There's More To Cleaning Tires Than You Think!!
Exterior rubber fades, cracks and eventually loses its mechanical properties from exposure to UV lite. This process is called Photo-degradation. Chemicals and road pollution present another danger to synthetic and natural rubber products. Hastened by the effects of UV light this environmental "soup" can cause dry-rot and eventually sidewall failure on tires that are not regularly used.
Modern tire sidewalls have a thin, waxy coating that helps protect them from normal wear and tear. Problems arise when caustic wheel cleaners and other harsh chemicals remove this protective coating. Surprisingly, even a tire dressing can contain solvents that cause early rubber deterioration.
The first step to reclaiming the original tire luster is proper cleaning. Discuss an appropriate rubber cleaner with your chemical supplier, or choose a MILD all purpose cleaner/degreaser. These products are masters at removing greasy buildup and not damaging the surface in the process. You can also use a soft scrub brush to maximize the effectiveness of your cleaner. I don't recommend brushes with stiff bristles. They can scratch the rubber as well as the wheel.
The second step to restoring a beautiful sheen is the application of a high-quality rubber dressing. Choose one that's not sticky and doesn't sling off on the car. If you can use your dressing on vinyl, then you can be sure that it is safe for tires. Properly maintained rubber should have a rich, dark sheen and be smooth to the touch.
Developing the right cleaning techniques requires some common sense, a little effort, and an educational choice of products. Purchase your chemicals from companies that offer educational support. Don't by shy! Ask about the chemicals in their products.
Wheels and tires are a vulnerable and expensive part of your pride and joy. Treat them special and they will give you that feeling of excitement when some ask's "How do you get your car to look so good?"
Author: Irene Bernardo
Top of the Line Auto Enhancement Products
Sonnenflecke, Sept/Oct 1997 Sunbelt Chapter BMW CCA