Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tire (Tyre) Shine

You might have just washed your car, and even waxed it but it would not be complete without adding some tire shine. Those dull and brown rubbers; if not taken cared off; will impair the look of your just waxed car.

In this post, I am going to share two methods that I used to keep the tires looking good. As always, these are not the best method but what I commonly do to keep the tires looking good. Of course this is to be done after washing the wheels. You can find write ups on wheel cleaners here and how to clean the wheels (and car) here.

Quick Method

Well, most of the tire shines you find in our local departmental stores fall under this. These tire shines are usually spray and walk away type where you do not need to get your hands dirty. They come in either normal spray bottles or aerosol cans. I have a few of these.

I typically use these when I am in a hurry. Since these tire shine can be applied onto wet tires, I do not have to wait for the tires to dry. Furthermore, they dry (or cure) faster.

Most aerosol tire shines contain come cleaners that can be used to remove mild dirt from the tires. So they could be used as a "top-up" clean and shine in between washing. They go on foamy and dry to a shinny look.

Here are the pros and cons of these products.

- Easy to use.
- Can be applied wet.
- Contain some cleaning agents (aerosol type).

- Do not last long.
- Can stain rim and drive way.
- Used up quite fast, especially aerosol types.

Detailed Method

This method involves the "getting your hands dirty" part. So always use a glove. Two of my favorite detailed method tire shine products are Optimum Opti-Bond Tire Gel and Meguiar's Endurance Tire Gel.

Meguiar's Enurance is a translucent purplish gel that smells like grape. It has a thick consistency. As for Opti-Bond, it is a thick milky white liquid. Grape juice and milk shake, anyone?

In terms of durability, these two last longer and yes, as Meguiar's claimed, "Last weeks.....not days". So let us see the pros and cons of these two in general.

- Last longer.
- Better control in rim staining.
- Only small amounts are needed.

- Difficult to handle and can be messy.

In between Meguiar's and Opti-Bond, let us see how they compare to each other.

Very sticky and can be messy. Difficult to wash off from hands.Less messy.
Tends to sling.No sling.
Last a tad longer.Still last longer than quick method products.
Petroleum distillate based.Water based.
Cannot be diluted.Can be diluted to be used as spray on tire shine.

Because of the stickiness (and gooeyness) of these two, it would be advisable to wear a glove when applying them. Meguiar's Endurance is extremely hard to wash off.

With your glove on, squeeze the tire gel onto an applicator pad and fold the applicator pad in half so that the gel spreads evenly. Open back the pad and wipe it all around the tire, avoiding the rim.

Leave to dry before driving. It is best to leave it to dry for at least an hour before driving to prevent slinging, If only a darker finish with less shine is desired, use an old microfiber towel (dedicated for wheels) to wipe off the excess gel.

You could rinse the applicator pad with water after using it. But for me, I would normally wrap it up in a plastic or sandwich bag and keep it until next use. Just to be clear here. I used different applicator pads for different products.

Petroleum Distillates

In the comparison table between Meguiar's Endurance Tire Gel ad Opti-Bond Tire Gel, there is a row on petroleum distillates. If you do a quick search on the Internet on the effects of petroleum distillates on rubber, you would find many arguments that petroleum distillates will harden and crack rubber in prolonged exposure. However, most of the products in the market dedicated for rubbers and plastics care have petroleum distillates in them. So, if they are bad for rubbers and plastics, why are manufacturers still using petroleum distillates? Wouldn't water be cheaper? Not exactly. Also, there is this argument that petroleum distillates based dressings last longer and water based dressings will get washed away when it rains. True? Maybe.

First, let us try to understand some chemistry in tire shine. The main ingredient of tire shine is silicone. This is what makes the tire shine. Silicone itself is in solid form (at room temperature). In order to make it into a liquid form we need to add in solvent. This is where petroleum distillates come in. Once applied onto rubbers or plastics, the solvent will evaporate off leaving the silicone behind. Silicone itself does not dissolve in water, like oil does not dissolve in water. In order for silicone to be water based, an emulsifier is needed. Much like adding soap into water to "dissolve" or to be exact, emulsify oil. In order to be free of petroleum distillates, manufacturers will add in other chemical to emulsify silicone in water and most of the manufacturers will claimed that the emulsifier that they used is natural and biodegradable. This emulsifier could be more expensive that petroleum distillates. So that could be why water based rubber and plastic care products are a bit pricier.

Let us go slightly more detail on petroleum distillates. Not all petroleum distillates are equal. The term "petroleum distillates" generally refers to products derived from petroleum. Do you have a lip balm with you now? If yes, check the ingredient. You should not be surprised if there is something related to petroleum in it. They are used in some cosmetic products too. So not all petroleum distillates and harmful. Yes, some might be carcinogenic but not all.

I have checked the material safety datasheet of some Meguiar's plastic and rubber care products and they are not categorized as toxic and hazardous to health. See here and here. Same goes for Autoglym (here). Furthermore, there is assurance from Meguiar's representative that their products will not harm plastics and rubbers. See here and here.

However, if you are absolutely against petroleum distillates, not all hope is lost. Optimum Polymer Technology has a several water-based products. One if them is the Opti-Bond Tire Gel featured in this post. Opti-Bond can be use on plastics and interior surfaces too. It can also be diluted into spray on shine. It edges against Meguiar's for being an all-in-one rubbers and plastics care.

There you have it. I am no chemist but from my experience of using Meguiar's and Autoglym products with petroleum distillates I do not see any deterioration in plastics and rubbers. However, just to be safe, only use products from reputable manufacturers.

P/S: I will be updating this post when I have newer updates in petroleum distillates and water based plastics and rubbers dressing. I got to read more on this.

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