Bradley Jando | Tuesday 5th October 2021 8:55am
Tyres are often overlooked when it comes to washing the car. However, since they are the dirtiest and most used element of your vehicle, surely they deserve a good clean now and then?
Treat your tyres to some TLC and keep your vehicle sparkling clean with this handy guide put together by our tyre experts.
Why clean your tyres?
Many drivers skim over their tyres when cleaning the car using the argument ĎTheyíll just get dirty again anyway!í. Admittedly, this approach might save a bit of time, but it actually compromises on safety.
Not many people make the connection between tyre cleanliness and road safety but shinier tyres mean fewer rust spots and, ultimately, a safer car. Since tyres comprise of rims, hubs, and spokes, there are lots of hidden nooks and crannies where rust can accumulate and weaken tyres over time; hence why a rigorous cleaning routine becomes almost like a safety procedure.
How to clean your tyres
1. Prep & park
Find a well-ventilated, flat surface away from the road and any dirt or debris. The last thing you want is for a lorry to rush past and splatter mud all over your clean rims.
Gather your equipment and have it close to hand so you can get the job done quickly without pausing to search for a brush or a rag. Dedicate one cloth to drying and another to applying products so that you donít accidentally tarnish the work youíve done.
Before starting any inspection or handling of your tyres, however, make sure they have cooled down from driving. While you wait, take the opportunity to grab a kneeling pad or seat to make the work easier while reading the instructions on the products youíll be using.
2. Hose off your tyres
Use a hosepipe on a high setting to blast off the grime, making sure to approach the tyre from all different angles to reach behind the spokes.
You may see dark brown sediment running off the tyres at this point ó this is just common brake dust that has accumulated and solidified. If you are using a degreaser or cleaning fluid, now is the time to apply it and leave it to sit to lift any excess dirt.
3. Brush & wash
A soft-bristled brush should now be used to scrub the rim of your tyres, while a hard-bristled brush can remove dirt from the actual tyres and treads. Start by cleaning the tyre first so that excess dirt does not run down the clean wheel face and ruin your hard work. Try to remove as much dirt as possible, all the while keeping the tyres wet so that your scrubbing efforts donít cause any scratching.
If you have it, use a soft microfiber cloth to dry both the tyre and the rim. Microfiber cloths are generally better than normal rags as they absorb all the water without smearing it across the wheel face causing wax products to apply unevenly.
As an optional extra, you can wax your tyres. If youíre using wax, wait until the tyres have dried completely before applying it. Use a wax pad to apply the product to the tyre and polish it the same way you would the body of the car. Once an even coating has been polished in, remove any excess to avoid discolouration damage and then leave the wax paste to dry.
Some drivers may take it a step further and use tyre dressing. This is a water-based solution that makes your tyres appear darker, shinier and newer to the eye. If youíre using a dressing, apply as many coats as recommended and wait for it to dry before moving your vehicle.
We recommend performing the full process on each separate tyre at a time so that the tyres donít dry out while ensuring you donít miss a step. When one tyre is complete, move on to the next.
In general, a thorough tyre clean like this one should be done every two months in order to keep your tyres looking clean and lasting longer due to the increased maintenance.
How to get tar off your tyres
If the dirt on your tyres still wonít budge after performing all the processes mentioned above, you might have tar stuck to them. Tar on your tyres can drastically reduce braking distances and make journeys in the car uncomfortable and most importantly unsafe.
Donít worry, though, tar is relatively easy to remove. Spend more time on the scrubbing stage and use a hard-bristle brush with some warm, soapy water to lift the tar.
If itís proving stubborn, gently take a plastic tool and try to lift the tar manually ó be careful not to pierce or puncture the tyre here though. If this still doesnít work, you may want to consider investing in some tar remover or make your own remover at home with linseed oil. Simply pour linseed oil over your tyres and leave to soak for thirty minutes before scrubbing.
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