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How to Make Homemade Tire Shine

How to Make Homemade Tire Shine

Did you know that NASCAR got its start by running moonshine? Seriously, back in the day, moonshiners would customize their vehicles with enhanced suspension and slight modifications to their engines to outrun Johnny Law. This homemade solution not only allowed illegal booze to flow through the Southern USA but paved the way to a multibillion-dollar industry that NASCAR has become today.

So – what does this all have to do with making homemade tire shine products? Absolutely NOTHING. I needed a catchy and somewhat relevant intro for today’s AvalonKing blog.

We’re big on empowering people to take on projects that would otherwise require a professional to accomplish. So it makes sense that we’d write a blog about how to make homemade tire shine products.

Now, we’re not fully endorsing ALL these concoctions as being the end-all-to-be-all tire shine products, but they work well. One thing we can stand firm on – none of these homemade tire shine solutions will put Armor All in jeopardy.

So, here are the steps on how to produce these three, decent homemade tire shine blends, some of the common issues associated with these homemade products, and a brief FAQ section.

The Best DIY Tire Shine Products

While I’m certain that everyone has their own homemade tire shine recipe, these three are generally accepted as the best. One quick warning, these are all safe solutions, but you should always use protective equipment such as nitrile gloves and eye protection when blending any of these solutions.

Number 1 – Castor Oil & Alcohol

Back in the day, castor oil was often shoved down the throats of sick kids as a homemade concoction to cure what ailed you. This one is pretty good at bringing out the natural shine of your tires. Here is what you’ll need.

  • Castor oil – 100 ml
  • Dish soap – 30 ml
  • Rubbing Alcohol – 300 ml
  • Water – 2 gallons

Here is how you’ll create the product.

First, you’ll use the dish soap and water to wash the tire. Unlike autobody parts, it’s quite OK to use dish soap to clean tire.

Second, use rubbing alcohol to further clean the tire. This will be done after you wash the tires with soap and a brush. The alcohol essentially acts as an extra step to further remove contaminants from the tire. The key is to use alcohol sparingly since it can dry out rubber products. Put some rubbing alcohol on a towel and wipe the entire tire clean.

Third, once the car tires have dried, and that will be quite quick, use the castor oil to apply on a fresh towel, applicator pad, or microfiber towel. The best way to apply it is to use a circular motion around the entire tire. This will coat the tire and provide a rather impressive homemade shine.

Number 2 – Baby Oil

If you’re looking for the cheapest homemade tire shine formula, this one is smooth as a David Hasselhoff’s baby oil infused chest (no shit – they actually did this for Baywatch). Consider this the equivalent to that really intense dude using baby oil to make their ‘guns’ appear more ‘swole’. Baby oil is a natural, non-chemical thin product that really enhances shine – which makes it perfect as a homemade tire shine.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Baby oil – one cup
  • Water – half a cup
  • Dish soap – 2 to 3 drops
  • Clean towels

Here is what you’ll need to do to pull this off.

First, pour a half of a cup of cold water into a bucket, add a cup of baby oil, and three drops of dish soap.

Second, stir them all together to thoroughly mix them up.

Third, pour everything into a spray bottle and shake it up.

Finally, spray it on the tire and some on a clean towel, before wiping the tire completely.

Not only is this incredibly cheap, but one ‘blend’ will last for a few months likely – even spraying your tires every week.

Number 3 – Lemon Oil

Many car enthusiasts use a tire shine correctly – like a rubber conditioner, to reduce dry rotting and premature wear and tear simply due to exposure to UV rays and contaminants. If you’re looking for this type of solution, Lemon Oil is the optimal homemade solution.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Dish soap – 30 ml
  • Lemon oil – 15 ml
  • Borax – 50 ml
  • Warm water – 2 gallons
  • A tire cleaning brush

Here is how to best utilize these ingredients. The concept here is to act as a cleaner and conditioner at the same time. It’s a quick detailer secret that helps to protect the tire sidewall surface, which likewise serves as a tire wax to reduce UV rays exposure.

First, pour dish soap into a bucket and add water along with the borax. Stir it up to mix well, then add the lemon oil and continue to incorporate it into the mix.

Second, Use the brush to clean the tire using the mix. I would recommend doing this about 4 times around the entire tire, to really clean it good.

Third, coat a clean towel with the mixture in the bucket and complete a final wipe down.

