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Product Review: Tuf Shine Tire Shine Kit


The members of the Ask A Pro blog are constantly bouncing ideas, techniques, and product recommendations off of one another and on multiple occasions last year Greg Nichols brought up this new product called Tuf Shine. He said that it was a semi-permanent tire dressing, and was giving it glowing reviews. Yeah, yeah, another new tire dressing…been there done that. We figured he was just pitching the product because it was from his home state of Utah.

While we were attending the SEMA Show in Vegas last Fall, Greg was once again singing the praises of the product. And when we caught a ride after dinner with him one evening, he made a point to show us the tires on his Explorer. Hmmm…it actually looked pretty good I thought. Since he had us as a captive audience during the drive back to the hotel, he continued to tell us more about the product, and said that (a) we should start using it and (b) Detailed Image should start carrying it. When he dropped us off, he reached into the back of his SUV and grabbed a Tire Shine Kit out of his stash and said: “Here…give it a try”. I knew I was getting pitched, but I didn’t expect to receive anything for evaluation on the spot! I need to get Greg his own infomercial show…he’s good.  🙂

So I brought the (very nicely packaged) Tuf Shine Tire Shine Kit back to Ohio with me, and tried it out on the next car that I worked on.

What differentiates Tuf Shine from your standard tire dressing is the fact that it’s a rubber clearcoat being applied to the tire, and not a “dressing”. And after a few minutes drying time, the tire is completely dry to the touch…no black residue will come off onto your hands (or clothes). It’s a completely different type product…

The Tuf Shine Tire Shine Kit has everything you need in one package…Tire Cleaner/Prep, Tire Clearcoat, Applicator Sponge, Tire Brush, and Nitrile Gloves.

In the detailed kit instructions, it talks about the necessity to do a thorough job cleaning / prepping the tires first prior to applying the Tire Clearcoat since it won’t fully bond to the rubber if silicones and contaminants from previous tire dressings are present. The better the prep, the better the finish and more durable the application. While the first time you use the kit it may take more time since you need to deep clean the tires, any subsequent applications should be much quicker because all you will be doing is freshening up the clearcoat.

So first take a dirty tire, and spray on the Tire Cleaner / Prep. It takes a strong cleaner to remove all of the contaminants built up on the tire, so you need to be careful with its application. Don’t let it dry on any surfaces, and be very careful around uncoated wheels.

After you let it sit on the tire for a minute, use the included Tire Brush and scrub the surface until it comes completely clean. It may take several applications / scrubbings to get the tires completely clean, but a little extra time invested now will help you maximize your looks and durability.

Once you have finished scrubbing, and the cleaning solution is no longer brown, then you’re ready to thoroughly rinse off your tires and rims. Also be sure to rinse around any painted areas where overspray could possibly get to.

After the tire is dry, put some of the Tire Clearcoat into the applicator sponge and evenly apply it to the tire surfaces. It is a runny solution (not a gel), so be careful not to use too much. A few extra wipes with the sponge should evenly disperse the Tire Clearcoat. NOTE: In the photo below, you will see a patchy look to the tire where I haven’t applied the Tire Clearcoat yet. This is what the tire looks like if you don’t thoroughly clean it in the first step (yes…that means I failed to clean it properly for my photo session…sorry).

After a few minutes, the Tire Clearcoat will completely dry to the touch. If you want a higher level of gloss you can do 2 or 3 applications, allowing ample drying time between coats.

The finished product is a nice, dark look without being overly glossy, and without any worries of residue slinging onto your freshly detailed car!

When the tires are fully prepped, you should continue to see a nice finish that lasts for months…not days or weeks. If you use harsh wheel cleaners on a regular basis, or you scuff your tires, or you just wish to refresh them for a special occasion, then a quick application of just the Tire Clearcoat is all that is needed.

I have been using the Tuf Shine Tire Shine on my personal car since the fall, and have been quite happy with the results. And when I use them on clients’ cars, they’re always happy how the nice finish stays over time.

Like any product, it will eventually start to lose its lustre, but it by far surpasses any other tire product in terms of durability that I have ever seen or used. If you have multiple cars in your family that you take care of, or you are a professional detailer, you’ll go through a lot more of the special tire cleaner than you will the clearcoat itself. So be prepared to buy the stand alone bottles of the Tire Cleaner / Prep if you’re working on more than a couple of cars.

I hope this helps!

Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail
Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio

25 comments on Product Review: Tuf Shine Tire Shine Kit

  1. Marc Harris says:

    Thanks for the review Todd. After reading what you and Greg have to say, I plan on trying some out myself – it certainly looked outstanding on that Porsche 951!

