow, look for tires with rejuvenating capabilities. Adding nourishment to old tires helps increase the rubber’s flexibility while also restoring its factory black color.
Sunlight, both direct and reflected, turns tires brittle with time. Your tire shine product should contain UV protection. It’s especially important during the summer months or if you live in a year-round warm climate.
Restores Old Tires
Do your tires look like they’ve seen more than a few miles? Choose a product with a Matte or Satin finish. It won’t create a wet shine. Instead, it’ll help restore your tires to a natural, factory look.
Of course, even the best shine can only do so much. Here’s more information on determining when your car needs new tires.
How Do You Use Tire Shine?
Most formulas are easy to use. In many cases, you can spray and walk away – meaning, you don’t have to scrub or rinse your tires. However, that application method doesn’t usually achieve the best results. Here’s how to maximize the power of your tire shine product:
1. Park your car in the shade. If you’ve been driving recently, give your car a few minutes to cool down. Cool tires absorb the formula more thoroughly than hot ones.
2. Clean your wheels with water and soap. Use a soap made for cleaning tires. Check out our guide to the Best Car Wash Bucket Kits for gear. Cleaning your wheels beforehand ensures you’re not rubbing dirt and debris deeper into the tire.
Dry your tires thoroughly. A microfiber towel delivers the best results. It will dry your tires without scratching or leaving behind fibers. When drying, don’t forget to dry the rubber sidewalls.
3. Apply the tire shine. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Generally, the more product you apply, the glossier your tires will look.
Let the product sit on the tires for about 30 seconds. Now, at this point, you can walk away and not clean anything further. However, for best results, you’ll want to scrub.
Use a tire cleaning brush to scrub the tires and sidewalls. You shouldn’t have to scrub hard. The shiner will loosen debris which should slide off easily.
Use a microfiber towel to rub the product into the tire. Once the tire develops a black, high gloss finish, consider it saturated with product. Wipe away any excess.
4. Start by adding small amounts of tire shine. Using too much is the most common mistake people make. Apply a quarter-sized amount at first. Rub all existing formula into the tire before adding more.
Any excess product attracts dirt and grime. Plus, it’s a waste of money.
5. Work on one tire at a time. Otherwise, the product can dry. Don’t let it sit for more than a minute before rubbing it into the tire.
The key to a successful application is timing. You want the spray to sit on the tires long enough to loosen tire and soak into the rubber, but not too long that it dries before you can rub it into the tire’s exterior. Follow the specific instructions closely for best results as no two products need the same time to set.
Are Tire Shine Items Safe to Use?
Generally, they don’t pose many serious risks. However, keep in mind most products contain powerful chemicals. You’ll want to avoid contact.
When applying tire shine, wear eye protection and a breathing mask. Your biggest enemy is the wind. A sudden gust can whip a cloud of shine into your face. Even though you can probably control the spray nine times out of 10, always wear protective gear to save yourself from injury during that tenth time.
Also, don’t let the product touch your skin. Always wear gloves. While water-soluble products usually aren’t especially dangerous, take precautions anyway. They can cause irritation and dryness.
Looking for more information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Car Tires.
Don’t just grab the closest tire shine from the shelf. Not all formulas are the same. Instead, carefully consider the composition of the formula and if it’s suitable for your driving environment.
Regular use of tire shine improves the lifespan of your wheels plus keeps them protected against cracks, wear, and other damage. Plus, shine adds wetness, gloss finish, and beauty! A trusted bottle of tire shine helps you ride in style.