Is Tire Shine Bad For Tires? (Updated)

Last Updated July 15, 2022 is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you

It takes quite a bit of dedication and will to continuously keep your car in its optimum condition. This also includes washing and servicing your car whenever necessary which is indeed beneficial, but only if you do it the right way. It’s more or less the same story with tire shine as it is a product that should help you take better care of your car, but only if you apply it correctly.

Is Tire Shine Bad For Tires?

Should You Shine Your Car Tires?

Tire shine is not bad for your car if you know how to use it. These products are designed to keep your tires looking nice and to also protect them from all sorts of defects caused by UV light, air pollution, or road salt and grime. As such, tire shine is designed to restore your tires rather than to destroy them, therefore you should use it.

Are There Different Types Of Tire Shine?

Most current tire shining products fall within these three categories:

  • Spray Tire Shine
  • Gel Tire Shine
  • Tire Coatings

Spray Tire Shine

Spray tire shining products are some of the most popular tire conditioning products because they are easy to apply and always leave a fairly uniform coating. Because you are actively spraying the particles onto your tires you are able to get in all the nooks and crannies a lot more consistently and without much effort.

Spray tire shine has a few downsides as well because it usually forms a fairly thin layer on top of the tires. This means that spray tire shine is the easiest to clean which also means that you should use it more frequently. Either way, be sure to opt for a quality-made spray tire shine as some lower quality sprays are known to cause premature drying of the tires.

Gel Tire Shine

Gel tire shine is usually a lot thicker while also creating a less consistent layer of shine. A thicker layer of protective solution is likely going to protect your tires more thoroughly if you manage to apply it evenly across the entire sidewall surface.

Gel-based tire shining products are better at withstanding adverse weather conditions such as rainstorms or hale. It is a lot more important to pre-clean your tires if you use a gel-based tire shine in order not to trap any harmful contaminants between the gel and the tire surface which could potentially harm your tires.

Tire Coatings

Industry-grade tire coatings are the most aggressive tire shining and protective products because they are sometimes able to last a few months between reapplications while a regular spray tire shine can only last you a few weeks at the very best. However, tire coatings are the riskiest of the bunch because they tend to use a more aggressive chemical formula.

It is also essential for you to prep your tires beforehand in order for the coating to stay in place and to ensure that there are no contaminants left on the surface of the tire. You need to follow all the manufacturer’s recommendations as far as to how to apply the coating and how to take care of it afterward.

How To Apply Tire Shine Correctly?

As previously stated, it’s not necessarily about the product itself, but rather about knowing how to apply it correctly. There are different sorts of tire shining products and most of them are either water-based or oil or solvent-based. Water-based tire shining products are generally safer and thus should be prioritized.

The worst thing you can do is leave your car baking in direct sunlight no matter if you apply tire shining or not. Not driving your car regularly also speeds up the cracking and drying process which means that you should drive your car and keep it out of direct sunlight, especially during the summer.

No matter which product you end up using, you need to follow the instructions listed on the bottle as some products may require a more specific approach. Either way, be sure to clean all the residue of your tires from previous tire conditioning products as these can cause all sorts of defects if mixed together.

Water-based tire shining products are much easier to clean and should not cause any defects if they come in contact with other car components such as paint. You need to be extra careful while using more aggressive oil-based products, especially those that are designed to last for months on end.

Can Tire Shining Products Cause Tire Cracking?

Low-quality tire shining products can sometimes speed up tire cracking but extended use of harsh and acidic degreasers and cleaning products contribute to tire cracking a lot more. With that being said, no matter which product you use and what you use it for, you need to follow the instructions carefully if you want your tires to look good for the longest.

Tire shining/dressing products should not contribute to tire cracking all that much if you use them properly. If you come across any visible crevices on your tires, be sure to adress those cracks immediately before they cause any more issues.

Can Tire Shining Products Cause My Tires To Turn Brown?

Modern-day tires are made out of organic compounds called antiozonants which are designed to protect the rubber compound from damages caused by UV light or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. These substances are known to lose their protective characteristics after a while which causes “tire-blooming”.

Most tire shining products if applied correctly should not cause tire-blooming but rather protect your tires from it. However, make sure you keep your tires shielded from direct sunlight whenever you can no matter if you use tire shining products or not.


Tire shine is not bad for your tires if you know how to use it and if you use a quality-made product. Many people out there believe that tire shine causes all sorts of tire defects such as cracking, blooming, or drying, but these are commonly caused by aging, harsh acidic degreasers, or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

If you read the label carefully and you apply tire shine correctly, your tires are likely going to both look better and last longer.

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