Top 8 Best Tire Shine Products
By | Last updated: May 29, 2020
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 lawn mower. 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 Silk Shine Dressing

Going beyond the just-for-tires playbook, this product from Chemical Guys is a dressing that also works on interior and exterior vinyl, rubber, and plastics. In other words, it should rejuvenate that turned-to-grey plastic cladding on your knackered Chevrolet Avalanche.

This stuff is a spray but said to be dry-to-the-touch and non-greasy, an advantage over some other products which can leave a nasty film if not buffed off properly. Those living in the southwest take note: Chemical Guys says this dressing has sun blockers to shield vinyl and rubber from harmful UV rays that fade and crack unprotected surfaces.

Pros/Good on a number of surfaces, protects against the sun
Cons/Takes a bit more effort than a one-step foam
Bottom Line/Results are worth it

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 Tire Wet

Black Magic used to have commercials all over Saturday morning television for their Tire Wet, ingraining it into the gearhead’s mind to the point where I immediately recognized the product when it popped up as an option on Amazon. Score one for incessant marketing, I guess.

This stuff goes on the tire with a quick spray from the bottle and dries quickly enough that you can set off from Cars ‘n Coffee without having to worry about centrifugal force slinging it off the rubber and making a mess. According to them, it lasts for about a month.

Pros/One-spray application, quick-dry formula
Cons/Why is the 4-pack distortionally priced?
Bottom Line/Keep one in your trunk

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

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 / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

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

  • avatar

    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

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

  • avatar

    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

    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

      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

    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

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

    • 0 avatar

      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

    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

    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

    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

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

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