What Do Car Washes Use for Tire Shine? (Top 6 Products)

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

what do car washes use for tire shine

When it comes to car detailing, tire shine is an essential product to add a final touch that complements a shiner car. But for some reason, you can’t seem to achieve the same “glow” on the tires at home.

Ever wondered what do car washes use for tire shine? Curious about the product car detailing professionals use to make tires look brand-new?

Keep on reading as we’re revealing their trade secrets! Here are some of the best tire shine products available in the market that can provide different levels of shine and protection for your tires.

Learn how car wash with tire shine services do it, and you will shine tires like a pro!

Best Tire Shine Products for Car Washes (Based on Popularity and Market Presence)

Here are 6 popular tire shine products from reputable brands that detailing experts use:

Brand Product name Key Feature
Chemical Guys Tire Shine Most versatile
Turtle Wax T-18 Most easy to use
Tri Nova Tire Shine Spray Most Advanced Formula
Adam’s Polishes Graphene Tire Dressing Combo Best overall
Meguiar’s Ultimate Tire Shine Best showroom effect look
Car Guys Tire Shine Longest lasting shine

1. Chemical Guys Tire Shine


Chemical Guys Tire Kicker Tire Shine is a premium detailing product that brings a deep black shine to tires and rubber trim.

Its easy-to-use spray application provides long-lasting protection and a non-greasy finish that repels dirt and grime.


  • Versatile for interior and exterior tire applications
  • Provides a natural shine that lasts for weeks
  • Easy to apply, residue and oil-free


  • Prolonged sun exposure could lead to the tire’s plastic trim discoloration
  • Makes tires look darker

2. Turtle Wax T-18


Turtle Wax T-18 All Wheel and Tire Cleaner is a powerful cleaning solution that effectively removes brake dust, road grime, and dirt from both tires and wheels.

Its specially designed formula leaves a spot-free finish and a protective shine, enhancing the overall look of your vehicle.


  • Easy-to-apply spray-on application
  • Light and pleasant scent
  • Biodegradable ingredients


  • Requires multiple layers of application to provide optimal results

3. Tri Nova Tire Shine Spray


A high-performance detailing product, the TriNova Tire Shine Spray delivers a slick, dark finish to tires, restoring their original shine.

 Its advanced formula provides long-lasting protection against weathering and road grime, while preventing fading and cracking for a well-maintained appearance.


  • Retains gloss even in splashed with rain or puddle water
  • Can last up to a month


  • May be too glossy for some
  • Application may be difficult on tires with no flat sidewalls

4. Adam’s Polishes Graphene Tire Dressing Combo


Adam’s Polishes Graphene Tire Dressing Combo is an advanced tire care kit featuring a graphene-infused dressing that delivers a deep, rich shine and durable protection to your vehicle’s tires.

The combo includes a specially designed applicator, ensuring an even coat and the maximum absorption of the dressing, thereby reducing sling and enhancing durability.


  • Superb satin-like tire appearance with a darker shine
  • Very economical, and requires a small amount to apply
  • No greasy after-effects


  • Fades easily after a couple of rain showers

5. Meguiar’s Ultimate Insane Shine Tire Coating


Meguiar’s Ultimate Insane Shine Tire Coating is an advanced tire care product that delivers an extreme, mirror-like wet finish for your vehicle’s tires.

This easy-to-use aerosol spray uses synthetic polymer chemistry to provide long-lasting protection and resist tire browning, ensuring your tires always look their best.


  • Easy to apply with quick results
  • Gives tires a new “showroom display” look
  • Long-lasting even after several rain showers


  • May affect the surfaces of certain automotive paint finishes

6. Car Guys Tire Shine


Car Guys Tire Shine is a professional-grade dressing that restores and enhances the dark, glossy appearance of tires while providing excellent protection against the elements.

 Its non-toxic, water-based formula is easy to apply, dries quickly, and resists dirt and grime, ensuring your tires maintain their shine for longer.


  • Can be used safely on engine covers and plastic trims
  • Better hold on tire surface and provides long-lasting shine


  • May affect the surfaces of certain automotive paint finishes

Why is Tire Shine Important?


Tire care is as important and necessary as your car engine and body maintenance. A minor problem in any of the tires can result in a catastrophic or even deadly blowout, especially when you’re driving fast on the road.

By figuring out the best way to shine tires, you can make sure your vehicle looks and performs its best.

Specially formulated active ingredients in tire shine help protect the tires from environmental factors such as UV rays, dirt, and grime, which can cause the tires to fade and lose their luster over time.

By applying good quality car tire shine products, you can prevent the tires from drying out and cracking, thus, save costly repairs and replacements.

Finally, tire shine can help improve your vehicle’s resale value. A well-maintained vehicle with shiny, new-looking tires is more likely to attract potential buyers and command a higher price.

Tire Shine Alternatives

If you don’t want to use tire shine products or you just ran out of tire shine but need some right away, here’s what you can try.

First, clean your tires using a tire cleaner or a wheel shiner. These remove dirt and grime from your tires. Then, get to making tires shine yourself to achieve a clean and new look right at home.

Below are some of the best homemade tire shine alternatives for your DIY projects.

