REVIEW – Tires. They are your vehicle’s contact with the road, so they are exposed to tons of dirt and grime. They’re one of the most overlooked items when cleaning your vehicle, though rich black tires really do enhance the look of whatever you ride in. Chemical Guys are suppliers of everything related to automotive cleaning. Today I am testing their Total Extract Tire and Rubber Cleaner. Let’s see what he does.
What is this?
This is a tire cleaner. It is designed to rid your tires of road grime and oxidation. What it is not is tire dressing. To get that deep, shiny black look, you really need to apply some kind of tire dressing after a deep cleaning. The deep cleaning part is what this product is made for. Using this not only removes gunk from the tire, but also ensures that the rubber is ready to accept your favorite dressing, helping it last longer.
What’s in the box?
The cleaner comes in a spray bottle. Since it is designed to spray directly onto the tire, there is no applicator included.
- UPC: 842850108341
- Weight: 1.1 lbs.
- Size: 16oz
- Application method: direct spray via included trigger sprayer
Design and features
Here are Chemical Guys instructions for use.
- Always test a small, inconspicuous area before first use.
- Shake well.
- Rinse the tire with a brisk stream of water to loosen debris and dust.
- Make sure the surface is cool before use, then spray the product directly onto the tire surface.
- Scrub the tire with a tire brush to remove dirt and debris.
- Thoroughly rinse the tire with water.
- Repeat the above steps if desired.
- Let the tire dry completely. Once the tire is dry, apply the desired tire sealer, tire shine, coating or ceramic coating.
Well, they didn’t send me a tire coating, tire shine, coating, or ceramic coating, so we’ll skip step 8.
This is a cleaning tool that claims to return your tires to the condition they were in when they were new – clean and free of dirt, grime and old tires. Let’s get to cleaning and see what happens.
Here are Chemical Guys claims about the Total Extract product.
- Helps remove hard oxidation and accumulated dirt from rubber
- Helps restore tires to their dark, rich color
- Ideal for use before applying your favorite dressing, tire shine, protector or ceramic coating.
- Watch dirt and grime dissolve quickly with this fast-acting, easy-to-use formula.
- Quickly eliminates tire browning (tire “blooming”)
- Formulated for use on tires and rubber trim
Let’s do a real-world test and see what happens. This is the left front tire of my SUV.
With around 6,000 miles, it has the standard brown tire look.
I taped the tire in three areas.
I sprayed the tire with water as directed, then attacked each area as follows:
- I scrubbed it with a wet brush
- I poured Dawn dish soap on the brush and scrubbed it with the brush
- I sprayed the area with Total Extract then scrubbed it with a brush
I then rinsed the tire and let it dry. The Total Extract spray has a pleasant, rather fruity aroma. I was expecting something more industrial and was pleasantly surprised.
To me, Zone 1 looked the same before and after cleaning. I couldn’t say that I had done anything. Zone 2 looked a bit better, mostly on the most elevated area in the middle. I rubbed as evenly as possible, but it looks like only the middle of the sidewall got clean. Area 3 at the bottom looks uniformly clean and darker black. It’s not shiny and black, but that’s what tire dressing is for.
Another thing I noted was the condition of the brush. After just scrubbing the wet tire, the brush felt like, well, the brush. After scrubbing with Dawn dish soap, the brush was dirty – hmm… that’s different. After scrubbing the area treated with Total Extract, the brush was dirty. So it looks like the Total Extract product was doing something that the dish soap and water didn’t. It removed more dirt and grime from the tire. Again, this would better prepare the rubber to receive a tire dressing. It’s a shame they didn’t send some of it, as that would have demonstrated how essential the cleaner would be in preparing the tire for dressing.
After putting the vehicle through the car wash and driving a few hundred miles. let’s take a look.
(I rotated the photo to get the wheel aligned like the photos above – I was too lazy to move the vehicle around to get the wheel in the correct position)
It’s hard to tell a big difference in the areas of the tire, but on closer inspection the bottom third looks more even. It’s not deep black, but, without tire dressing, it makes sense. To examine, the upper left third was cleaned with water, the upper right third was cleaned with dish soap, and the lower third was cleaned with Total Extract.
During the first cleaning, I also cleaned the other three tires with Total Extract. After the mileage and car wash, the other three tires also looked uniformly clean.
Based on my usage, I expect to be able to clean all four tires at least ten times, maybe more. That works out to less than a dollar per cleaning – not a bad deal.
What I like
- It seemed to clean the tire
- Pleasant smells
- Easy to use
- Reasonable price
What I would change
- Nothing, but I would recommend using a tire dressing for great visual results
This tire cleaner seems to do just that: clean the tire. After cleaning, the area cleaned with Total Extract looked better than the areas I had cleaned with just water and Dawn dish soap. If you’re looking to make your ride super clean and want to make sure your tire dressing is as durable as possible, Total Extract certainly seems to help you make sure your tires are primed and ready.
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Source: Sample of this product was provided by Chemical Guys.