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Buying Guide: Cleaning & Polishing Products

Section 3: Don't Forget the Tires

The rubber that meets the road is often overlooked as part of a full vehicle cleaning. Many drivers are content to just spray off the dirt and get back to business. Because the wheels and tires are always turning, they collect the brunt of the mud, rocks and chemicals found along the highways and backroads. Residue from the roads can weaken the outer layer of a tire making it more prone to blowouts, leaks and warping. Warped, imbalanced and leaking tires can sap gas mileage and every little bit counts in that department. By regularly and properly cleaning your big rig’s tires you can maximize the life of the tires and save money in the long run.

During a full vehicle cleaning it is best to clean the wheels and tires of your vehicle first to avoid over spraying onto a waxed or detailed surface. Because a truck and trailer outfit is so large, we’d also recommend placing a couple of buckets with soap and water on each side of the project. As far as soap goes, dish soaps will do but it’s generally a good idea to pick up a cleaner that is specifically designed for tires.

Some of the equipment you’ll need to start:

You’re going to want a stiff bristled brush (SBB), preferably one with a long handle to reach the spots down near the axles and under the trailer, a couple of buckets water with your chosen cleaning solvent and a good tire protectant & sealant. We recommend California Custom’s Tire & Trim Protectant but there are many options out there. A good, reliable water source is necessary to clean quickly and efficiently and a hose with a spray nozzle is highly recommended. Also, make sure the hose is long enough to spray down the hard to reach areas. There is a lot of surface area concerning your vehicles tires so it is important to make sure you have enough cleaning products on hand at the start of your cleaning project. Nothing is worse than having to stop and run to the store half-way through.

First, you are going to spray down the tires with the hose to knock off any free standing debris and dirt. This will help you know which areas to focus more heavily on with the brush. Then, take the soapy mixture and SBB and scrub down the exterior surface of each tire in circular motions. It is important to apply a decent amount of pressure to break up the caked on residue and chemicals left by the road.

After you’ve done this with each tire, spray them down again to remove the leftover soap. Now, you can either hand dry them or, if you have plenty of time, let them drip dry. After the tires are dry, spray your sealant into a soft cloth or sponge and apply it to the tires. Then, after a few minutes,  lightly buff the surface and you’re done.

By following these simple steps you can add many more miles to your tires and look good while doing it!