1. Coconut Oil


Coconut oil can be used as a cheap alternative to tire shine. It is a natural lubricant that can be used to provide a natural tire shine. Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that penetrate the rubber of the tires, leaving them shiny and protected against cracking and fading.

2. Baby Oil


Baby oil is a mineral oil that can be used to give a shine to your tires. It is gentle on rubber and does not cause any damage or discoloration. Baby oil is a budget-friendly option since it is inexpensive and readily available.

3. Vinegar


Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can be used as an alternative to tire shine. It can remove dirt, grime, and other contaminants from your tires, leaving them clean and shiny.

4. Baking Soda


Baking soda can be used as an alternative to tire shine. It can remove dirt and grime from your tires, leaving them clean and shiny. It can also be used to neutralize odors on your tires.

5. Olive Oil


Just like other oils, olive oil can be a good tire shine substitute. It is naturally a lubricant but has been found to also moisturize and protect your tires from cracking and fading.

6. Lemon Juice/Oil


Lemon juice or oil is a natural homemade tire cleaner that can be used as a tire shine alternative. It can remove dirt and grime from your tires.

Commercial Tire Shine Vs. Homemade Tire Shine: Which is Better?

Car dealers use commercial tire shine, as it provides a longer-lasting shine and protection, but it can be more expensive.

Homemade tire shine such as vegetable oil or baby oil can be cheap and effectively make tires shine black but may not provide long-lasting shine and protection like commercial tire shine.

Proper Way to Apply Tire Shine

Here’s how you handle the task, more shine less time!

What you need:


  • Wheel shiner or tire cleaner
  • Tire shine
  • Rag, sponge, or tire applicator
  • Rim or wheel shiner

Follow the steps below:

Step 1: To apply tire shine properly, clean the tires first using a tire cleaner, wheel, or rim shiner.

Step 2: Apply the tire shine using a sponge or a tire applicator.

Step 3: Make sure to apply the tire shine evenly and avoid excess residue that can cause the tires to crack.

Tire Dressing vs Tire Shine: What’s the Difference?


Tire dressing is a petroleum or silicone-based product that adds a glossy finish to your tires and also protects them from UV rays, and water absorption, and similar to tire shine prevents dry rot.

It provides a more natural-looking effect than tire shine. However, tire dressing may not last as long as the tire shines.

DIY or Professional Tire Shine: Which is Better?

  DIY Tire Shine Professional Tire Shine
Cost Economical (DIY solutions are typically cheaper due to use of household or easily accessible products) Expensive (Professional services include labor and specialized products costs)
Time Efficiency Time-consuming (Involves making the solution and application process) Time-saving (Professionals handle the application process)
Customization High (You can tailor the solution according to individual preference) Low (Limited to the products and services offered by the detailer)
Durability Short-term (DIY shine may not last as long, requiring frequent applications) Long-term (Professional shine typically lasts longer, reducing the frequency of applications)
Consistency Variable (Depends on the individual’s skill and consistency in making the solution) High (Professionals ensure a uniform shine every time)
Convenience High (Can be done at home at your leisure) Low (Requires a trip to the detailer, possibly far from home or work)
Environmental Impact Eco-friendly (Often uses natural or with household products) Potentially harmful (Some professional products may contain harsh chemicals)

When choosing between DIY tire shine and professional tire shine, consider the cost, effectiveness, and convenience of each option. Choose the option that best fits your budget and needs.

Advanced Tire Care Tips


The following pointers will help you maintain car tires like a professional:

  • To maintain shiny tires, keep them clean by washing them regularly and avoiding harsh chemicals that can damage the tires.
  • Use a tire cleaner or a wheel shiner to remove dirt and grime from your tires. It’s also important to check your tire pressure regularly and rotate your tires every 10,000 to 12,000 kilometers to ensure even wear.
  • Avoid driving on rough roads or over potholes, as this can cause damage to your tires.
  • Avoid overloading your car or driving at high speeds, as this can put extra stress on your tires.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does tire shine last?

The duration of tire shine depends on the type of product used. Oil-based tire shine typically lasts longer than water-based tire shine, while heavy-duty commercial tire shine can last up to a month.

Can you apply tire shine on wet tires?

It’s not recommended to apply tire shine on wet tires, as the product may not adhere properly and can cause streaks or uneven shine.

Ensure your tires are completely dry before applying tire shine. Water or moisture can dilute the product, reducing its effectiveness. After cleaning, dry the tires thoroughly with a clean cloth or let them air dry.

Can tire shine damage your tires?

Excessive use of tire shine can cause tires to crack or become dry, leading to potential damage.

Some tire shine products use silicone, which can give your tires a glossy finish. However, repeated use of silicone-based products can lead to a build-up that traps heat in your tires, which can cause premature wear, drying, and cracking over time.

What tire shine does Mr Clean carwash use?

You can find products such as HotShine® Carnauba Wax as the signature commercial shine used in Mr Clean shops.


Tire shine is an essential product for car washing that provides a final touch to the appearance of your car, you’ll notice the before and after results.

Choosing the right type of tire shine and applying it properly can not only make your tires sparkle but also protect them from UV rays, dry rot, and cracking.

By now you know what do car washes use for tire shine and by following the tips and guidelines in this article, you can maintain shiny and healthy-looking tires for a longer time.

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