A little while ago I heard of a product called Tuff Shine. This product is a tire(and some rubber) dressing that claims to last and look good for months. It was explained to me as sort of a "clear coat" for tires. It seemed interesting. After I wash my SUV, it looks pretty good (to me) for a week or two. However, if there is a light rain, this always seems to wash off whatever tire dressing I use to reveal dull, lifeless tires. If I could find something that would last until my next wash (no less months!) I was very interested.
*** Enter Tuff Shine
First off, this product is not available from AG. I had to buy it elsewhere. If AG stocked it, I would have bought it from them. AG's sales and selection leads me to always buy from them first. Not to mention their great customer service. Price doesn't matter too much to me. As usually the difference in pricing between online retailers is only a few dollars here and there. What I like is if I can order everything quickly and reliably I want from one online vendor. AG is usually that vendor.
***The Tuff Shine Kit
The Tuff Shine comes as a kit, and the items in the kit are also available separately . The kit was on sale for $29.95, the normal price was ten dollars more. The kit comes with a tire spray cleaner, tire cleaner brush, the tire clear coat, clear coat applicator (orange sponge), and a pair of rubber gloves.
***Preparation / Cleaning:
I'm going to start this review by mentioning the most import thing to have success with Tuff Shine: clean tires. Apparently, most tire dressings we use contain at least *some* form or amount of silicone. This silicone must be removed from the tire 100% for the Tuff Shine coating to bond correctly. There is a "tire cleaner" spray and brush that comes with the kit. This spray is like no other "tire cleaner" I have ever used.
First off, I thought I was *smart* and I was going to be able to get all the old silicone out of the tire with APC before the kit arrived. I was dumb. Boy, was I wrong. I scrubbed and scrubbed with APC before I even touched the Tuff Shine Tire Cleaner. Once I used the Tuff Shine Cleaner, I realized how USELESS APC really is at cleaning tires. The TS Cleaner brought out all kinds of brown silicone/gunk that APC could not touch. This is something I don't expect you to believe, unless you actually SEE it. The TS Tire Cleaner is the best product of its kind I've ever seen. I wasted my time and product using APC and will never use it again to clean tires. It just doesn't remove the old dressing anywhere near as good as the TS Tire Cleaner does. IMHO the cleaner is an amazing product by itself.
The Tuff Shine kit tells you to keep cleaning and rinsing your tires with the cleaner, until the cleaner keeps coming up white. This was very time consuming. It seemed like the silicone in my tires was never ending. I spent FIVE HOURS, cleaning these
tires over a 2 day period to get all the silicone out of tires.
This is what the cleaner looks like when you finally get all the silicone out:
Also note, in the picture, you can see the tire is up on a board. IMHO, some method is required to get the tire off the ground to successfully get the tires 100% clean. If the tire is just on the ground, you are bound to suck up some dirt when you clean the lowest point of the tire. Another method would be to keep rolling the car back an forth. But, remember, your hands / gloves are going to be wet and dirty and your going to have to touch the car to move it with those dirty hands or gloves.
I have 4 of these boards and drive the car on them all at once so all the tires are off the ground and are easier to get 100% clean. Basically cleaning the tire involves scrubbing the tire with the TS Cleaner using the TS Brush, and rinsing the BRUSH and tire off with a hose in between. This is super important as silicone will hang on to the brush and will just get re-applied as you continue to clean. Silicone is hard to completely remove, and it seems like any trace amount of it on the tire just multiplies. A lot of rinsing of the tire and brush is mandatory if you want to get ALL the silicone off.
Here are some pictures of my newly silicone free tires:
If you have a keen eye, you may notice my truck has two different types of tires: Bridgestones in the rear, and Yokahamas in the front. The first picture is of the Bridgestones, the second of the Yoks. This may seem trivial, but it made a TON of difference. You see, the tires have been treated / dressed the same since I've owned the vehicle (1 year). Over that time I've used numerous dressings from Poor Boys, Optimum, Eco Touch, Wheel Wax, etc... However, when it came to cleaning them, the Bridgestones released the old silicone(products) fairly easily.... The Yoks, on the other hand, did not want to come clean.
Once you gain some experience with this type of cleaner, you can tell if silicone is left in the tire by observing the brush after each round of cleaning and rinsing. If the tire is clean, the brush will be white and non slippery. If silicone is still present, it will be brown to some degree and slimy to some degree. I must have cleaned and rinsed those Yoks 20 times to get the silicone out. This is why the whole cleaning process took 5 hours! This is by no means a knock to the TS Cleaner or Brush, both are the best I have used for their intended purpose. Silicone is just HARD to get rid of, period. Also, some silicone seems to "bleed" out of the tire once it's "clean". This is why I split the cleaning into two days. In the middle of all this cleaning I even tried a small spot of wheel ACID and brake clean. Both of which did not touch the silicone, not to mention the three APCs I tried prior (Megs+, Sonus, and Simple Green).
Here is a shot of a 100% clean, no silicone tire:
In fact, once done with the TS Cleaner, the tires looked so good, I was hesitant to dress them.
