As a professional, I am often asked what is the best tire dressing. Just like many other areas of life, finding a good tire dressing is an area that is filled with much bad information.
While a casual observation would lead most to oversimplify the decision process, most people grossly underestimate just how diverse the subject is! Not only are we buried with hundreds of choices of tire dressings, but we are also buried in varying opinions as to what the pros and cons of tire dressings are in the first place.
What We are Going to Learn:
Why Dress our Tires?
The reality is that while most tire dressings are labeled as both shine creators and tire protectors, most tires will have to be replaced due to worn tread before the damages of weather would ever cause you to replace your tires. So in my professional opinion, most people including myself are more concerned with the visual enhancement of a quality tire dressing than the tire dressing's ability to actually prevent premature aging.
Water-Base vs. Oil-Base Tire Dressings:
It used to be that oil/silicone based tire dressings that are promoted as log-lasting tire shine, were a major problem when used over long periods of time as they would collect dirt and dust causing most people to add layer upon layer of this shiny stuff. After a period of time, what was being created was a thick, greasy build-up of tire dressing and dirt.
With advances in chemical engineering, now you can have the best of both worlds:
With these advances in chemical engineering, now the major decision
in shopping a top rated tire dressing will comes down to other factors
based on whether you are a professional doing many cars, or a driveway
detailer working on your personal cars.
As a rule, you need to understand that there really is a difference between retail products and commercial/professional grade products. Regardless of the industry you are dealing with, professional grade tools and products have not been "dumbed-down" like traditional retail, over-the-counter products in order to protect product manufacturers from the liability of stupid people. (yes I said it. Some people are a special kind of stupid and manufacturers must protect their asses and dumb-down products to the lowest common denominator of society)
Marketing to an Ignorant Consumer
Since the world at large tends to grossly over-simplify everything, big business exploits our ignorance to their advantage of endlessly figuring out clever ways to separate you and your money.
So shopping for what you consider to be the best tire dressing will be a disappointing experience over the long term as the industry will package their tire dressing in ways that will lead you down the wrong path.
Darren's Tips: If you decide you are going to run out and purchase an off-the-shelf tire dressing and ignore my professional recommendations, then really any tire dressing will likely perform to your satisfaction. If you like the idea of getting a higher quality tire dressing with the added benefits of advanced chemical engineering, then follow my suggestions below.
CSI Nu Tyre Lotion Quart 62-208-Q
Darren's Tips: When it comes to dressing your tires and choosing what you would call the best tire dressing; everyone has a different opinion. Not just with which tire dressing is the best, but how they want their tires to look when dressed. Some prefer a hyper-shine, some prefer a more subtle shine, and some prefer zero-shine.
Many guys also become fixated on a tire dressing that will last repeated car washings. But these are reserved for the heavy solvent/silicone based dressing that tend to be very greasy and oily.
When I first discovered the difference between water resistant tire dressings and water based tire dressings it didn't make sense to me. I felt that a water based dressing would be so temporary and simply wash off with the first car washing. But the reality is that a quality water based dressing is like latex paint. A water base paint that is wet and goes on wet, but when it dries, it dries to the touch and is actually water "tight". Think of the Nu Tyre Lotion like latex paint for your ties. Except we are talking about a tire dressing not paint.
Adam's SiO2 Infused Tire Shine Plus 16oz - Achieve a Lustrous, Dark, Long Lasting Shine - Non-Greasy and No Sling Formulation Infused with SiO2 for Increased a Longer, Durable Shine (16 oz)
Optimum (OB2008Q) Opti-Bond Tire Gel - 32 oz.
Darren's Professional Tips:
I have been using the Nu Tyre Lotion (from above) for over a decade and continue to use it to this day. It is only recently become available to the public since it was originally designed to be body shop safe and meant for the true professional level.
This product is true waterborne technology so it is completely acceptable to dilute it down with water particularly if you want to use it as a wheel well dressing or an engine dressing.
You must also note that the tire you are applying any product you consider to be the best tire dressing will be dramatically affected by the composition of the rubber tire you are trying to dress.
This simply means that everywhere else in life; not all tires are created equal. So you can buy the best tire dressing in the world and apply it to the side wall of your tires that are made with inferior rubber composition, and the side wall fails to produce any shine. This is not because of the tire dressing, but because of the rubber composition of the tire sidewall.
The natural follow up question after picking he best tire dressing is choosing an applicator. I often find myself wondering how this industry I am part of has yet to come up with better solutions to some very basic needs.
Tire dressing applicators has been one of those. And like many other times in my professional life, I find I must go outside my own industry to find that winning combination. The grout sponge below is the best tire dressing applicator I have ever found and continue to use to this day; over 10 years later!
Kraft Tool PL600L General Purpose Large Turtle Back Cellulose Sponge Box
Darren's Professional Tips:
I can promise you, "You will not find a better applicator than the grout sponge if used as I show in the video or outlined here: