Tires are one of the most overlooked parts on a car. You depend on them for safety on the road, they improve your car’s fuel economy plus the right tire can add the perfect touch to a classic car restoration. With all this riding on your tires, why wouldn’t you take care of them?
Tires Aren’t Just Rubber Anymore
Tires are an engineering marvel that gives a car traction and stability. Today, they are made of a high performance composite of over 60 different materials. Tires contain synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric (cotton or Kevlar) and wire along with carbon black and chemicals called antiozonants, which protect the tire material from splitting and cracking.
Brake Dust Damage
Brake dust can eat into the coating on your wheels and pit the metal if you allow it to collect for too long. It consists of adhesive and carbon fibers emitted from the brake pads as well as tiny metal shavings from the rotors. Heat and friction created by the wheels combine to turn brake dust into a highly corrosive mixture that’s a challenge to keep clean.
The Ozone Can Damage My Tires?!
Yep, it’s called tire browning. When a tire is exposed to the ozone its antiozonants oxidize, creating a residue that turns tires brown. Also known as “blooming,” it can combine with brake dust to form a nasty coating on a tire’s surface. This will greatly reduce the life of your tires.
Soap, Water and a Little Muscle
Tire maintenance is essential. Checking the pressure regularly, rotating and balancing them and conditioning the rubber are all ways you can extend the life of your tires. The best way to avoid damage from brake dust and tire browning is to clean it off. Choose a cleaner that is ph balanced since acidic cleaners can worsen browning. Otherwise, regular soap, water and a stiff bristled brush (with a little muscle thrown in) should loosen up the built on dirt and debris.
Condition Your Tires
Treat your tires after they are cleaned. You are doing more than just giving them a dazzling shine, you are conditioning the rubber. Look for products that are free of petroleum distillates. While these components will give you a glossy shine, they will also build up on your tires and cause browning.
Which Type Conditioner to Use?
There are two types of protectants – water based and solvent based. Water based are usually a combination of natural oils and synthetic polymers containing UV blocking agents. These will wear off quicker but they won’t harm the tire with repeated use. Solvent based products contain silicone and leave a clear glossy film on the tire surface. Avoid the ones with petroleum distillates, which can cause drying and cracking as they build up on the tire surface.
Protect and Revive Your Tires
The purpose of a conditioner is to penetrate and revive the rubber elements of the tire. It will protect it from drying out and shield it from harsh road conditions. A gel conditioner adheres to the tire better and can be worked into the pores of the rubber. There is also less chance of it getting onto your paint the way a spray liquid can. A bottle of gel conditioner will provide more applications since you use less when applying with a sponge.
Get a Showroom Shine
Classic Auto Insurance is proud to partner with SONAX to bring their fine products to the attention of our classic car community. Using the right product to detail your tires will help protect them and give you the showroom finish you are looking for. Don’t let cleaning and conditioning your tires be an afterthought. The beauty and safety of your car is riding on it. Learn more about the SONAX quality line of car care products at www.sonaxusa.com.
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Taking care of your classic car from the wheels up is a work out but finding the right car insurance doesn’t have to be. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.