A great deal of attention is always poured over having sparkling alloys. You can clean them with a wheel cleaner or use a fallout remover to get rid of the embedded brake dust. If you like, you can use a clay bar and polish them, and even seal them with a wheel-specific sealant. In short, the market for clean alloy wheels is thriving.
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But while you can make your BBS Cross Spokes and Porsche Teledials look good enough to eat off, there isn't a massive amount of care directed towards the large bits of rubber that encircle them.
Tyres need to be cleaned semi-regularly to keep them looking their best and owing to the properties of rubber, a proper tyre brush will do the job more effectively. We've found the best examples right here, so your tyres can look like they've just left the showroom.
The best tyre brushes
Mothers Tyre Brush
The best tyre brush
Mothers is a mid-range American car care company that offer a surprisingly large selection of quality brushes at affordable prices. Weu2019re giving Mothers Tyre Brush our top spot because itu2019s so well designed and has good value for money.
For a start, the brush is contoured to match the curvature of a sidewall meaning those short, toughened bristles can cover the greatest surface area possible. The brush also features a rubber lip to keep alloys safe should the item be dropped. Best of all, the handle offers hand protection, very important if you’ve ever had the misfortune of clattering an alloy with your knuckles before. Its size means it may struggle on ultra-low profile tyres but for anything with a fair bit of sidewall, this is our top choice.
Auto Finesse Rubber Scrubber
A fairly standard looking brush (with an awesome name), Auto Finesseu2019s Rubber Scrubber is our top choice for cleaning particularly mucky wheels. It's similar to the Mothers option in that it features a curved head for better tyre coverage and has super-stiff synthetic bristles for removing mud and other nasty tyre grime.
While the handle won't save your knuckles in the event of a collision, it is designed for maximum scrubbing power, handy for wiping away a winter's worth of tyre grime. When not in use it can be hung from a hook for easy storage too.
Chemical Guys Stiffy Brush
The best tyre brush for chunky tyres
Designed primarily for cleaning the mammoth sideways of off-roaders, Chemical Guys Stiffy Brush makes use of stiff synthetic bristles to help strip away any mud, oil and grime that has embedded itself in a set of mud plungers.
Like the Mothers' example, it's designed to not leave scratches should it encounter paintwork and the handle is designed to be as ergonomic as possible. It won’t be suitable for low profile tyres, and it lacks that all-important knuckle protection. Still, it’s our top choice for dealing with knobbly, off-road tyres.
Gyeon Qu00b2M Tire Brush
The best tyre brush for low-profile tyres
After something a little smaller for cleaning sporty tyres? Look no further than this brush from Gyeon. While it may look more like a glorified nail brush than a tyre brush, it's still a really solid choice.
The brush makes use of tough fibres that are on the shorter side, perfect for smaller tyre profiles. It lacks a handle but is at least ergonomically shaped and wrapped in rubber for protecting alloys.
How to best wash tyres
While a decent tyre brush will help scrub away built-up mud and other gummed-in contaminants, it's always best to use a chemical cleaner to best cut through the grime and leave tyres looking factory-fresh. While is perfectly acceptable to use a dedicated wheel and tyre cleaner (like this option from Meguiar's), a strong all-purpose cleaner (like Bilt Hamber Surfex-HD) will also do the job perfectly fine.
What do I need to consider when buying a tyre brush?
Your number one concern should be how thick your sidewalls are when looking for a brush. The stiff bristles can scratch the face of an alloy wheel so it’s a good idea to get one that’s appropriately sized to prevent damage. While there’s not a massive variation in the size of most tyre brushes, consider a larger one if you have chunky, off-road tyres with thick sidewalls and a smaller one for the thin smear of rubber present on a track-ready sports car.
If you own a car with whitewalls or coloured lettering take extra care with how much elbow grease you put in as the brushes can strip away the painted finish.
Why should I use a dedicated tyre brush?
Wheel face brushes will use softer bristles that are perfect for protecting the finish of a polished alloy wheel but simply won't cut the mustard when it comes to a tyre. Tyre brushes don't have to worry about scratching alloy faces and so can utilise much stronger bristles for better cleaning results. Cleaner tyres will not only look better on a cleaned car, but the surface will also bond to a tyre dressing far better, leading to a longer-lasting shine.
What about tyre dressing brushes?
While the short, toughened bristles are good for dislodging muck and other tyre detritus, they won’t be much cop for evenly applying a coating of tyre dressing. Thankfully, proper tyre dressing applicators are relatively cheap and it’s possible to improvise one from household goods.
Martin Cox Genuine American Commercial Tyre Dressing Applicator x 3
With a curved face made from soft foam, this applicator will deliver a consistent coating of tyre dressing. It's also an ergonomic design with a slightly firmer foam used for the handle.
A novel way of applying tyre shine, this washing up sponge can be filled with the solution and used to easily apply to a tyre. Just remember to carefully slice off the scouring sponge end.