Believe it or not, not that many years ago, detailing your tires was mostly for hot-rodders and low riders.
It was considered something you did for show cars only.
Then a little known company at the time called Armor All came along and got acquired by McKesson, known mostly for opioids today.
And they marketed the hell out of this stuff, and convinced every one of us we needed to be Armor All-ing And dressing our tires to get them shiny and protect them against UV.
Pretty soon we were putting as much of this glop on our tires as we were already putting on on dashboards.
It was the peak Armor All era.
But it did start an enduring appetite to have tires that look as good Wheels they sit on.
So I want to compare some of these tire dressings head to head and we don't have forever so we can't test all thousand of them that are on the market it seems but I have chosen a nice assortment of about half a dozen Based on a matrix of high Amazon popularity and good reviews as well as well-known brand names that have been trusted for a long time, and I've got the old original in here, traditional Armor All.
As a control or a comparison, here my criteria to judge these tire dressings.
First of all, how well does the tire look immediately after you've dressed it?
You want to feel good about the job right?
Secondly, I'm going to wait a week and see how well these have rejected dirt and grime.
Third, how all of these things do sitting out in the sun.
Not very sunny today but I can assure you in the following week these are gonna sit out in some nice hot California sun and let the UV work its magic on and forth.
We're going to give them a second bath and see how the tire shine holds up.
I would love to find one that is really durable for at least one wash after the initial application.
But before we try any of these We gotta first get our tires clean.
A lot of folks don't pay enough attention to cleaning their tires.
They might use the same towel or scrubber they use on the body of the car.
Not a good practice for a lot of reasons, including grime and abrasion you don't want on the paint.
Use a tire cleaning spray, a stout, separate scrub brush, and start with a dry tire.
If the tire shines we apply next hold up well, we won't need need to do this every time we wash the car.
Soon as you put stuff on there, you're gonna start to see this brown sludge come off of there, and that tells you you're starting to lift some of the gunk off the sidewalk.
Okay, I think I'm done.
Okay, our tires are nicely scrubbed clean, but look, as soon as they dry, they just start looking crummy.
They're kind of uneven Gray, chalky, matte finish.
That's what old tires look like.
That's what we're gonna fix.
Now first of all, I've got more products than I have tires so I'm gonna split some of these guys in half and just label them.
Okay, so this is our Armor All tire, traditional Armor All, and this is their Extreme Tire Shine Gel.
It says here, our longest lasting wet black shine.
I hate wet black shines.
But I hate polished wheels too so what do I know?
I'm gonna use this one as a gloss finish because that's all it does and I'll use this one in the way we normally do a matte finish which is to put it on and wipe away the excess.
I don't like gels.
Just my personal preference.
They don't get into all of these details of the tires as well without me here screwing around, scrubbing it into those Crevices, and detail moldings.
I don't like that.
My preference is for sprays, for what it's worth.
So, I'm putting this on with an applicator.
I put some on the applicator so it doesn't just draw it back off the tire.
And then, I sprayed most of it on the tire itself, and again, I'm taking off the excess, because I'm looking for a less than peak shine.
To contrast the high shine I should get from their gel.
All right, the next tire is going to be a split between two finishes of the same product.
This is gonna be the TriNova tire detailer.
And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna put high gloss one direction And lo, another, and it's just a difference in application.
TriNova and here we go.
The way you do the TriNova is you let it dry, air dry to go full shine.
Or after 15 minutes, they say wipe off the excess to do low shine, so I'm gonna put this guy aside and do that in a minute.
Okay, tire number three.
This one's gonna be a showcase for two of the heavy hitters in the industry, Griot's Garage and Meguiar's Endurance Tire Gel.
Okay, here we've got some choices.
The Griot's Garage spray is basically a single finish, so it's just gonna have one way to go.
The Meguiar's gel can go on low, high, or super high depending on how many and what manner of coats you put on.
