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Classic Car Tip: Keeping Your Whitewall Tires White!

whitewallIf you have whitewall tires on your classic car or truck then you know all too well how hard it can be to keep them shining white. Normal use can leave unwanted smudges, brake dust and road grime on the white band of your tire and can be difficult to remove with normal cleaning methods.

Even when they are brand new it can be hard to get them super bright after removing the blue soapy coating that’s manufacturers apply to them for protection. It is common to remove that blue coating and be left with a dull and dingy whitewall. In some cases they can even have a yellow tinge to them. These are whitewalls not yellow-walls. So what can you do?

Your first thought might be to use a brush or scrubbing pad like a Scoth-Brite Dobie pad or a Clorox SOS pad and a whitewall cleaner. If that works to remove smudges or road grime then great, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. Sometimes the stains or blemishes go deeper than simple elbow grease and cleaner can conquer.

Your next solution might be the use of a solvent like Prepsol or a lacquer thinner. Using a solvent and steel wool together might do the trick, but there are certain situations (like the blue coating) that sometimes seem impossible to get rid of. Don’t despair because we have one more tip that will likely be a cure-all for this issue.

As a last resort you can use a wet/dry sandpaper to help remove a thin outer layer on the whitewall which will reveal the bright white rubber underneath. We suggest using a fine sandpaper like a 150 grit wet/dry. The finer the sandpaper the better (within reason), you don’t want to use coarse 60 grit sandpaper that will leave a rough texture on your tires.

Your best bet is to go slow and take your time so you do not remove too much rubber each time you perform this task. You also want to make sure you stay clear of your rims or hubcaps. Sandpaper can easily dull or scratch chrome so proceed with caution. Get a bucket of water and keep the tire surface wet while you carefully sand away the outer layer of grime and discoloration off your whitewall. You will be surprised with the results and how white your whitewalls actually can be.

Once you have your whitewalls shining bright, the best way to maintain that shine is to regularly clean them after every use. We find that is the best way to keep your tires looking their best.

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