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5 Steps to Keep Your Tyres Clean: What You Need and How to

It’s not that I don’t clean my car. In fact, I clean my car every week and it is spanking clean. I just never thought to clean my tyres. I never realized that tyres could be cleaned until some smart-alecky passerby scrawled ‘clean me’ on my tyre hubs. Other cheeky strangers (or were they friends..I have my suspicions) had added their own commentary with comments like ‘Birds of a feather flock together, and crap on your car…clean your car!”

Public humiliation aside, it never occurred to me that tyres needed to be cleaned! After all, it is their job to run on dirty roads, and take you where you want to go, and it is not possible to keep them sparkling clean. It just does not make sense to clean your tyre when the very next day, it is going to be running on a dirty, dusty road. It is kind of redundant job, right?

Well, You Are Partially Right And Partially Wrong.

A car needs to be cleaned to prevent rust which impacts car safety. Tyres do need cleaning, but not the way you are thinking. You cannot dunk them into a washing machine (although that would be simple and easy…like putting your sports shoes in for a quick wash) to run a hot and rough cleaning cycle. Tyres need a special washing solution and an intricate detailing that will ensure spic and span tyres, rims and hubs.

Here is a short guide that should prove helpful but do feel free to jump in with tips and comments in case you follow a different process.

What Do You Need

  • A clean large bucket
  • High pressure water hose
  • Special tyre cleaner solutions

These solutions are usually available at local hardware stores or at a tyre retailer as they act as degreasers. Popular cleaners include Wheel Mist’s or Wolfgang Tyre & Wheel Cleaner. Do make sure you read the instructions on the cleaning solution as some solutions are intended for tyres only. You may not be able to use them on tyre rims or on coated wheels.

  • Tyre cleaner brushes

Choose a soft bristled brush for the wheels and a contoured tyre brush to really scrub the rubber out. Brands like Montana Original Bear’s hair wheel brush and Mothers’ Contoured Tyre brush are ideal.

  • Detailing towels

Microfibre detailing towels are excellent as they can wick away water and grease without leaving fibres and stains on the metal and rubber.

  • Clean dry cloth
  • Wax protectant and waxing cloth

Wheel protectant wax is available with several companies. You can use any brand you want and the wax is similar to car wax. Some companies also provide a waxing cloth along with the wax. If you do not have a separate waxing cloth, buy a chamois cloth to complete the job.

  • Tyre dressing solution and cloth

Tyre dressings are available in a range of different compositions. Make sure you choose one of the latest brands as they create semi-shiny matt looks that protect the tyre rubber.

Cleaning, Detailing, Polishing Your Tyres – How To

Step #1

Collect your goods and park your car in a well-ventilated and clean area. Always clean tyres before you have cleaned and dried your car. This will prevent any splash back on a clean car and a repeat cleaning. Make sure you have everything ready and keep water ready to start cleaning the tyres. At this time, make sure you also read all the instructions on the cleaner solutions you will be using.

Step #2

Start with water blasting of the dirty tyres. The most common dark brown deposit on top of the tyres will be brake dust that will collect and solidify on top of the tyre. Use a high-pressure hose to soften and blast off any dust and grime from the wheel rim, wheel well and the tyres. Apply the degreaser or cleaner solution to the tyres and let it sit to loosen the gunk.

Step #3

Use the soft bristled brush to clean the rim and the hard bristled brush to clean dirt from the wheels. Scrub well and rinse down as much as possible to wash away as much dirt as possible. Use a soft microfiber detailing cloth to dry the tyre and the rim. Try not to use cotton or synthetic cloth, as they will not absorb all the water. This may cause wet spots that will prevent the solutions from working on the wheel.

Step #4

Wait until your tyres dry completely and then wax your tyres the same way you would wax your car. Use the wax pad that comes with the wax box and apply the paste on to the car. Polish the tyre the same way as you would your car and let the paste dry. This paste will protect your tyre and prevent dirt and mud from sticking to it. It will also ensure that your wheels look cleaner for as long as possible. Remember to wipe off excess wax paste as it can damage the wheel by causing discolorations and dark spots.

Step #5

Dress your tyres with a tyre dressing. Tyre dressings are water-based solutions that are designed to protect your tyres and make them appear delightfully new. The dressing is usually in the form of a spray. Follow instructions on the bottle and apply the tyre dressing. Apply two to three different coats and let it dry in-between coats. Wait for the dressing to dry completely before you take the car out for a drive.

Now that you have completed cleaning and dressing your tyre, you should know that this would decrease cleaning time on the next tyre wash. You do not need to do the whole scrubbing, waxing and dressing process as a lesser amount of dirt will be found on the tyre. Repeat this process once in two months and your tyres will appear brighter and cleaner. They will also last you for a longer time due to the increased maintenance.

In the end, it all comes down to a simple fact: Be nice to your tyres, try to clean them occasionally; after all, they are the elements of your car that actually get you around.

Jack Underwood

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