Last Updated on January 5, 2021 by Stewart

One of the most neglected areas when it comes to the car is the tyres. It’s a shame because having properly detailed tyres can really have an impact on the overall look of the car. This is especially true when the car is white.

With that being said, let’s have a look at the steps needed to detail the tyres so that they look amazing.

Decontaminating the tyres

The first step is decontamination, and is as simple as rinsing down the tyre. Next, it the cleaner of choice needs to be considered. Using an All Purpose Cleaner (APC) is a great option for this. Simply spray down the tyre and allow it to break it the dirt on the sidewall. When I’m detailing tyres, I usually let the APC dwell for around five minutes before rinsing it off. I then re-apply the APC and agitate it with a brush.

There are quite a few brushes available that work well for this. If all else fails, a stiff bristle brush will do the job. Be aware though that dedicated wheel brushes will be more resistant to chemicals when compared to those that you may find in the household aisle in your local supermarket.

It is also advisable to use an iron fallout remover on the side wall to ensure that as much decontamination is removed as possible.

During the process, the lather generated from the APC will be brown. This is normal and is just the dirt being removed from the tyre. The process should be repeated until the lather is no longer brown. After this, rinse the tyre off one last time and dry it.

Drying the tyres

Before any dressing is applied to the sidewall of the tyre, it’s imperative that they are completely dry. I like to use older microfibre cloths to do this. In the past I did try and dry the tyres with paper towels and that ended pretty badly.

It should be noted that as soon as the microfibre has touched the tyre, it should never come into contact with the paint.

If I don’t have any older cloths, I will instead use cheaper ones.

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These don’t have the biggest pile on them, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable using them on the body work. However, they are really cheap and effective for drying tyres as well as drying the engine bay and components. They can also be used for more general activities around the house as well.

Dressing the tyres

Now that the tyres are fully clean, the next step is to dress them, otherwise known as finishing the detail.

There are various products on the market that will give a great look to your tyres. The difference for each is based on the overall look that they give. Some will give a matte finish whereas others will give a glossy black finish.

A great option is Autoglym’s High Performance Tyre Gel. This is a fact acting product and also modestly priced. It can also either give a high gloss shine, or a matte finish depending on how it is applied. What I like about that gel is that it does not sling over the paintwork. This can be a particularly annoying trait of some dressings and it will make the paintwork look unsightly. The other alternative is to use Autoglym Instant Tyre Dressing.

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The general application for all forms of tyre dressing though is to apply a small amount on a microfibre applicator pad and then apply it sparingly to tyre until the desired effect is reached. Alternatively, you could also use the microfibre cloths listed above to apply a small amount dressing to the tyres.

When dressing the tyres, only do the sidewall and not the tread area. I’ve seen in a lot of YouTube videos that some “detailers” go nuts on applying the dressing and get it onto the tread area. This is dangerous since there will be a marked reduction in road grip.