Top 8 Best Tire Shine Products
By | Last updated: February 24, 2021
best tire shines

Hands up if your spouse has ever stood in the with a perplexed look as you applied tire shine to the ride-on lawnmower. Anyone? No? Well, I guess it’s just me and my fanaticism for clean machinery, then.

In any case, there’s plenty of room in your arsenal of car care products for a bottle of tire shine. It’s a great topper to an afternoon detailing session, like a cherry on top of a sundae, or perfect for a quick spritz to jazz things up when the rest of your ride is looking a bit unkempt. It’s the equivalent to wearing a nice shiny pair of shoes.

Even the lawn tractor can appreciate that.

 

1. Editor's Choice: Meguiar's Ultimate Insane Shine Tire Coating

Kicking things off is this well-known brand that hawks car cleaning products of all kinds. They have more than one tire shine offering, with this one being marketed as providing an ‘insane shine’ and is best pronounced with the vigor of the announcer at a monster truck rally.

So-called advanced resin technology is said to provide the long-lasting finish while a secret brew of anti-odorants offers protection against cracking and fading. It’s a one-step program, with users simply spraying the stuff onto the tire sidewall and walking away.

Pros/Great reviews, trusted name, easy application
Cons/Frequently on sale so watch the pricing
Bottom Line/A reliable choice

2. Chemical Guys Extra Glossy Tire Shine

Going beyond the just-for-tires playbook, this product from Chemical Guys is marketed as a tire shine but is also marketed to work on vinyl, rubber, and plastic car parts. In other words, it should rejuvenate that turned-to-grey plastic cladding on your knackered Chevrolet Avalanche.

This stuff is a spray and said to leave that ‘wet’ look after it is correctly applied. In a fit of comedy, the ad states this stuff “won’t rub off on your shoes whenever kicking a tire.” No mention is made about lighting fires, so Maverick is outta luck (again). Chemical Guys says this dressing helps prevent future fading from sunlight.

Pros/Highly regarded, easy-to-use
Cons/Reports of a cheap spray nozzle
Bottom Line/Well-known for a reason

3. STP 'Son of a Gun' One Step Tire Care

Your author clicked on this product for one reason and one reason only: nostalgia. Back in the early ’90s when cable television showed up in our part of rural Canada, it brought the wonderment of NASCAR to this young gearhead. The rest is history.

It turns out that the benefits of this product go beyond the strangely reassuring image of The King and the throwback ‘Son of a Gun’ marketing. Reviews are favorable, centering on the handiness of its spray-and-walkaway application and its propensity to protect surfaces against future discolorations.

Pros/Easy to use, there's a picture of Richard Petty on it
Cons/A bit expensive
Bottom Line/Retro rewind to the '90s

4. TriNova Tire Shine

If you’re the type to shine your car’s tire sidewalls every other day or have a propensity to spruce up vehicles belonging to your buddies when they pop over for a visit, it might not be a bad idea to save a few shillings and pick up an entire gallon of the stuff.

TriNova’s calls its tire shine spray one of the easiest ways to give your tires a dark and shiny look. They promise that with just a single coating, your car’s tires will be guarded against fading, cracking, and yellowing. This is an industrial-sized jug of commercial-grade product.

Pros/Robust stuff and plenty of it
Cons/Bring yer own spray bottle
Bottom Line/This stuff will last awhile

5. Carfidant Ultimate Tire Shine Spray

Barring a cringe-inducing brand name – the word ‘carfindant’ is surely the king of all car-based dad jokes – this tire shine seems to have a pretty devoted fan base. It promotes itself as having a unique nano-polymer formula unlike all other tire shine products.

According to the seller, just a few sprays and a quick wipe with our included applicator will give your tire will look that slick look s if your vehicle just rolled off the showroom floor. It also insists that its ingredients will protect tires against dry rot and road grime.

Pros/Purported advanced formula, includes an applicator
Cons/That branding
Bottom Line/An interesting new challenger emerges

6. Black Magic BM23 Tire Wet (Pack of 4)

If you’re going to buy tire shine today, there’s a solid chance you’re going to buy more of it in the future. After all, one doesn’t (generally) wake up one morning and stop caring about their car’s appearance after a lifetime of shining the thing into the next dimension.

Here’s a 4-pack of tire shine – marketed as Tire Wet – from the folks at Black Magic. This company has a robust presence on Amazon, lending credence to their advertisements and a dollop of security that one’s money just won’t vanish into the ether after hitting the ‘Buy Now’ button. As for the product, reviews are good and the price is right.

Pros/Very reasonable cost for a quartet of bottles
Cons/Your moron buddies might pilfer some
Bottom Line/You'll use it all - eventually

7. Armor All Extreme Tire Shine

Surely this black-and-yellow company is one of the most recognized auto care brands in its particular market. After all, it pops up with alarming regularity in gas stations, big-box superstores, and Amazon alike. Here, at least, it’s well-priced with a pair of bottles being offered for a decent price.