I hate super high, so I'm gonna put it on in standard shine.
and Griot's the same way.
These guys will be on even footing that way.
All right, the Griot's stuff actually doesn't even say tire on the label, by the way.
It's a vinyl and rubber dressing.
Just work that in.
And it says here then to buff with a microfiber if needed.
And maybe put on multiple applications.
I don't like all the steps.
Ideally, I think most of us would like something that is one step and done so this one is a little bit tedious at the outset.
Here's this Maguire endurance tire jail.
This stuff shows like a diamond reflecting off the sidewall on a polished wheel.
These guys are going for it and promising a lot, it also says here, you get a rich, dark, high gloss shine for weeks longer than ordinary tire products.
They're really asking for it.
Let's find out and as you know, I've got a prejudice against gels.
And against excessive shot, but I will give these guys a fair shake.
Okay, our last two products now are the guys, car guys, tire shine and chemical guys, VRP, vinyl rubber and plastic protective.
This one says it's a super shine finish This one seems to have the ability to go different levels of shine.
And this guy say you can spray it on an applicator and then work it in.
Then leave it on for a nice glossy shine or you can get a super glossy shine by leaving it on and doing another light application on top of that.
I'll take them at the middle.
Now let's go to our other guys here, Chemical Guy.
They kinda don't tell you anything about how it's going to work depending on how you change your application.
So I'm gonna do exactly what I did over here, I'm gonna work it in.
And I'm gonna let it air dry.
Okay, we've done all the dirty work.
Let's see how all our tires compare immediately after application.
That's that satisfaction factor you want as you're putting the bucket away.
We'll start over here with traditional Armor All sprayed on and left to soak in.
This is a finish that is not bad, I gotta say.
It's low gloss, it's soaked in nicely, and it didn't require a lot of effort.
Not bad Armor All.
Over here is the Armor All gel.
It's been on there about ten minutes.
I find it uneven.
It's shiny and not shiny, and I didn't like putting it on because gels are harder than sprays to me, so I'm not super crazy about this initial look.
Let's go to Griot's here.
This stuff looks very natural.
Even more than traditional Armorall, you almost don't know you dressed it, except you have a nice even darkness.
But I wouldn't say you have any shine whatsoever, not even low gloss.
Over here is McGuire's, that endurance gel that promises to be the shiniest of all.
And it is.
But again, I don't like the unevenness.
Like the Armor All gel, where it's kind of matte here, and then super shiny in other areas.
There was a step to make it even shinier, but how much time do I have, really?
Over here we've got our Car Guys stuff.
And this is looking real nice.
A little more of a shine, again, spray and air dry.
And this looks good.
It's a handsome sinny if you like more of a gross.
Not my personal taste but it does look really good.
And then over here we have got the VRP stuff from the chemical guys.
And this in a much less sinny way drying unevenly.
I'll give it a little more time, we'll see what it does long term.
But this is a lower shine but it's definitely saying I dress this tire.
Okay, now our last one is the one where I promised we were gonna do a wipe down after about 15 minutes.
Let's try No but I applied two ways.
We're gonna have the high gloss here when you leave it alone and this is the low gloss, where I'm gonna come by with a dry applicator and take off any excess Okay.
So let's see.
It is a high gloss and it's pretty even.
I'd say it's as good as any I've seen and it doesn't have those issues where it's high and low variably like we saw with a couple of the other products.
And other here on the more matte side, and this will dry a little more.
This is looking pretty even as well.
Now I'm going to let our Washington dress tires sit for a week angle to the California summer sun will be back in seven days.
Okay, first off, here's our armour all tire kind of our control tire because here's classic armour.
All right here It looks really good, doesn't it?
A low gloss, really saturated black but very even.
Up here is the one that I like, almost the least [UNKNOWN] look at even after a week, it hasn't really leveled well, it's still shiny or dry in [UNKNOWN] this stuff does not work for me.
