Product Review: Turtle Wax Black Tire Shine, and Why You Should Avoid It


I, like many car owners, have a set combination of car care products that I know works well.  However, every now and then you have to try something new because it might make that combination better.  On the other hand, sometimes it doesn’t work out very well.

This is one of those times.

A few years back, a PR company for Turtle Wax sent  us some new products from their “Ice” product line when it was new to review on the CamaroZ28.Com Podcast.  Among the products that were provided that received a great review from us was the Turtle Wax ICE Total Interior Care.  Quite simply, it worked great, worked on just about everything, and was a breeze to use.  We were impressed.  From that point on, it was the only product I used to clean the interior of my cars, including my Camaro.

Not long ago, I saw a new product by Turtle Wax, Turtle Wax Black Tire Shine.  Shiny tires make a car look great.  However, it was expensive…almost $15 for a can of it.  Based on the description on the packaging, it was perfect.  It was dry when it looked wet, didn’t attract dirt, and was said to last for months.  Perfect.  I bought it and went home to try it out on my daily driver Jeep Grand Cherokee.

They were right about one thing…the tires look wet when they are not.  That is because the product is really more like a clear, flexible rubber.  It leaves a semi-thick coat that dries quickly, almost like a clearcoat for your tires.  It looked extremely wet when it was perfectly dry.  It didn’t look bad…at first.

However, there was a problem.  I followed the directions on the can exactly, which included the following:

“Allow coating to dry for at least one hour before driving.  Wipe off excess product from rims.”

I found out that by the time one hour had passed since I applied it, there was no way to “wipe off excess product from rims”.  It was dried onto the wheel (or the “rim”, depending on what you think is correct).  I couldn’t scrape it off with a fingernail and I didn’t want to try something more aggressive for fear of damaging the surface of my wheel.

The problem didn’t end there.  I also found out the next day that when the sun hits the tire with the product applied to it, there is a sort of oily rainbow effect, like oil floating on water in the sunlight.  See the following image:

I figured at that point, I should send an email to Turtle Wax letting them know what was happening and perhaps I had a defective product.

Here is what I sent:

Hello,

I have always stood by Turtle Wax products, especially the Ice products.

When the new Black Tire Coat came out, I immediately purchased it and used it.  Unfortunately, I encountered a couple of problems.

First, I followed the supplied instructions exctly, which state as follows:
“Allow coating to dry for at least one hour before driving.  Wipe off excess product from rims.”

However, this may not be the correct order of putting this information in the instructions.  After one hour, the product seems nearly impossible to remove from the wheels once dry.  It is stuck to the wheels of my vehicle
(due to common overspray) and I do not know how to get it off without damaging them.

In addition, while the product works as intended on the tire as far as shine, etc., when the sun shines directly on the product that is correctly applied to the tire, it gives off an oily rainbow color appearance on the entire area of the tire where applied.

I would like to know how I can completely remove the product from my wheels and tires.  Unfortunately, I will not be using Black Tire Coat on any of my vehicles in the future.

Your time and attention to this issue is very much appreciated!

Jason Debler

The next day, I received the following response:

Dear Jason,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Turtle Wax, Inc. We appreciate hearing from you.

To remove the Tire Coating from the tire you will want to use a utility brush ( grill brush) on the DRY tire, rubbing in a back and forth motion.  The product will then crack under the pressure and come off.  Once the product is off you can clean the tires as normal and if you wish to re apply the Tire Coating you may do so.

Sincerely,
Customer/Client Relations
Turtle Wax, Inc

I didn’t think I read that correctly at first.  A grill brush?  Like…the kind that has metal bristles?  This is the reply I sent back:

Hello,

Thank you for the reply but I don’t think my message was read completely.

I’d like to get the product off my tires, AND my wheels.  I do not feel comfortable applying a BBQ brush to either as I would certainly damage the wheels and possibly the tires.

Because of the problems that I had with the incorrect directions on the can, the “rainbow” effect of the product in the sunlight when applied, and the overspray on the wheels that I cannot remove, I will definitely not be using this product again.

