How to Apply Tire Shine Applicator

6 Mins read

Does your car’s look matter a lot to you? Then you might be giving much effort into detailing your car. Tires are the vital parts of a car that have a great role in the car’s look. A shiny polished tire enhances the appeal of your car. That’s why they need special attention. Tire shines, often known as tire dressings, are very helpful to keep the tires shiny always. Get a quality tire dressing and a good tire shine applicator, and you’re half done to restore the new look of your tires. 

This article will walk you through the full process of applying a tire dressing on your car’s tires using a tire shine applicator. So, let’s dig deeper into it. 

What is Tire Shine?

Tire shine is a chemical solution that is formulated to restore the slick black look of a tire. Tires are the most rapidly worn out parts of a car. They keep the car running and sustain the heavy friction of the road. Also, tires stay in direct touch with dirt and dust. That’s why the black rubber fades away soon, and the tire looks worn out, losing the shiny finish. 

Imagine a car having everything in a tip-top condition, but the tires are worn out. Would you like to see your car in such a condition? Obviously no! You put a great effort into washing, waxing, polishing, and many more to keep your car looking great. But faded tires can ruin all your efforts by making a flaw in your car’s look. 

Tire shine can be the savior for you. This simple car detailing product can easily restore the original look of a tire and keep it in a good looking condition for a longer time. With just a quick touch of tire shine, you can turn the faded, worn-out tires into such a look as they’ve just rolled out of the factory. Some tire dressings come with anti-aging and dirt-repellent properties that keep the glossy finish for longer and also protect the rubber treads. 

Tire Shine Components


Tire dressings are nothing but a formula of different chemicals. Though they can be of different types, some components are the same in all types of tire shine. Almost all tire shine contains silicon which is for increasing the viscosity and longevity of the tire shine. Apart from this, they contain different naturally occurring polymers, oils, additives, and stabilizers. And, all these components are dissolved in either water or an oil-based solvent. 

Types of Tire Shine

Tire shine or tire dressings are mainly of two different types. Both have their different benefits and drawbacks. The types are as following: 

Solvent-based Tire Dressing

Solvent-based tire dressings come with a petroleum solvent that contains the other components. The other components can stay in either a solution or a suspension form. Premium products contain thickener and stabilizer to make the coating stronger. This type of tire dressings gives the tires a wet look and lasts longer than a water-based tire dressing. Solvent-based tire shines can be found in both gel-type and spray-type applications. 

The major drawback of a solvent-based tire dressing is it takes a comparatively longer time to dry out. So, you have to leave your car overnight to dry the dressing. Also, there is a possibility of slinging as a solvent-based tire stays wet for a longer time. It could be a mess to see the droplets of the dressing are spread on the side panel of your car after a speedy drive. However, you can avoid this problem by following the proper way of applying a tire dressing and using a good tire shine applicator. 

Water-based Tire Dressing

In water-based tire dressings, water acts as the main solvent instead of any other oil-based solvent. The components such as polymers, additives, thickeners, etc. are dissolved or suspended in water. This type of tire dressings also contains silicon which enhances the quality of the shine. 

Water-based tire dressings are easy to apply, and they barely have adverse effects on the environment. Modern water-based tire dressings have a dry to touch formula which makes the dressing dry faster. After application, the water dries out and leaves a coat of black slick shine on the tires. However, water-based tire shines usually don’t last for a long time as a solvent-based tire shine does. But this could be a plus point for you as you don’t need to bother removing the coating if you wish to do so. 

Pros and Cons of Tire Shine

Nothing comes with unmixed goods. This is also true for tire shine products. Despite having a lot of advantages, tire shine products have some disadvantages too. So, here are the pros and cons of tire shine products to give you a better picture: 


  • These affordable products easily restore the faded, worn-out, and cracked tires and take back the tires to the new look. 
  • Tire shine can keep the tires clean for longer as most of them have dirt-repellent property. 
  • Premium tire shines come with an additional UV protection feature. So they guard your tires against UV damage and protect the color for a long time. 
  • These products are biodegradable and environment friendly (especially water-based tire dressings). 
  • They are easier to use and affordable than buying new tires often. 


  • Tire dressings can cause slinging if not properly applied. 
  • They can eventually reduce the grip of tires. So, it is recommended not to apply a tire dressing on the circumference rather than the sidewalls of your tires. 
  • Applying a spray dressing can spread over the side panels which could leave permanent spots on the paint. 

How to Apply Tire Shine Correctly

Having the best tire dressing doesn’t guarantee you the best result. You need to follow the right way to apply the tire shine correctly. Also, you need the other materials such as a good tire shine applicator, microfiber towels, etc. in place. Follow the simple five steps to apply tire shine correctly and get the most out of it. 

Step 1: Clean the Tires

You must clean the tires properly before applying tire shine. Tires remain flooded with dirt, dust, and grime. If you apply tire shine on the tire without cleaning it, the tire shine solution and the dirt on the tire will mix up and create a mess. So, deeply clean the tires first. Give them a thorough wash and rinse with a scrubber to remove the last particle of dust from the surface. This will prepare the tires to have a perfect shine. 

Step 2: Dry off the Tires

Once you’ve cleaned the tires thoroughly, the next step is to dry off the tires. It’s not wise to apply tire dressings on a wet surface. It will dilute the solution and make the coating weaker, resulting in dripping and slinging. So, dry the tires properly. You can use a sponge to soak the excess water after washing the tires. 

Step 3: Apply Tire Shine

After washing and drying off the tires, they are ready to apply the tire shine. You’ll find the instructions with the package. Make sure you have the right tire shine applicator. It’s important for a perfect shine. You need to be more cautious when you’re using an aerosol spray. Never apply the spray directly on the tire because it can spread the droplets on the side panels of your car and create spots on the paint. Also, the solution can get into the brake rotors and discs, and damage them if it is sprayed directly. 

So, at first, apply the spray to a tire shine applicator and then apply it on the tires evenly. You’ll find good quality applicators available on the market. However, we suggest foam applicators as they ensure an even application of the tire shine. Make sure you’re applying the shine only to the sidewalls of your tires. Never apply to the tire tread. It will reduce the grip and increase the risk of skidding. 

Step 4: Leave It for a While

After applying the tire shine, leave it for a while to sit evenly. Different products require different durations. However, it is wise to leave it for 15-20 minutes. Don’t drive the car immediately after applying the tire shine. 

Step 5. Wipe off the Excess Tire Shine

After waiting for 15-20 minutes, when the tire shine sits on the surface, wipe off the excess tire shine. Use a microfiber towel to wipe it off. It will prevent dripping off and help the tire shine dry out quickly. If you use a water-based tire dressing, then your car will be ready to drive within a few hours. Instead, if you use a solvent-based product, it may take a whole day. However, we recommend waiting for enough time until the tire shine dries out properly. 

Wrap Up

Now that you read this article, you’ve learned the things about automotive tire shine and how to detail your car with a tire shine applicator. We hope this informative guide will help you in real life to shine your tires and give them the original black slick look. If you’re looking for the best tire dressing for your car, you can check out our buying guide on The Best Water Based Tire Dressing (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020

Happy driving!

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