Car Care 2: Bumpers and Tires

The age of a car is irrelevant.  The pride lies in the challenging task of keeping a vehicle maintenance free.  One damaging element is the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Its effects intentionally diminish the color of a car’s bumpers and causes tires to weather and crack.   The only solution is to learn the prized tricks of the trade.  Car care is knowing how to use the right tools and preventative maintenance tactics to improve the safety and dependability of a vehicle.  The love of a revving engine each time the ignition is fueled requires time, patience, and even the detestable task of eliminating a bumper mated with squashed bugs.


Before washing the vehicle, begin with your tires.  This action will prevent grime from splashing onto clean panels.  Know the types of wheels you have before buying a cleaner.  On the label, it will offer insight into its strength and you can match the type of wheels you have.  And, yes, there are cleaners, which are safe for “all” coated, painted, or anodized wheels and will also work well on the tires, too.  Upon close inspection, you may notice black grime called brake dust. It will creep into tiny holes within the metal, as well as the pores of the rubber.   Along with a great product, a brush with feathered bristles can help eliminate caked on dust and grease, and prevent scratching.  If your tires are beginning to appear brown and worn, it may need a good scrubbing.  Focus on difficult areas such as the wheel arch, as well as the nooks and crannies in your tire’s sidewalls.  After cleaning, wash thoroughly with either a power washer or a hose set on “jet” before moving onto another tire.  Never allow a cleaner to dry on the tire!

Tip:  Use a microfiber towel to dry your wheels.  Eliminating the excess water will prevent water spots, and more importantly, remove any residual areas of brake dust.

Tip:Wheels needs waxing, too. This effort has a multitude of effects. It will ensure your wheels last longer, appear shiny, and prevent brake dust adhesion!  Find a special spray just for your tires.  Not only will this product maintain the shine, but it will create a slick barrier of protection!

The Penny Test:  If you ever wonder how well your tires are holding up, try the penny test.  It is as simple as placing the head of Lincoln inside one tread.  If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you should replace your tires.  Inspect for bulges, or odd lumps, which may cause slipping or a potential blowout on the road.

A Money Saver:  A tire pressure gauge is an affordable and easy way to prevent a flat tire.  If your car does not give you the ability to check your tire pressure, it is important to routinely determine if all four tires are properly inflated.  You can find the recommended PSA either in your car manual or on the side of the driver’s door.


Technology has made great strides to create a safer and lightweight structural plastic, which has proven to prevent or reduce the physical damage to the front and rear of a vehicle.  Rarely is the bumper the motivation to buy a specific type of vehicle. Despite its proven safety records, it is often despised as a bug magnet.  Experts advise car owners not to use dish detergent, but instead, to invest in a product that offers protection, rather than focusing on the appearance of restoring the look of your bumpers or tires.  A good product will prevent against damage, and provide long-lasting shine.  To remove accumulated materials, use a soft bristle brush.

Tip:  After washing, use a cloth and rub undiluted white vinegar across the car’s bumper to extract any remaining grimy or spotted areas, or mineral deposits.

Tip:  Invest in an external vinyl cleaning gel.  It is designed to clean and restore the shine to a bumper. The gel can be applied with a soft cloth.  For especially difficult grime, a toothbrush can be used.

Prepare the water buckets, hoses, and sponges!  It’s time to shower the bumpers and tires with proper TLC!



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