Vintage Tyres, Classic Tyres, Pre War Tyres, American Tyres and American Wheels Specialist
Just like your car bodywork the whitewall/RWL will need continual maintenance; they are not a fit and forget item, they need love too! You will need to keep the tyres clean with soapy water and an all-purpose cleaner, if you have just black tyres then you can use a Tyre shine. That is available in shiny, matt or new tyre finishes, there are lots of companies selling this product on the market. DO NOT use them on Whitewall or RWL letters many of these products have enhancers for black tyres that will discolour the white rubber permanently, or you will have a very difficult job to remove the silicone.
Why are my ancient tyres still white and my new tyres are turning brown?
Unfortunately we are getting asked this question more and more frequently and the common name for this is called "Blooming". Tyre manufactures are continually pushing the envelope with chemistry and design to create tyres that can keep up with the demand of today's cars and drivers. Higher mileage, more miles per gallon, better all-weather traction, or high speed and cornering as cars get better, faster, more intense the tyres they roll on must change to keep up. We expect increased performance from our vehicles and tyres are an integral part of that, but rarely do we take the time to understand what exactly has changed about tyres other than going from Bias to Radial in the late 60's. Not only has this but Governments and policy makers liked to put regulations in place. Over the years we have had E marks and ECE legislation, then tyre labelling to see how noisy and fuel economy and wet weather braking, they are also demanding that we do not damage the environment and are banning ingredients that Tyre manufacturers used to use because of their carcinogenic reactions to the world.
A few years ago there was a change in the law and it was illegal to sell tyres that were not PAH compliant, the PAH meant that manufacturers had to remove some oils that were carcinogenic and since that time we have experienced this problem, the stupid thing is that more carcinogens are produced burning a sausage on a BBQ than produced by a tyre in its whole life. For detailed information just put my tyres are going brown in Google you will see black tyres go brown as well, they say to use a tyre shine but if you use them on your
whitewall tyres they will turn it browner even quicker. Any tyre shine product is bad news for a whitewall tyre.
Unfortunately all brands of tyres now need a higher degree of cleaning and even a stored vehicle will be affected by tyre blooming.
Those who have had whitewall tyres for many years all have a secret to keeping them clean. We do sell a Bletchley Whitewall cleaner but this is a strong chemical, the best that we have seen is Brake fluid and a very fine wet and dry, lightly clean and the whitewall will be restored. Be careful not to rub too hard as all the narrow band whitewalls and RWL tyres including BFG use a whitewall veneer. Only the wide whitewalls have a white rubber sidewall.
An anti-ozonant is probably something you've never heard of. It's an organic compound added to rubber materials that prevents, or at the very least, slows the deterioration caused by exposure to the elements. Anti-ozonants are used as an additive in most all of the exterior rubber and plastic parts to one degree or another, but they are most prevalent in tyre manufacturing. The anti-ozonant additive keeps plastics and rubbers from becoming dry, brittle, oxidized or cracking. It does this by preventing the surface of the material from oxidizing and keeps the material pliable.
Thanks to anti-ozonants in rubber compounds we have high mileage tyres, performance tyres, and everything in between. Without it sports cars would shred tires incredibly fast after just a few high speed turns or long track runs where the tires were heated up. Even your daily driven commuter car would need tyres far more often as the sun and heat slowly rotted away the rubber compounds.
Tyre rubber compounds are designed in a way that allows the anti-ozonant to continually work its way to the outside of the tire and as such, continually keeps the outer surface and sidewall pliable and resistant to oxidation.
Once anti-ozonant reaches the outside of the tire and is exposed to air and moisture it oxidizes, the result being a brownish residue. The term for this ugly brownish tyre look is 'tyre blooming'. Just like metals left exposed to the outside world will slowly begin to rust (oxidize) as it is exposed to water and air, so does the anti-ozonant component of the tire rubber.
Making matters worse is the use of mould releases in the manufacturing processes. These lubricant type chemicals provide a non-stick surface for the inside of a tyre mould. The mold release chemical bonds with the tire and hold anti-ozonants onto the surface of the tyre. While some people will point to mould release as the primary and/or only source of tyre blooming, it is in fact often times only a part of the problem. Even after the removal of mould release a tyre will continue to push anti-ozonant to the surface allowing the brown residue to return.