All Dressed Up: Get Your Tires Jet-Black

Most modern vehicles sit atop large, impressive rims. And nothing shows them off better than shiny black tires.

Getting the look is easy enough with some tire dressing on the sidewalls.

“If the gloss finish is your style, there are plenty of wet product options available,” said Mark Tucker, brand manager for Black Magic. “If a more subdued finish is your style, try a matte finish product that gives your tires a deep, black, velvety look.”

Here are some tire dressing tips, courtesy of Ron Fausnight, research and development manager for ITW Global Brands, makers of Black Magic products:

  • Apply to clean, dry tires. The tire dressing will adhere better, last longer, and look better.
  • For water-based silicone emulsion sprays, spritz the product onto the tires and wipe it evenly across the surface with a clean rag. These products are less potent, and may require re-application every couple of days, depending on the weather.
  • Solvent-based sprays last longer—generally a week or more—and produce a slicker, shinier surface.
  • Gel formulas applied with a sponge are more precise—no overspray onto the paint, wheels, or driveway.
  • Let dry. Let the liquid or gel formula set dry at least an hour, and overnight is probably best. If you don’t let it dry long enough, or apply it too heavily, it may “sling” onto the rocker panels at the outer edge of your car’s underbody when you drive.
  • Wax-based tire dressings produce the longest-lasting wet-look shine (eight to 10 weeks) and also dries faster than liquids or gels.