But here's our [UNKNOWN] tire, I did high shine on this half The low shine technique on the other half, they're both pretty high shine as you can probably see.
This one is still pretty brilliant.
I would knock this one down a little more by taking more off once I do the application.
Okay, and here are the guys.
We got the Chemical Guys on top, the Car Guys below.
The Chem Guys up here have a very nice This low sheen extremely even, for just a little hint of being dressed.
I like the way it came out.
And down here's the car guys also very even, and even for a guy like me who's not big on high shine, this is a vice even shine, and not too.
Okay the last two grills garage and Maguire tire shine endurance gel, Gritos is great if you want a tire that basically doesn't look dressed.
But also avoid the splotchiness of gray and brown and uneven aging.
This is just a super thin natural look.
Down here is maguire's endurance gel, I knew I had a problem with it going on and i still do.
This stuff looks so gross it's just too shiny, it looks like it's sitting on the surface.
Of all our tires this one attracted the most dust.
Dirt, and I think I see a bunch of cat hair.
Okay, and as I promised after we got our seven week sun test, we're going to give them a quick wash, get them dry, and then see how they look for durability after one wash.
Okay, so what I'm gonna do is I'm going to give each one of these 1, 2, 3 In each direction.
You'll get two one way, one another.
That's enough to take off grime.
You don't need to scrub your tires More than that in general, unless they're coming off a real dirty cycle.
Give these guys a shower rinse, so we're not hitting them too hard.
Because I'm trying to preserve as much of this stuff on here as I can.
While getting off dirt.
Spit, okay, we acquired a bunch of tires, we scrubbed them good, we treated them, let them sit in the California sun for seen full days, then gave them a quick bath like you would wash your car.
And now it's time to see how they look.
Here's my TriNova tire, my high-gloss treatment was here, it came down a lot after one light wash.
Looks pretty good now.
And this one here that was the lower gloss didn't change much which is nice.
It's very stable if you do a lower gloss and want it to stay that way.
Now let's see here's car guys and chemical guys car guys over here.
Looks pretty natural chemical guys, but these two are indistinguishable.
Now after one wash They were quite different before but now they're both very even very sort of fresh tire look.
Almost don't look dress but do look deep and black, kinda nice.
Okay, on this tire I've got green garage here, and that Maguire's endurance gel over here.
The green hasn't changed at all after a wash not to my eye, Supernatural, almost an undressed look if you like that but evenly black Over here unfortunately this didn't change either.
This is that endurance gel form of wires it looked gross before and it looks gross now.
No go on that.
Okay our last one is the Armor All products tire, here's Armor All gel and here's classic Armor All.
The gel's disgusting.
There is a possibility that in real road use which I didn't simulate.
You get enough spin off here this stuff would look better but it's so uneven.
And so gloppy and poorly in places.
I'm not impressed by either of the gels.
You know it does impress me Armor All this might have the best overall shine of anything I've seen and I'll be honest I'm surprised with all these specialized high tech products.
This is as good or better to my eye in both application initial appearance.
And seven day post-wash appearance has anything else here on the table, which brings us to price.
Based on the best Amazon prices the day we shopped, Griot's was by far the most expensive per bottle and took second place in price per ounce behind Car Guys.
The two gel dressings were by far the cheapest and looked like Armor All spray was the cheapest dressing we tried that actually worked well.
I bet up front about my bias for tire dressing, but here's how I'd rank the strengths of all of these products in this unscientific study.
Armor All spray is the best overall I think initially and after a week.
Car Guys and Chemical Guys, I tied them for second place, with a nice, even sheen that clearly lasts a wash.
Trinova offers excellent flexibility in what kind of shine you want, at the time of a single application.
Griot's Garage has the most natural appearance.
You may actually find it underwhelming Armor All Gel offers a durable high gloss that stays looking wet, but somewhat unevenly and Maguiar's endurance gel is basically like Armor All Gel but attracts cat hair bed.
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