Do you offer any kind of satisfaction guarantee?

Thank you,
Jason

Immediately, this is the response I received:

Delivery has failed to these recipients or distribution lists:

support@turtlewax.com
The recipient’s e-mail address was not found in the recipient’s e-mail system. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please check the e-mail address and try resending this message, or provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator.

I checked the Turtle Wax web site and found no mentioning of any guarantee.  At that point, I determined that I would simply have to cut my losses, and was very thankful I didn’t try this on my Camaro tires first.

From now on, I will stick with what I know works well, Stoner More Shine Tire Coating Plus, it has a satisfaction guarantee, although I have never had to use it nor do I expect to.

Interestingly enough, a few days later I drove through a standard Michigan rainstorm, and by the time I got home there was nothing left of the product on the tires.

The wheels, however, are another story.

It has been a few weeks since then and slowly, the product is finally flaking off the wheels…and securely sticking to the paint behind the wheel wells not unlike snot. I would considering emailing Turtle Wax about this as well, but I am afraid they will tell me to take a belt sander to it.

All joking aside, I will twice about trying anything new from Turtle Wax in the future.

39 Responses to “Product Review: Turtle Wax Black Tire Shine, and Why You Should Avoid It”

  • jg95z28 says:

    Jason,

    I feel your pain. However I have avoided Turtle Wax products for years after having similar issues. They used to be a great company, but they are living off their reputation from over 30 years ago. About the only Turtle Wax products still in my arsenal are their rubbing and polishing compounds, and even those are inferior to products by 3M and others.

    The best tire products I have found are Armor-All’s Tire Shine, or Black Magic Tire Wet. And regardless of what the instructions say, always wipe the excess off your rims before it has time to dry.

    Have you experimented with using an ammonia or alcohol based cleaner on the rims with a soft-bristle wheel brush?

  • Jason says:

    I will give credit where it is due…the stuff is pretty tough when it comes to staying on paint. I remove the parts that flake off onto my paint with a little bit of goof-off type of citrus cleaner, but it doesn’t seem to work as well on the wheels.

    I am not saying Turtle Wax is a bad company. As I mentioned, I like their Ice interior products. I think overall, how they handled my inquiry was what made me question things.

  • Brent says:

    Thanks for the review, Jason! I’ll NOT be tempted to buy this stuff now :)

  • Mark says:

    Actually, this product isn’t as bad as you think it is. Maybe you should of wiped off the access from your wheels/rims IMMEDIATELY, then wait one hour for it to dry. Also, remember to clean and dry your tires before applying it. You probably wouldn’t have that oily rainbow effect on your tires if you followed the first step on the box.

  • Jason says:

    Yes this product is as I reported it because I did follow the instructions exactly from start to finish, including the instructions to clean the tires properly as well as the instructions to let it dry for one hour before attempting to wipe the excess off the wheels. I cannot be expected to follow half of the directions and know which other half to ignore. I have no problem admitting fault for not following the directions but that is not the case. I know that others have the same problem with this product. In addition, their customer service leaves a lot to desire. No phone number, no direct email, no actual reading of my email to them, no product guarantee.

  • Neal Hamilton says:

    I also have a problem with this product. I was able to get most of the over spray off my rims, but I have a mist on my windshield that that will not come off. I have tried fingernail polish remover, alcohol, windshield cleaner, ect, all failed to remove the “mist”. I sent a message to Turtle wax, but have not heard from them. I’m thinking of calling an attorney.

  • Jay says:

    This stuff is NO freaking good. I tried to wipe the excess most off and it just smeared ALL over my rims. Will def not try anymore turtle wax products!!!!

  • Neal Hamilton says:

    I know how you feel. I have a haze on my windshield from where the wind blew the mist of the stuff. It will NOT come off. Tried everything, even nail polish remover. Filing a claim against them.