  2. Tom Heise says:

    Hello Todd
    I have KMC powder coated wheels how will this TUF SHINE react to them when i clean my tires with it.

  3. Tim says:

    I’m not even gonna bother acting like I’m not going to try this or anything else that finds its way onto Detailed Image. I’m a total detailing junkie. Thanks for the reviews Greg and Todd.

  4. Eric H. says:

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for the review – and to Greg too, for his review.

    I’m wondering about the level of gloss. Is that 1 coat in the 2nd to last picture of the Porsche? This gloss level looks lower than that in Greg’s review. And I tend to favor this matte look, like I’m getting from Opti-Bond tire gel. Comparable look?

    Thanks, -Eric H.

    • Hi Eric. I believe that’s just one coat on the Porsche. When using it on my own car as well, I found that just one or two coats provided more of a matte finish similar to what you get with Opti-Bond. I know you can build up the gloss level by the amount of coats being applied.

  5. Bob L. in Rochester, NY says:

    Todd, once again, thanks for the well written review and great photos. My question is the same as Eric H.’s, above. Personally, I use a little Opti-Bond to richen the look/gloss. Will the Tuf Shine be really “glossy” if applied correctly in multiple quotes? Appreciate the feedback if you’ve had the experience.

    Regards, Bob

  6. DocR says:

    that looks great, i’m not a HUGE fan of the finish, but if it lasts months i’ll give it a try. beautiful car, i have a GR 944s2 myself:)

    • With this product you can go from a matte finish with fewer coats, or add more gloss by doing multiple coats. Thanks, and you obviously have a good choice in cars if you own a 944…great vehicles!

  7. Nick says:

    This stuff looks great! One concern though… I’ve read some negative comments saying this stuff can make the tire look like candy or plastic. Doesn’t give it a natural shine look. I’m assuming this could be related to the amount of sealant you put on? Looks like you just used one coat and it looks pretty darn good to me!

    • Nick,

      I’ve only applied one or two coats on every car that I’ve applied it to, and all of them (including my personal car) have the same matte finish that you see on this Porsche.

  8. Mike Williamson says:

    I have white letter tires on my show car. Will there be any problems with that as far as dulling out the white lettering or black carry over onto the lettering?

  9. Nick says:

    After thoroughly cleaning the tires once with the cleaner/prep, will you ever have to “thoroughly” clean the tires again using the cleaner/prep??

    • You shouldn’t need to provided you keep a fresh coat of the clearcoat on them. If you let the tires go for a long time without applying, or apply something else over top of them, then you’d probably want to do a thorough cleaning/strip all over again before proceeding on to your final dressing.

  10. John Cooney says:

    Well boys and girls (if there are any girls on here) I went and bought this product and all i can say is “WOW”. The great thing about this product is that you control the shine on the tires. 1st coat is a nice matte finish.2nd coat is a slight glossy look, and the 3rd is high gloss ,and what a gloss it is. Great product guys!!! THANKS

  11. Nick says:

    I’ve used this product on both of my cars and I am amazed by it! Are there any wheel cleaners that you can use that won’t harm the tire clearcoat???

  12. Chuck says:

    Has anyone tried this on rubber floor mats? I was wondering if it would bring darken the mats without making them slick.

    • While I haven’t tried this, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. At least on tires, it goes on dry and doesn’t have a “slick” feel to it. Sounds like an opportunity for a product test!

    • JZ says:

      From the manufacturer:

      “Perfect for rubber floor mats as well. Just clean surfaces with TUF SHINE Tire Cleaner and apply TUF SHINE Tire Clearcoat to restore mats to a “better than new” appearance.”

  13. Patrick Ross says:

    I used to make my own tire paint, back when the eco system wasn’t much on our minds. Mix some glossy black enamel with gasoline, add some vegetable oil to nourish tire and keep from fine cracking. Worked great, cheap, not so environmentally friendly.

  14. Richard Manrique says:

    Tuf Shine also makes Black Restore which darkens the tire color after washing/scrubbing with the tire cleaning product, but before applying the clear coating. You can also buy the kit with everything included.
    The Black Restore does work and does NOT SLING – dries in about 15 min. I usually apply two coats of Black Restore 30 min apart, and a day later top with ChemGuys Tire and Trim Gel which also does not sling after 15 min of drying time. The CGTTgek really adds to the gloss, and makes more water/slime repellant during the winter. Stands up to pressure washing.

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