Friday, December 9, 2022



Give your RV tires ‘the old Shinola’?


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

It’s the kind of thing that might appeal to the Imelda Marcoses among the RV set: Those nice tires we keep under our trailers, tow vehicles or motorhomes. Everybody likes those “shoes” to look good. But how do you best do it?

We once heard about an RVer who was told one of the best ways to keep his rig’s tires looking good was to give them a good “paint” of transmission fluid. Whoa! “Oh, yeah. Shines ’em right up!” Maybe so, but it’s an awful expensive exercise for tire “makeup.” Tires are pretty peculiar beasts, and like the man says, you’ve got an awful lot riding on them to be making mistakes. Painting your tires with transmission fluid is a definite way to wind up paying dearly. The oil in tranny fluid will cause them to rapidly deteriorate, with possible disastrous consequences.

OK, how about some of those nice silicone-containing spray-on potions? Years ago we were in the upholstery repair trade — fixing vinyl seats in restaurants and on car lots. A lot of folks got snookered into spraying “Armor All” on their seats. Made them shiny and slick, and it brought us a lot of business because the stuff dried the material out, and cracks are a result of drying out. Tires are somewhat the same: Tire makers put chemicals into their tires to keep them from drying out. Put oils or other chemicals on them to make ’em look nice, but counteract the internal chemicals — the tire dries out, cracks, and pretty soon they deteriorate.

At a training seminar at an Escapee’s RV convention, the featured speaker was “retired from the tire industry.” His advice? When you’re sitting put in one place for a while, COVER the tires to keep the UV rays off them. Don’t put ANYTHING on them to “treat them.” If you don’t like how they look, then wash them with soapy water and rinse them off. His years of insider experience taught the lesson: There’s nothing on the market that you can spray on or paint on that will preserve them, and most will actually do harm.

##RVT790 ##RVDT1315

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Roger Marble
2 years ago

My advice as an actual tire design engineer who specialized in failed tire forensic analysis, I suggest to only use the same “cleaner / soap” and same “rags / brush” to wash your tires that you use on the paint on the side of your RV.

Robert W
2 years ago

Kind of like the “nitrogen in your tires” that is currently being promoted. Other than being used in the racing industry it is a money making scam.

Bob Fuller
2 years ago

This was a great article, Thank You I will no longer use only soap,water & elbow labor !! Heard the pros/cons for years and now I know.

arlene monnar
2 years ago

great to hear, i have long ago, stopped trying to make any tires on my vehicles “look nice”.

2 years ago

Tires another fraud foisted on the public. When I entered the automotive trade in 1967, I drove 15 year old cars with tires and batteries that were sometimes as old as the car. I once pulled a 1954 Pontiac sedan delivery out from beside a garage where it had sat for 18 years. The tires still had air in them. When I replaced them I gave all matching four to another hot rodder who liked the wide white walls. I asked him not to use them for highway driving. Two years later there he was at the first cruise of the year with his car on those ancient tires, still holding air and the car of the ground. I do not recommend this, but it is a sure demonstration on the enduring value and lasting qualities of tires from long ago, verses the garbage sold us today that we “must replace every 4,5,6 years whether they have zero miles or fifty K on them.

2 years ago

303 is designed to protect surfaces of high exposure to the sun like boats. This is a great spray that can safely be sprayed on tires with NO harmful effects. I called Goodyear and discussed the use of this with one of their engineers. UV is the real killer here which breaks down the compounds over time and causes dry rot etc. this spray WILL not harm the tire and WILL extend the life of the tire. It however will not make your tires look “shiny” if that’s what you like. I do not recommend product like that because they will harm the tire.

Roger Marble
2 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

Why can’t we find any independant test data that supports the 303 claims?

5 years ago

Skip, what is 303? And the word is by not “buy”.

2 years ago
Reply to  mike

Mike, It’s 303 protectant- just do a search…many things to choose from. Yes, it works. I know it’s been over 2 years since your post- hopefully you’ll look again.

5 years ago

What about Plastidip? That’s like an extra rubber coating…

Roger Marble
2 years ago
Reply to  Troy

That would be just a surface coating. Is that product good for 15 MIllion flex extensions of 20% at 150°F ? Would be interested in seeing data.

5 years ago

I disagree 303 is recommended buy the tire industry. Been using it for years to protect against UV damage .

Roger Marble
2 years ago
Reply to  Skip

There may be independent tire dealers that suggest 303 but I have not found that information on a company web site or in company literature. If you have such I would really like to see it so I can educate myself.