Car Corner
More Car Detailing

April 1, 2000
By Scott Lewis

A few months ago I wrote about some tips I have for detailing a car. My biggest contribution to that article (in my opinion) was telling you how to get the best, longest lasting shine on your tires.

Getting Tires Clean

In a nutshell... I told you that the key to long lasting shine on your tires is to get them very clean. The product I have used in the past is Eagle One’s Tire Cleaner. I have been very unsuccessful in finding it in stores for years. But I just found them on the Internet.

If you want the best tire cleaner I have ever used just point your browser to Eagle One’s site and their Tire Cleaner. Do not confuse this with any other Tire Cleaner/Protectant. All other products will not remove enough dirt to allow a separate protectant to maintain a shine for very long.

I found a product from 3M called Tire & Wheel Cleaner. This product was the first time I have seen a cleaner for tires that did not mention adding shine. I bought it because I had not found Eagle One’s web site yet. The product worked as advertised and cleaned my tires about as wheel as Eagle One’s. However, I have a hard time recommending it. The 3M cleaner costs $9.69 for a 14 oz. bottle at my local auto parts store. Eagle One charges $3.99 for an 18 oz. bottle on their web site. I plan on ordering a few bottles in the near future.

Getting Tires to Shine (for a long time)

On to something new. I discovered a new tire protectant product from Meguiar’s. It is called Gold Class Endurance. It claims to last weeks instead of days. Since my own method of using a true cleaner before applying a protectant lets Armor All’s Ultra Shine last days instead of hours, I figured it was worth a look.

This product is a gel, as opposed to a spray/liquid. Instead of spraying it on the tires directly (the preferred method with Armor All) you spread it on with the included sponge applicator.

So how does it stand up to Armor All. The shine it gives is about the same as Armor All’s Original Shine. You have to be a little careful applying it. It is a thick gel, and if you aren’t careful it will build up and look like there is a gel on your tires. Just make sure you spread it evenly because it will not settle to a smoother finish as is dries.

Did it last weeks? Yes and No. Did it last longer than the Armor All Ultra Shine I applied at the same time (Armor All on the front tires, McGuire’s on the rear)? Yes. Is it worth it? I don’t think so (but please read on).

Over the course of a week I closely noticed the shine on the tires. The Armor All Ultra Shine tire had a smoother, richer black look for the first three days. After that you could not tell the difference from more than 10 feet away. You had to look very closely to see their inherent differences. Close up the Armor All tire still looked better.

The Armor All tire maintained a smoother appearance even as its shine began to dull. The Meguiar tire held its shine longer, but it didn’t look as good. The thick gel holds dirt particles that Armor All does not. Therefore, even though the tire protected with Meguiar’s had more of a shine upon close inspection, you could only tell while standing next to the car.

After a week each tire still had a rich black appearance, and from 100 feet they looked like they were cleaned that day, or the day before. After two weeks the Meguiar tire still had some shine, but it was not attractive. It looked as though the dirt building up in the gel was glistening.

After three weeks I took the car to a touch less car wash. Meguiar's claims to last even after washing the car. Sure enough some of the sine returned. However it was blotchy, and looked like it needed it again. The product does hinder the brown crud on from returning to the tires as well.

I can’t help but love the look of the Armor All Ultra Shine tires for those first three days. It looks amazing. However, in doing a little digging around Meguiar’s web site I found they have a High Gloss version of their protectant. I have not seen this on a store shelf yet, so I may have to order it. When I get my hands on the product you can expect a complete comparison between Armor All’s Ultra Shine and Meguiar’s Gold Class Endurance High Gloss.

Maybe someone can send me a digital camera for evaluation, and I could use it to take daily pictures of the tires as their shine slowly dulls. Kodak, are you reading this?

For the moment the title for best tires goes hands down to Armor All Ultra Shine. But we have a valid challenger waiting in the wings.

Stay tuned for round two.