Here's the problem.

The main reason most of us apply tire shine is to eliminate the dry, gray-brown look of a freshly washed tire. Unless your tires are new, this is what they look like naked and it's not pretty. By the way, most tire manufacturers look down their noses at tire dressing, saying all the chemicals your tire needs for a long service life are built in and can't be improved upon by anything you spray on it. We tested seven tire shine products to see if any were up to the job.

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Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Gel

We found it too shiny, though you may like that sort of thing, but in other spots it was dull and showed uneven coverage. This was the case upon application and after seven days.

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Armor All Original Protectant spray

Quite a surprise with its even, satisfying mid-shine immediately, after seven days, and after a light wash. Add its lowish cost to the equation and it came out our favorite in this test of seven products.

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Car Guys Tire Shine Spray

If I had to pick a runner-up to Armor All, it might be the Car Guys product, though at almost twice the price, our experience with it wasn't twice as good as Armor All spray.

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Chemical Guys VRP Protectant

Almost identical to Car Guys was Chemical Guys in terms of initial and eventual finish, though the former is a spray and Chemical Guys is a liquid. I'd have a hard time choosing between the two. Here's a tip: The Chemical Guys product is much cheaper than Car Guys in real-world Amazon pricing.

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Griot's Garage Vinyl and Rubber Dressing

True to its high-end, high-cost image, Griot's spray was the second most pricey in our test but yielded a result perhaps only a few of you will enjoy: No shine, just a natural rubber look. For what it's worth, this is a general purpose vinyl and rubber dressing that is also indicated for tires.

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Trinova Tire Shine Spray, lower shine

Trinova's gotten a lot of attention for its line of products that promise high tech formulations. This one promises to be a no-wipe process, but we also applied it with a wipe down after 15 minutes to get a lower-shine version as well. The lower-shine finish that results from that follow-up wipe were nice.

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Trinova Tire Shine Spray, full shine

If you apply the Trinova spray and leave it alone, you get a more showy shine that I found less satisfying, but it also saves you the step of a second wipe down after 15 minutes.

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Meguiar's Endurance Tire Gel

Dead last, in my opinion, is Meguiar's. It claims a high shine, which you get, but it also had the highest propensity to attract dirt and grime. And that high shine was an uneven one, a problem we also had with the Armor All gel.

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A nice waterproof bead

As with waxing your car's body finish, all the dressed tires in our test exhibited good water beading after one wash.

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Tire dressing prices vary widely

Griot's Garage spray was the most expensive product we tested at almost $20 a bottle, but the Car Guys spray edged it out on a per ounce basis. Both were close to a dollar an ounce, while the favorite Armor All spray came in at almost half that.

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