  • Shane says:

    Jason I had almost exactly the same problem. I made the mistake of putting on my brand new Tundra! I didnt get the rain bow effect, my tires looked great for about 3 days. then i noticed the back drivers side tire start to turn a yellowish green. i had not driven on dirt roads or anything. then the rest did the same. My question is did you ever find a brush that would work to remove this from the tire safely. i would greatly appreciate it if u could help me ! thnX

  • Ed says:

    This product is terrible – I wish I would’ve read your review BEFORE I tried instead if reading it in a panic as I tried to figure out how to remove the excess off of ny wheels! I followed the directions just as you did, and I’m having the exact same struggles!! I definitely do NOT recommend using this product. Not only is it extremely pricey – I paid $12.99 for a 6 ounce can – but the overspray on my wheels is proving impossible to remove. I consider sending them an email but after reading the joke of a response that you received I decided the effort would be futile! I can’t believe they recommended using a grill brush. Bad BAD product Turtle Wax – back to the drawing board with this one!!

  • Neal Hamilton says:

    I filed a claim with them because the stuff got on my windshield and would NOT come off. They sent me a check to replace my windshield.

  • Chris Joe says:

    Had similar problems. Put it on my tires let it dry for 2 hours drove 1 mile and it looked like someone rubbed dirt on my tire the coating acts as glue and makes the dirt stick right to the tires. Also got on my windshield now next to impossible to get off. Never again am I buying turtle wax products.

  • Neal Hamilton says:

    Ask them for a claim form for your windshield. I did, and they sent me a check to replace mine.

  • Steve says:

    I love my wife! She told me to try hair spray. She said she uses it to remove all kinds of crap the kids bring in the house when traditional cleaners fail. The cheaper the brand, the better it works. Sprayed it on my wheels and with a paper towel and a little effort the gummy glue like tire shine came right off. The hair spray residue came off with water

  • Jason says:

    Steve, you are kidding. Seriously? So…just spray the hairspray on the gook…and when you wipe it off with water…everything comes off? Awesome! THANK YOU! Believe it or not…the crap is STILL on my tires in some places. Do you let the hairspray dry first? That is kinda like the trick I learned at work: If someone uses a permanent marker on a dry-erase board, draw over it with a dry erase marker and when you wipe it off, it all comes off together.

  • Jim Beaver says:

    I used the product without any issues, by applying in light coats, and with little wind. You have to pretend this is paint, and take similar steps…….IMO….

  • Jason says:

    Jim,
    Good advice that Turtle Wax should have provided. When someone thinks “spray on tire shine”, they don’t necessarily think “paint”. Have you noticed the rainbow effect?

  • Sam Beezy says:

    I found this stuff to be horrible. I used it on my STi and put on a generous coat as mentioned in directions. It dried perfect but looked really cheesy to me being that its like clear coat on your tires and looks like clear coat on your tires lol. It looks nothing like wet black tire dressings. WORST PART of all is that it will pick up dust and dirt if you drive offroad

  • Jake says:

    Wow…I thought I was the only who had bad luck with this product until I just came across this site. Initially I had to return (3) cans because of faulty stem spray pressure. After I finally got to put a solid coat on I was somewhat impressed, but a little concerned because as an afterthought it smelled and seemed like I put a clear coat of paint on my tires. After a couple of days (just for kicks) I tried to remove it but couldn’t. I read the packaging for “how to remove”, but there wasn’t any info. I called Turtle Wax and ask them how do I remove/clean this product from my tires ? They said that they did not know ! I said WTF…you sell a product like this and don’t know how to remove it ???!!! A wasted conversation continued for a few minutes until I slammed my phone down into about a hundred little pieces !

  • AJ says:

    Guess I’ll be taking this back. Just bought it today, but haven’t used it. Thanks for the info!

  • Geezy says:

    Thanks I was going to buy but now phuk dat

  • Twon says:

    I used this product on my tires. I waited an hour for it to dry. Some how it got on my side windows, and all on my windshield. And makes it very hard to see at night. It wont come off my windsheld. I see thousands of tiny dots everywhere, its even on the hood of my car and on the paint job of my car. Im very very disapointed in this product. If you plan on using this product. Cover up your car this stuff is nothing but a clear coat paint

  • Jay says:

    I used it on my tires, let it dry overnight. It’s dry to the touch and looks great.

