Tire dressing sling is an issue that many people battle on a regular basis. The blame is often placed on the product, however the application process is very important and may be the real culprit. In this article I will share my process for ensuring a sling-free, well-dressed tire.
Thoroughly Clean & Dry Your Tires
An important part of keeping your tires looking good is simply ensuring they are completely clean. This is a step that is often overlooked by many vehicle owners because well, they’re just tires, right?
You may be amazed at the amount of dirt and grime that comes off of your tires if they have not been cleaned in a while. This buildup of road grime, dirt, grease, etc. will not only create an ugly looking tire, but it will ensure the tire dressing that you apply does not bond to the tire and therefore won’t last and may create a dirty mess. Routine tire cleaning will keep your tires looking great, and will make them easier to dress and maintain. I discussed some of my personal favorite wheel & tire cleaning products in my previous article which can be seen here. After the tires have been cleaned, make sure they are completely dry before applying the dressing of your choice.
Use Water Based Dressings
Water-based dressings get my vote over silicone based dressings. A nice water-based product will actually absorb into the rubber, leaving a nice looking finish that is almost completely dry to the touch. Most silicone based dressings that I have tried over the years leave a film that sits on top of the surface, rather than soaking into the rubber, and is therefore more prone to slinging… especially when over applied. Silicone dressings will also accumulate on the face of the tire and require a fair amount of scrubbing to remove with a tire cleaner if the layer of gunk is allowed to build up over time.
Apply Thin Coats
Tire dressing should be applied using as little product as possible. A heavy coat may produce a nice, wet look initially, but it will just create a big mess in the end. Applying a thin coat will allow the product to dry relatively quickly. I prefer to apply a small amount of product to a tuf shine tire applicator sponge, then work the dressing into the tire by making numerous passes to ensure that the product has been adequately spread out and there are no areas where excess product has pooled (such as in cracks and grooves of the tire).
Allow Time to Dry & Wipe Away Excess Product
It should go without saying that it is a good idea to allow the tire dressing to dry for a while before driving the car. I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes between applying your last coat of tire dressing and driving the car. It is also a good idea to take an old microfiber towel, or a black all purpose microfiber towel, to lightly wipe your tires before driving the car. This will ensure that any excess product that may have built up on the face of the tire, or in the grooves of the tire, has been removed. Now is also a good time to simply swipe your finger along the face of the tire to ensure the dressing has dried and little to no residue is transferred to your finger.
Now enjoy your nicely dressed tires without worrying about dressing flinging onto your clean paint. If you’ve got your own tips/tricks to avoid tire dressing sling, please share them in the comments below!