Armor All insists their Extreme Tire Shine has extra gloss enhancers to produce an intense, mirror-like shine. It is said this stuff also conditions, nourishes, and preserves the rich black look of a tire. Real-world customers say it’s easy to apply and doesn’t leave any residue.

Pros/You know this brand inside out, great price
Cons/Someone's bound to accuse you of following the herd
Bottom Line/Ignore them and pick up a two-pack

8. Griot's Garage Black Shine Tire Gel

A tire gel differs from the other products on this list because it needs to be wiped or scrubbed on instead of just dispensed from a bottle or can. The company makes a point, saying this approach eliminates messy overspray and gives the car owner better control of the tire’s gloss level.

While the latter may seem like a throwaway marketing shtick, they have a good point. With this product, one can make their tires display anything from a sedate satin finish to a glossy show shine. Water-resistant formula beads water so your whole car looks killer after a quick spray with the hose.

Pros/Professional results
Cons/Harder to apply than a simple spray
Bottom Line/Grab a foam applicator and get cracking

Tire Shine FAQs

That’s a lot of different products.

You’re not wrong. Some tire shine shows up for duty as a thin spray, some as a thick foam, and some as a drippy gel. Make sure to read the instructions before application, since a few of the recommendations on this list are of the walkaway variety while others need more attention.

Can I use this stuff 5 minutes before heading out on a hot date?

Yeah, right – as if any of the readers or authors on this site have hot dates lined up.

No, really.

Ok, ok. Several of the products shown here do need some amount of dry time, requiring the tire shine to sit and do its job before hitting the road. Some dry more quickly than others. A few, notably the gels, won’t do your paint any favors; thanks to the scientific wonder called centrifugal force, the heavier gel is likely to flick off the tire once you start driving if not given the appropriate amount of time to set.


From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: George Dolgikh / Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

30 Comments on “Rise ‘n Shine: Best Tire Shines...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I have some Black Magic Tire Wet, it’s ok and inexpensive

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    In 40 years of driving, I think I’ve used tire shine once.

    Then again, I hardly ever do more than spray off my cars with a hose – but especially in the winter.

    As I always say about my lawn: I’m not running a golf course.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    Stoner More Shine Tire Finish. Nice matte black finish and none of that glossy crap
    most tire finishes provide.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    There are six vehicles in my driveway and all have new tires within the past year. I have now adopted the ‘tire shine’ step with every washing. I don’t like them ‘super shiny’ – currently using the two-buck green can ‘foaming’ Turtle Wax version. Bonus: If you apply it right, they look like whitewalls for one glorious moment.

    I like the lawn tractor idea – will adopt that. And speaking of car-mower crossover, it turns out you’re allowed to use synthetic oil in your power equipment (although I would stick with dino-juice for the first year if your stuff is new).

    Car-based dad joke:
    “How many doors does a chicken coop have?”
    “Only two – if it had four, it would be a chicken sedan.”

  • avatar
    bobbysirhan

    I have probably only used one of these products once, when I was a teenager and I was told for the first of many times that they promote dry rot and sidewall cracking. I have seen sheened tires that were dry rotted, but I’ve also seen four year old Michelin tires that nobody did anything weird to that were dry rotted and cracked. Does anyone know for sure if there is a correlation between tire-sheen and dry rot?

    • 0 avatar
      S197GT

      Found a post on Meguiar’s forums which cited a no longer available FAQ on Meguiar’s website:

      “The science behind the modern rubber formulas used by major tire manufactures today is both complex and interesting. The rubber itself contains and ingredient called Antiozonant.

      Antiozonant is an ingredient that helps to prevent the exterior rubber surface from cracking, checking, oxidizing, and deteriorating. The rubber is designed in such a way as to constantly work its way to the outside of the tire and as such, continually replenish the exterior surface with fresh antiozonant.

      After the antiozonant works its way to the outside of the tire and is exposed to the ozone in the air, it turns brown. The technical term for this effect is blooming.

      This is why you see a brown film on the surface your tires. You can wash your tires with soap or an all-purpose cleaner and remove this film, but in a few weeks, it’s back. That’s because the antiozonant continually works its way to the outside of the tires every time you drive your car.

      Thus before applying a dressing you really need to do a thorough job of cleaning the outer surface of the tire to remove any spent antiozonants as well as any previously applied dressing and this will prepare the rubber to accept a fresh application of tire dressing.

      Meguiar’s Tire Dressing Options
      To maintain your tires and keep them looking sharp with a deep, dark black color, Meguiar’s offers six unique tire dressings that treat the rubber with Meguiar’s own special conditioning agents as well as patented antiozonants that replenish your tires’ original antiozonants and keep your tires looking blacker longer than generic tire dressings and protectants.