    I sprayed it like a paint can so I would get on my rims. I drive a Mercedes C class with low profile tires. didn’t get any on my rims, windows, windshiels or my paint. Just be careful spraying it and don’t use it when it’s windy. My tires look amazing. I will use it again, but will also try the Stoner brand. A lot of good reviews of that product.

  • Nick Gerace says:

    Just applied this last night to my G8. Applied it in the garage, so not wind issues. I also use a shield over my wheels, so no overspray issues. I will have to look at the fenders/quarters closely later on to see if there is any onthe paint. Let it dry overnight in the garage. Went out this morning and liked how it looked. I drove 3 miles to work and ooked again after I parked. The back tires have a coat of sand/dirt granuals stuck to them. I’m pissed. Going straight to the car wash and blasting them. I hope it comes off and that the dressing eventually loses its stickiness. In the end, if it does not let crap stick to it, and if the shine lasts a few weeks, I’ll be okay, but will NEVER use this again!

  • Ken R says:

    I tried this product. Extremely dissapointed. It is the first time in 30 years using a Turtle wax product. I had the same problems as already mentioned. I should have read this first. I did wipe my rims right away. I then waited for 2 hours and was able to remove most of the overspray with stoner glass cleaner and 6 ;old sport socks. There is some residue but it is hard to see. I will have to be patient and wait for it to flake off. I will not use turtle wax products ever again.

  • Chris O says:

    DO NOT USE THIS CRAP! I have not been able to get this junk off my tires and rims for friggin months. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

  • Jason says:

    As an update, it has been well over a year since I wrote this review and I am still scraping some material off my tires. It is not clear like the product I wish I never applied, it is black. I am concerned that somehow it caused the tire material itself to begin to flake off.

    I happened to look at the reviews on Amazon (link in the original post) and this is not an uncommon problem.

    One reviewer posted that they managed to get in touch with Turtle Wax, and they replied that one of their chemists said that a common yellowing problem is a result of “antiozonant blooming”. What the hell does that even mean? They also say to scrape it off with a wire wheel brush attached to the end of a drill (are we seriously going to do this to the sidewall of a tire?) and it will take several passes. If that doesn’t work, it will wear off on its own in time. I can prove that this is not true. Also, no mention of an apology or a refund or a replacement. Just instruction on how to recklessly remove it and consider it a waste of time and money and effort.

  • Tim Oconnell says:

    I put this crap on my tires about 4 months ago and now its starting to peel off in a fer little spots. It looked good for the first day. I followed the instructions perfectly. After the first day it looked like a rainbow. After one week it turned yellow now that yellow is brown and will not completely come off of my tire. I called turtle wax and asked for a supervisor. He told me the same thing about the grill brush. I said are u f…ing kidding me. Just for kicks i tried it in a small area of my tire and it came off but now my tires are stained brown. I just filed a damage claim with turtle wax because in my opinion my tires are ruined. They said i will have to get estimates to get the damage repaired. So i contacted my local mr. tire where i bought the tires and the guy said that there is no way to remove the coating without damaging the tires/wheels. He said “its time for new tires” even though these tires are fairly new. I will let you know how the claim department handles this issue. If they do not resolve this i think there are enough people who have had horrible experiences with this product that there could be a class action lawsuit.

  • Tay says:

    Class action lawsuit dam right…applied to my wife’s sating months ago and now driving around with yellowish tinged tires…just another consumer duped again by a pathetic product…has anyone tried paint thinner or a like product I’m might give it a try. But very hesitant to apply to tires…tires have a lot of tread life left.