Now came the fun part: Applying the dressing. TS recommends 1 to 3 coats depending on how "shiny" you want your tires. They also tell you to let each coat dry (about 10 mins) before applying the next. On this vehicle I like medium shine, but since the coating fades over months I went for maximum shine so I could gauge how long this stuff is capable of keeping your tires having that "dressed look". I decided on FOUR coats.
The coating is like a thiner version of a typical tire dressing. The directions tell you to apply with the orange TS applicator, then smooth out any runs... So, that's what I did.
1st Coat: (it was night by now)
2nd Coat: (with light):
After 4th Coat and Dry: (next day)
It's of my opinion these tires turned out very nice, although some work was involved.
However, there was one tiny tiny snag. Remember I mentioned how HARD it was to get all the silicone out of the Yoks? Well, apparently, there was a spot or two where I just didn't get it all out. On only ONE of the tires, there is a few very small brown sections. These are very small and are only revealed under close (think Auto Geek) inspection.
Apparently, the TS coating will brown and crack if a hint of silicone is left in the tire. Since, the cleaner was by far the BEST thing I ever used to clean a tire, and the other 3 tires came out great, I can only assume this was user error in me not getting ALL the silicone out of the difficult Yokahama tire.
So, being a true perfectionist, I emailed Tuff Shine and ran my story by them in the e-mail. Oddly enough, within a few hours I had a response email from Bob, the guy at Tuff Shine. He offered to CALL ME to talk about this single small issue with one of my tires. Now wait a minute. How often do you email a company about a product, and they don't even contact you back, no less offer to phone YOU to discuss an issue with one of their products. I was impressed. So we set up a time to talk. At that time, Bob phoned me and we discussed the product. It seems, some tires are much harder to make silicone free than others (as my experience went). He recommended a few solutions including: Goo Gone, lacquer thinner, or acetone as silicone removers. Finally, he OFFERED to mail me Tuff Shine's newly formulated tire cleaner and a new sprayer - free of charge. I never had a company offer me anything free of charge, no less ship it to me for free. This was great customer service. And keep in mind, it's only one tire that didn't turn out perfect, and it hardly looks BAD, in fact, it looks very good.
Here are some close ups of the trouble spots:
Here is a step away view from the one tire I had slight trouble with. As you can see it still looks good by any standards and the "trouble" area(s) are very difficult (close to impossible) to spot from a short difference.
About 15 minutes after I talked to Bob from Tuff Shine, my IPhone told me I had a new email. It was from Bob, and it was the UPS tracking number. That fast! Obviously, Tuff Shine is an awesome company who cares about their customers having a first class experience with their products.
Tuff Shine claims the product will eventually fade, but this takes months. I will update this thread in the future with durability pictures and opinions. It's been 5 days since I applied the Tuff Shine coating. Since then, it rained once, I washed the car once, and the car was hit by a sprinkler one for a hours.
Some Jack A** Actually Set Up His Sprinkler Next to my Car! It sat this way for about 5 hours, bathing the tires in hose water. The Tuff Shine was unaffected:
When it's Dry - Its Dry
TS advertises a "White Glove Test", this basically means, once the tire is dry, you can swipe it with a white glove and have no residue or slime on the glove. I don't have white gloves, but I can tell you it's DRY. it's sort of like touching clean paint. Your
fingers will stay clean and dry if you swipe a Tuff Shine Tire.
Here are a few pics a took a few hours ago. The coating has been exposed to water twice, and car wash once. It shows no sign yet of fading or dulling yet.
Individual Tires 5 days / 3 Water Exposures After:
The Truck from about 10 feet back:
I think Tuff Shine is an awesome product. In looking around online, longevity doesn't seem to be an issue. Most are getting 2 to 3 months out of an application. However, the best part about it is this: Once the silicone is out of the tire, and you are done with the initial coating, Tuff Shine doesn't require subsequent heavy cleanings. You simply "top it off" with another coat. You just wash it down with a mild soap (like car wash) and re-apply 1 or 2 coats to your liking. Since there is no silicone in Tuff Shine, once the silicone is out of the tire - it's out. This means, once initial cleaning and application is done, you only have to "dress" your tires every 2 to 3 months at the most, and the dressing/coating is as easy to apply as any other liquid dressing. This means you can pretty much always have nice well dressed tires, even if there has been several days of rain. Also, this also means no more silicone / silicone based dressings or slimy tire applicators. The TS Sponge applicator is easily cleaned of the coating with a hot water rinse as long as its done quickly after administration. Cost wise, it's very reasonable. The kit comes with the best tire cleaner and brush I've ever used. You get enough of the coating to do about 15-25 tires, depending on how many coats you decide to use on each. A new bottle of coating only is about $25.00. One kit should last a long time. I really like the product and plan on to continue using it on my daily driver, and later on my garage queen. The company that makes it seems great and the definitely stand behind their product. I will follow up as time passes. Only problem: AG doesn't carry Tuff Shine - yet.
**** Thanks For Reading!