How You Can Determine Which Tire Dressing Fits Your Needs

Your vehicle’s tires undergo a substantial amount of wear and tear. The daily contact with elements, such as ultraviolet rays, tar, dirt, water, mud, salt, grease, brake dust and grime wreak havoc on tires. This not only causes damage to your wheels with time but also gives them a shabby look. You need to prevent the rubber from degrading while keeping the tires looking like new when you detail. You can enhance the overall appearance of your automobile with well-maintained wheels. Applying tire dressing offers you the protection you need and give your automobile that fresh-off-the-showroom-floor look.

Dressing Types

Solvent-based and water-based are the two kinds of dressing available. The solvent formula is the most commonly used, while the water formula is a reasonably new alternative. Although both types supply protection against fading and cracking while enhancing the look of the tire, they both have advantages and disadvantages. The finished look that you want will influence the dressing type you choose. Before making a purchase, there are other distinctions between these two which are worth looking at.


A solvent formula is the go-to choice if you prefer a high gloss or wet look for your tires. Containing hydrocarbon silicone, it is a sticky, clear or blue-tinted liquid. The downside with this formula is the sling that gets on the vehicle’s paint. The dressing comes off and often lands on the rear fenders or rocker panels when driving. It can dry or set, leaving a mark on the paint if not removed quickly. Because it’s sticky, it attracts dust and dirt. It may gum up if there is too much overspray or buildup. By cleaning the tires thoroughly before each new application, you can guard against this.

The Water-Based Variety

A water-based dressing is a slick liquid with a milky, white appearance. To imitate the way the tires look when they come from the manufacturer, it supplies a satin shine or matte finish. To protect against sun damage, some brands have UV ray protection built into the formula. There's minimal potential for sling. If it does get on the vehicle’s paint, it won’t do any damage as the dressing is typically made with a chemical-free formula. It's eco-friendly, unlike its counterpart. Furthermore, as it can be applied to vinyl, rubber bumpers and window stripping, it is much more versatile.


You can apply both dressings as a spray, foam or gel. Sprays are commonly available as an aerosol or pump. The aerosol is sprayed directly on the tire’s surface. The coverage offered is even, but be careful when using it on the paint and wheels because it is easy to overspray. A pump spray is applied to a sponge, rag, soft pad or soft brush and then rubbed onto the tire. When using gels or foams, you wipe it on the rubber directly. Whichever application you employ, it must dry completely before moving the vehicle.


There are safety precautions you need to take when using either dressing type. The most crucial thing to know is that you should never apply these products to tread. Doing so can make the tires slippery, which can result in a serious hazard. For motorcycles, this is especially valid. Make sure you wear protective gloves when utilizing a solvent-based brand. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to correctly apply the products.

Your automobile looked amazing the day you drove it off the dealership car lot and you would like it to continue to look that way. Keeping it looking like brand new takes work and special attention needs to be given to the tires. Tire dressing helps protect and revitalize the look of worn tires and provides the appropriate finishing touch to a well-detailed automobile.

Tags: water based tire dressing, professional tire dressing