Tire washing tips -- deep clean tires, wheels and rims

Tire Washing Tips

Tires might not be the flashiest or more exciting part of your car, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore their maintenance and care. The next time you’re at the car wash, spend a few extra minutes focusing on your tires, and you’ll be surprised how much better your vehicle look and drives.

Deep Cleaning the Tires

Your tires are in constant contact with the road, which means they pick up dirt and debris more than any other part of your car. Add in the dust caused by your brakes, and you’ll see why tires are the first part of any vehicle to appear dull and rundown. Regularly deep cleaning the tires is important in keeping them looking good.

At the self-serve car wash, this means:

  • Wetting the tires with a rinse
  • Spraying them with tire soak and allowing it to set
  • Using the long-handled brush to scrub away impurities
  • Rinsing well after you’re through

Of course, you’ll want to go a little deeper than this to get a real shine. One of the best ways to do this is by carrying a bristled brush that you can use to really scrub. (You can also carry a strong all-purpose degreaser or other specialty tire cleaner that will get rid of road pollutants.) Although a weekly car wash will go a long way in keeping your tires looking good, this deep kind of hand wash will provide an even greater clean.

Always be sure, however, that you match the tool to the material. For example, using the same brush and/or chemicals for your steel rims and for the rubber of your tires could result in scratches or the breakdown of the material—not to mention scratch the body of your car if you slip and miss. If you do invest in a deep-clean chemical, read the label fully and understand its uses. (This is one reason why the soaps and brushes at self-service car washes work so well—they are designed for safe and effective use with the whole car.)

Other tips include:

  • Always wash the tire before the wheel/rims
  • Start on the inside and work your way out
  • For big buildups of dust and grime, a longer soak may be necessary
  • Adjust your car’s position halfway through so you don’t miss any spots
  • Use a paintbrush, toothbrush, or other fine detail item to clean lug nuts and other hard-to-reach spots
  • Don’t be afraid of high pressure water
  • Apply a tire dressing and/or sealant once you’re finished for a lasting shine

When done correctly, cleaning the tires can be a great way to enhance your car’s appearance without putting too much time, money, or effort into the final product.

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