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Old 07-12-2019, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default Tire Care 101

A question about cleaning tires. Whenever I wash the RV I also do the tires with the same wash water. After they dry they still look hazed with road dirt (usually red given the southwest soils). Since new I've never done anything except the standard wash; no spray-shines, etc. since I once read that some of them are actually hard on the rubber and some often end up attracting dirt.

So.......what do you do to keep your tires looking good?


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Old 07-13-2019, 12:22 AM   #2
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If the tires are dirty like that I use Black Magic Bleche-wite to clean them. Bleche-wite is fairly harsh so I put 2 coats of 303 treatment on the tires after they dry. Then 303 treatment every month.

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Old 07-13-2019, 02:39 AM   #3
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:42 PM   #4
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I use AWESOME Tire and Wheel cleaner found at the Dollar Tree store.......for $1.00. Squirt on dry tire and wheel, wait a few minutes, then hose off rubber oxidation and brake dust. Caked on brake deposits may need 2 applications and light brushing. Works great for $1.00.
I think it is industrial soap, and also works well to clean carpet stains.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:06 PM   #5
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I apply 303 after cleaning to protect the rubber from the southwest sun's UV to help prevent sidewalls from cracking. And it makes them look like new as well without a lot of shine.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:14 PM   #6
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I third the recommendation on the 303 products. I have been using their Matte and Gloss Tire Balm products on all my vehicles. It has UV protection and doesn't fly off into the vehicle body panels. I haven't tried the cleaner yet but plan to. Currently I use a spray bottle with dish soap mixed with water or Krud Kutter mixed with water per the directions.
*** 1996 Coachmen RB-19 (E250 chassis) ***
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:23 PM   #7
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I read that too, and that rubber is a natural substance that shouldn't be coated, and that modern tires resist the sun quite well without help. I put a little extra soap in the wash bucket and use a good tire brush and some elbow grease and buff with a terrycloth towel. The towel really seems to pull the stubborn dirt off.
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:45 PM   #8
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I think there are so many different products and opinions out there on tires it gets really hard to know what is going on.

When I have looked into it, nearly all the tire manufacturers say never use anything with solvent or silicone in them as it will degrade the rubber compound. Many also say don't use harsh detergents that are often in the tire and wheel cleaners as it will pull the plasticizer out of the tire surface. For a long time Michelin said the only thing you could use would be their own tire preservative, but then they discontinued it. When hard pressed, they will admit that the 303 is OK to use.

The brown residue on tires is not brake dust in most cases, but is the UV protectors doing their job in preventing oxidation, according to the tire manufacturers I spoke to. They said car was soaps were normally OK to take it off with a sponge, but didn't even like using a brush as it removed the UV protection from the surface. So the brown appears to be ugly, but helpful.

I use the 303, but not completely like the label says as it wastes too much that way. I spray it on heavily and wipe it around with my hand (latex glove if you don't want to get dirty) to get it more even, and then let it dry on the tire. It will mostly dry, with some wet spots left or around the rim, which I then wipe and spread around with a rag. It works particularly well this way if the wheels are off and laid flat on the ground, one side at a time. This way, one coat of 303 will be as heavy as 3 or more done with the label "spray and wipe" method.

One of the worst things for tires is sitting, based on the manufacturers, as the plasticizers and UV protection additives are moved to the surface by driving, and that is necessary because they get consumer from being on the surface. A monthly drive is a very good idea, but most of us don't go to that effort when the van is not being used.

Of course, sun covers are always a good idea if the van sits in the sun for longer periods of time, particularly always aimed the same way.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:57 PM   #9
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I have always worked on two premises.

1. These toys cost a lot of dough and anything I can do to keep up their appearance and value is a plus at selling time, plus just makes the RV look better and I have more pride in the rig.

2. One of the keys in accomplishing (1.) is that over the years I have just bit the checkbook and had indoor storage. That is, obviously, not an option for everyone and at the least I would cover my tires. With indoor storage and either a trip or exercise drive every four or five weeks, my tires look like new with nothing more than a gentle hose wash with a little soap which is immediately rinsed off.
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:11 AM   #10
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However you manage your tires, be sure that you monitor the condition of your stems. Personally I will no longer allow the age of mine to exceed 12 months.

Two years ago, I lost two of them while in the middle of absolute nowhere. They were properly spec'd for the van, they were not that old, but two of them failed spontaneously inside 24 hours (suddenly I heard an audible HISSSSS....), immediately after I had driven almost 3,000 miles in 5 days.

Good Sam paid for itself that day, as the tires had to be repaired in the field (a long and expensive round trip for the servicer).

Top pic: Van on jack to take the weight so that the rim does not come down full force on the tire that is in the process of flattening, pic taken as I waited for the servicer. Rocks piled up and putting pressure on the failed stem to slow the release of air.

Bottom pic: What both stems looked like when removed.


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