  • Dominic Gerace says:

    I was as angry as anyone after I applied this, didn’t like the results, then searched out other stories. For the record, I took it off within a week, so I can’t speak of discoloration with age. But it did look like I dropped the tires sidewall face down on a beach with all the grit that stuck to it after driving it a full 12 hours after application.
    I did get it off, but it was not a joyful experience. I used a soft wire wheel on a cordless drill and did some test spots first. It seemed to go fast, so I continued all around and it all came off. I was leery as anyone would be. My tires were less than one month old Goodyear F1 Asymmetric 2′s at $1200. I am happy to report that this can be done and the tire still looks like it should. Did I take actual rubber off the sidewall? I am sure a minimal amount came off, but you could never tell. The tire looks exactly like it should. It sounds ludicrous to use this method because, quite frankly, IT IS! But it can be done with care. I returned the product for a refund and, after telling my experience and showing them this site, they promptly removed the rest of the cans of this from their shelf.

  • Jose Funes says:

    So actually the secret to these product is to use a small amount. You need to quickly coat the wheel one time and you should be good. These is a product where less is more! And in case you want to take the product off the trick is actually very simple. Just like other tire shines, it has a grease base to it. Therefore all you need to do to take it off is to soak a cloth with wax and grease remover and wipe it in the tire. Let it soak for a couple of seconds and you will actually start to c the clear coating peeling off. Then all you need to do is roll the coating with your finger and you will be surprise how easie it rolls off. Then since it tends to come off in small little piece like dandruff, once you finish removing it take a soft brush or a dry towel and wipe the dandruff off the wheel. There is no need for tough brushes like the BBQ brush or anything other then some cloth and your hand.

  • Ken R says:

    I sprayed the wheels and tires once a week with hot water. I connected my hose to the water heater. It took about 4 rinsing/soakings with hot water and it was gone. I still have a few spot on my Mickey Thompson SC-5 wheels. I have been able to remove it with my fingernail. I am using Black Magic tire wet with a sponge. Tires look great. I will stay with what I know. Good luck to everyone with this problem.

  • Luke says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the man with the suggestion about the hairspray was “on the money”. I have had this on my rim for months, a small amount of hairspray, a sponge with a rough side and a little elbow Greece and “Bob’s your Uncle” it’s gone

  • Rob says:

    I used a thin layer of pine turpentine and a Cotten wash cloth and it came off pretty good with a lot of elbow grease

  • craig says:

    O NO,
    I just put this on my tires a few days ago, tires look awesome but I haven’t had the truck out of my garage to see what happens to the tire coat when I drive it. I’m scared!!! LOL

  • miller1 says:

    U guys are clueless.. Jason u suck.. This product works pefect.. After the initial first 3 days when u scrub tires again they do not collect dust.. As for the flaking no issues in over a year just as long as u put on a clean tire.. used this product on 12 tires no issues unless u curb your vehicle. . Then re appy.. product for me lasts for 2.5 months.. I also followed the instructions and removed the excess off immediately that is how my brain analyzed the instructions. . Sorry for all the butt hurtings.. wow ..lol wtf..good luck… There is no other product that shines like this.. and if any of u are like I was 20 years ago I would shine my tires every 2 to 3 days to keep a good shine so really cost for cost this product is the better buy…and as for the rainbow effect..??? Idk maybe your tires are gay.

  • Will says:

    Garbage product. Looks nice at first but then……. Flakes and yellows, it’s a Bitch trying to remove it, had to use bug and tar remover scrubbed with a brush sprayed simple green over, then rinsed, repeat 10X maybe more. Been trying different techniques to remove for the past two months no b.s. Oh yea It’s still not gone completely. Should’ve stuck with Meguiars tire shine purple can. Word of advise stick with what you know works and don’t try shit like this

    Also try spraying some good degreaser in the tires let sit for a bit and rinse off, let the tire dry completely and try rubbing it off bare hand, seemed to do the trick this last time. Just my two cents

  • Kay says:

    I also used this product & it looks good but removal is almost impossible. I have a brand new Honda Accord so imagine that. Could someone tell me what kind of hair spray bc I rather try that than the bbq brush.

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