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Tires look best when they're black, but you might notice that yours are turning brown on the sidewalls, like these Michelin Pilot tires I was working on yesterday.
Tires turn brown because manufacturers use an additive in the tire's rubber called antiozonant. Antiozonant protects your tires from dry-rot and cracking caused by ozone, sunlight, acid rain, road grime, and the tire's natural aging process.
By design, tires release antiozonant to the sidewall surface as they flex while driving, but when exposed to air antiozonant turns brown.
The problem is the brown residue left by the antiozonant stains the tire's sidewall permanently and no amount of scrubbing or chemicals can bring them back to black!
The severity of tire-blooming varies from tire to tire, but I've noticed that premium tires which contain more antiozonant for their longer service life "bloom" with more intensity, as do vehicles that are driven occasionally.
Tire-blooming is considered a cosmetic condition by manufacturers and usually not covered by warranty, but if your brown tires have got you down, I recommend filing a customer satisfaction claim by contacting the tire manufacturer directly.
If you want to make your tires look good again, you’ll need to wash them often. We use Eagle One A2Z All Wheel & Tire Cleaner, then apply a protectant like Wizards Tire & Vinyl Shine to bring the black back.
There are two types of tire protectants: Water-based and solvent-based:
- Water-based dressings are usually a combination of natural oils and synthetic polymers that appear milky when applied. I recommend Wizards Tire & Vinyl Shine because it won't harm your tire's rubber and is environmentally-friendly. Wizards Tire & Vinyl Shine also contains UV blocking agents to further help prevent your tires from fading, cracking, and hardening.
- Solvent-based tire dressings use silicone and solvents as a base. By filling in the rubber's pores, solvent-based tire dressings leave a slick, glossy finish on the surface of the tire, but they accelerate the tire cracking process and void your tire's warranty. I recommend staying away from solvent-based tire dressings and protectants, but if you like that extreme wet & black look, try Adam's Tire Shine.
For questions and concerns about tire-blooming or your tires in general, let us know.
Kenwood Tire & Auto Service is a family-owned and operated, a unique tire store you can rely on to get you back on the road with a minimum of fuss.
Find honest advice, good tires, quality service, plus the people and support you need to make your new tires a good investment. Let us help you with your tires today!