      Special polymers actually penetrate and cure to the surface to form a long lasting barrier-film that protects your tires from inclement weather and exposure to corrosive elements.

  • avatar
    namstrap

    My favourite has always been 303. It’s not greasy and has ultraviolet protection. I spray it on, then take the car to the car wash. Afterwards, the tires are like-new black, and not shiny, just the way I like them.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Tires are supposed to be matte and grippy, not shiny and slick.
    These products are a waste of time and money.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Amen – brsnd new tires don’t shine like the paint does, and seeing a car on a used car lot with shiny tires makes me suspicious of the whole car condition – what is the white belt-wearing salesman hiding about this car that they need to dazzle me with the tires. Further more, much of the tire ‘dressing’comes off after the next commercial car washing, and onto my pants if I get too close to my car after applying this junk.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    I think that this is silly.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I will use tire shine on my riding lawn mower tires after I get white sidewalls to attach to the tires and a sheepskin seat cover.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Lawn mowers and garden tractors were my first foray into mechanized devices after I moved on from bicycles so I totally get the spiffy tractor thing. The Armor-All product made me think of another from the late 80s or so. Blue Coral made a product called “Blue Poly” – in essence it was like Armor All, but with one significant difference. It did wash away like AA did (and still does). I used it for exterior applications and it was great. But it disappeared from the shelves. I asked the local car place as to why he no longer had it. Simple – people came in and asked for AA because of the saturation advertising. It certainly explains why Bose still exists…

  • avatar
    ATLOffroad

    I really don’t like the look of greasy tire shines. I’ve only used tire shine to spray inside the wheel wells before spending the day in mud holes. Cleanup afterward is quite a bit easier. That said I’ve always used Armor All just because it’s cheap and at WalMart.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I remember the dedicated white wall cleaners. You would spray it on and then take a brush to clean the white wall back to a nice gleaming white. Then you’d apply Armour-All.

    Sigh, they really need to bring back the white wall tire! Today’s CUVs and SUVs would be a perfect vehicles for them.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Do a google image search for “Lightning McQueen whitewalls” (his ‘retro’ phase) – have kicked around doing that ‘look’ on my mower’s wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Some other websites yesterday featured a Nissan Pao for sale wearing diminutive simple steel wheels and dish covers with Bridgestone “Sneaker” whitewall tires (JDM only?). The tires totally completed the look of the car.

  • avatar
    here4aSammich

    Armor All tire foam for FTW. Nut only in the street, not in the driveway. That stuff leaves marks on my asphalt sealer.

    Not gonna lie, I’ve thought about using it, but never pulled the trigger because of my street rule. But my 15 y/o rider looks brand new because it gets rinsed off and toweled dry before I put it away in the garage.

    BTW good old Westley’s Blech-Wite is fantastic for cleaning grass stains off the wheels on your push mower.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    TTAC has Officially jumped the shark.

  • avatar

    Related to S197GT’s comment: Back when the ‘tire shine’ products were new I read an article which stated that those products actually accelerate the loss of the protective chemical that already exists in the tire. In other words, your tires will get to the point where the manufacturers antiozonant is depleted to the point where you ‘must’ use aftermarket products to prevent the cracking of the rubber. The article cited ‘evidence’ of this in comparing a tires exterior condition that had been ‘shined’ to the interior (under car) condition after a prolonged period of usage. I stopped using this type of product around that time as I ‘thought’ I was seeing this very thing happening to my tires – whether actual or imagined.

    • 0 avatar
      wiseweasel

      While I haven’t read the article, I would like to. To me it would seem invalid to measure the inside vs the outside of the tire as the outside would be exposed to Sunlight/UV among other things (like scrubbing/washing at car washes or at home) that the inside would not. All things being equal, I would assume the outside of the tire would see additional surface factors that the inside would not.

  • avatar
    loner

    Not a fan of having a gooey sheen on my tires, especially when it makes it a filthy chore to handle the tires when rotating them or leaves a mess on my pants if I brush against the tire. But I like my tires to be black instead of dull gray.

    I highly recommend “Aero Cosmetics Rubber Care”. It dries completely, doesn’t attract dirt, and isn’t glossy. It just makes your tires look like they are new. It lasts a long while too.

    I have no affiliation. Just a sincere recommendation to fellow car guys who like their cars clean and detailed.

  • avatar
    wiseweasel

    As Urlik stated LAST YEAR(?!) I have become a big fan of the stoner “More Shine”. It is thin aerosol and doesn’t sling. Plus, if you wipe it after you spray it, it becomes matte, not glossy. Makes the tires look great for far longer than a regular wash would.

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