Tire Blooming: Why Are Your Tires Getting Brown?

Your tires affect how your car looks as a whole. To have a safe drive, you should always drive on balanced tires and make sure your tires aren’t wearing, but to have a nice-looking car, you should take care of the shape of your tires.

After a long time, even if you haven’t gone mudding or rolled over any dirt, your tires’ rubber starts to break down, and a brown film forms on the surface. This is called “Tire Browning” sometimes, but the technical name for this effect is Blooming. Now, let’s look at why this happens and how you can keep your tires clean and safe.

Antiozonant is the reason.

Most likely, you have never heard of an anti-ozonant.

Tire blooming happens mostly because of a compound called antiozonant that is added to the tire’s rubber.

Antiozonant stops the oxidation process from making tires dry out and crack before they should. Tire blooming is a continuous process that can be stopped by keeping the tires clean and protected.

When the antiozonant comes in contact with ozone in the air, it turns brown because of oxidation. 

How does antiozonant make tire sidewalls turn brown?

With time, antiozonant pulls out of the rubber casing, resulting in the formation of tire bloom. When it contacts oxygen, it forms a brown deposit on the tire’s surface. Antiozonant is a natural substance that extends the life of tires by reducing the rate at which oxidation damages them.

What’s the role of an antiozonant?

Thanks to anti-ozonants in rubber compounds, we have tires that last a long time and are good for speed. Without it, sports cars’ tires would wear out quickly after just a few high-speed turns or long runs on the track, when the tires would be very hot. Even if you drove your car to work every day, the sun and heat would slowly break down the rubber compounds, so you would need new tires much more often.

How to Stop Tires Blooming

You might be asking, “What’s the best way to stop this?” Tire blooming can only be prevented completely by protecting your tires, but if it does happen to you, there are a few things you can try to fix it.

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In some cases, a simple car wash soap can be used to get rid of some of the brown on the tires. If you use a tire cleaner that is too strong, it could remove the top layer of rubber and make the tire bloom even more.

How to clean tires in the proper way?

Deep Wheel Cleaner is one of the wheel cleaners that can speed up the oxidation of anti-ozonant when used to remove metallic dirt. When Deep Wheel Cleaner or a similar product turns brake dust into a reddish slurry, you can think of this as oxidation in a very simple way. The chemical reacts with the metal particles and starts to break them down.

Tires that haven’t been cleaned properly in the past or haven’t been cleaned for a long time will have a lot of anti-ozonant built up on the surface. When an active wheel cleaner touches this buildup, it speeds up the browning or blooming process.

Because of this, you need to scrub your tires often to get rid of the anti-ozonant and “dead” rubber that builds up on them. It’s almost like exfoliating your skin. If you use Deep Wheel Cleaner or other color-changing wheel cleaners often because they get rid of hard-to-remove brake dust, make sure to scrub your tires for a couple of extra minutes.

Does this mean you should definitely stop using Deep Wheel Cleaner? No, but it should be used with the knowledge that the tire needs a deep clean after the wheel to get rid of any leftovers or to stop the oxidation process from making the tire bloom faster. 

Try to use a tire cleaner that is strong enough to get rid of existing dirt, but not so strong that it could hurt the tire or wheel coating. Even after you’re done washing the tire, it might not look like it’s gone. So, the tire protectants comes into play. 

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What can you do if your tires are brown?

Tire protectants (Dressings)

Use some kind of tire protectant to finish the job of getting rid of the tire blooming and even to stop it from happening in the first place.

There are two main kinds of tire protectants: water-based and solvent-based. 

Water-based protectants

Water-based protectants won’t hurt rubber over time. Most of the time, they are a mix of natural oils and synthetic polymers. Some of these water-based protectants have ingredients that block UVR to prevent tires from fading, cracking, and getting too hard.

Most water-based products are better for the environment than those that are solvent based.

Solvent-based protectants

This brings us to tire dressings that are made from solvents. This kind of tire dressing is made with silicone and leaves a clear, shiny film on the tire.

Pay attention to what the product you are using is made of. Some dressings have petroleum distillate, which can cause the surface of the tire to dry out and crack over time.

Water Vs Solvent based Protectants

The “carrier” is the main difference between protectants made with water and those made with solvents. To keep the product in place, solvent-based products use hydrocarbon silicone, while water-based products use water.

Could silicone turn the tire brown?

People have thought for years that silicone-based tire dressings are to blame for tires that are brown. If you read any forum, the first thing most casual detailers will say is that the person with the problem needs to change the tire shine they are using.

Even though silicone can be a messy and sticky way to make your tires shine, it isn’t always the main reason your tires turn brown.

Most browning caused by silicone is dirt and debris sticking to the tire’s surface, not the tire itself turning brown. This kind of browning is easy to get rid of, and silicone dressings can also be removed with scrubbing and a degreaser like All Purpose Cleaner.

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Tire blooming can be caused by mold releases.

Mold releases are lubricants that keep things from sticking in tire molds. They make it easy to get ready tires out of the molds. Some of the lubricants usually stay on the tire, which could make it bloom after just a few weeks of driving.

Mold releases applied in tire production do not cause browning of tire sidewalls. However, they contribute to the problem by keeping antiozonant on the tire surface. In addition, the oxidation process will leave a greater amount of brown residue the closer it is to the tire’s outside edge.

How Important It Is to Clean Tires Regularly

If the sidewalls of tires always turn brown, you can’t eliminate the color completely.

But washing and cleaning tires regularly will prevent tire blooming or temporarily remove it if it already exists. So Always clean your tires when you wash your vehicle.

Each tire has its own unique tendency for blooming. This depends on the rubber composition, tire type, driving conditions, etc. However, routine cleaning and protection will help you extend the life of your tires and prevent blooming.

There are several ways to clean tires. Regular cleaning using leftover car wash detergent and a tire brush should be enough. However, if you wash your vehicle infrequently or if your tires are already severely stained, a rubber cleaning agent will be more effective than car wash soap.

Final Thoughts

Preventing problems is always better than fixing them after they happen. Make sure you use a good tire conditioner to keep your tires in good shape. If you use a good conditioner, you shouldn’t have to worry about your tires getting brown or cracking in the future. Do you know of any other ways to make a tire bloom? Tell us about your experiences!

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