Other Possible Homemade Tire Shine Ingredients to Consider

If you’re thinking to yourself, there has got to be more shit at home I can use to clean and shine my tires, you’re right. The issue is these ingredients aren’t all that great – and are better served on a sandwich or other household ingredients.

But if you’re inclined to try them – who are we to stop you?

  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Cooking spray
  • Lemon juice
  • Motor oil
  • Vegetable oil

Seriously – people have made YouTube videos actively promoting each of these ingredients as the next Armor All product. I shit you not.

Why it’s Important to Protect Your Tires

Before I started my online marketing company Lumin8 OMS, I spent most of my professional career working for companies like Costco, FedEx and the US Department of Defense. In each, I learned the value of acronyms to help me remember shit that was important.

When it comes to protecting your tires, one that holds true is the proven T.I.R.E. concept.

T – Stands for TIDY

The key to keeping your tires in good shape is to clean them regularly. The simple act of washing contaminants off your tires, such as road grime, brake dust, and more can extend the life of your tires. By keeping your tires TIDY, which also includes using a protectant to block contaminants and exposure to UV rays, you can reduce premature cracking, which can lead to blowouts.

I – Stands for INSPECT

The reliable “Penny Test” is a proven method for testing tread depth. The top of Lincoln’s head on the USA Penny measures 2/32nd’s of an inch – which is when it’s time to replace tires.

One item that many car owners overlook is including the tires as monthly maintenance checks. Every responsible car owner should check their tire pressure every other week, especially when there are dramatic temperature changes.

Dry rotting tires or tire sidewall cracking is an overlooked tire inspection. If your tires look like this – replace them YESTERDAY!

But you should also inspect the tire every month for any cracks, bubbles, or odd wear patterns. Wear pattern especially will be an indicator or suspension alignment issues, or improper tire inflation – both of which will lead to premature wear and tear – and possible blowouts.

R – Stands for REPLACE

Many car owners assume that if there is more than 2/32nd tread depth, you’re good. This is bullshit and tends to cause more accidents than you’d think. Most accidents caused by blowouts are due to sidewall damage, which tends to happen due to cracks or dry tires that have sidewall damage. While replacing tires with less than 2/32nds of an inch is vital, it’s just as crucial to replace them if sidewalls are showing any signs of aging.

E – Stands for EASY

OK – here is a GREAT tire guide that explains what all these numbers mean on the sidewall on a tire. The one overlooked is that 97 number – or the load index. It equates to the maximum load each tire can handle.

Maintaining the correct load weight with your vehicle and the tire’s max capacity is another important way to maintain tire integrity. When you overload the vehicle or specific areas of your vehicle (like the trunk) it puts additional stress on the tire, building up heat, and then – POP – you’re screwed.

*Here are my final tire tips – don’t forget to check the spare tire every month. Nothing is worse than having a flat tire, and a spare tire that is low on air. And keep them rotated as recommended by your VEHICLE MANUFACTURER – not the tire company. Your tires should always be matched to the performance of your suspension and OEM components.

Wrapping it Up

While these homemade tire shine solutions are rather good at improving the shine, the key to extending longevity is protection – not enhancement. The Lemon Oil shine products option is really the only homemade formula that helps to accomplish this vital step.

The only other option is to seek professional tire dressing products and use a product with reduced alcohol(s), a tire dressing applicator or other drying agents.

If you enjoyed this article, then you'll love AvalonKing's automotive care products for Do-It-Yourselfers. We create "No B.S products" for an affordable price. And the best part, we treat our customers like family, so if you have any questions or just looking to chat about cars, we're only an email or call away. Check out our homepage here.

Tim Charlet

Tim is part of the AvalonKing team as a content editor. A 30-year automotive guru, marketing super freak, and accomplished publicist & columnist, “Timmah” is also a licensed NHRA Drag Racer, a proud dad of two, and loves a good Guinness two-part pour.
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These are our recommended quantities for the respective type of vehicle. The Volume Savings can be seen besides/below.

Type of Vehicle Recommended Quantity Volume Savings
motorcycle   Motorcycle 1 bottle*
small car   Small car 1 bottle*
sedan   Sedan 2 bottles* Save $35 (25%)
pick-up truck   Pick-up 2 bottles* Save $35 (25%)
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*Please note that it may be a good idea getting an extra bottle, ensuring you don't run out when doing an application.

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