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Posted by: charlie | February 11, 2010 | No Comment |

I want a wheel cleaner that will remove my brake dust without me having to scrub it. Can you recommend one for me?
-All of America

Ahh, this question wins the award for “most frequently asked question.” We literally had hundreds of people ask this question. We wish there was such a product, but we’ve yet to find a single product that will completely clean a dirty wheel without scrubbing or causing damage to the wheel.

The problem is that wheel finishes are vast, varied and extremely sensitive. Producing a cleaner that is strong enough to remove sticky, stubborn, embedded brake dust without harming a wheel’s finish isn’t possible as of yet (or at least we aren’t aware of such a product). There are many cleaners that are strong cleaners, but strong cleaners can cause cosmetic damage to sensitive wheels. There are mild wheel cleaners that are relatively mild, but often they aren’t strong enough to remove stubborn debris.

Our rule of thumb is that we always try to use the mildest product available, knowing that a little elbow grease will bring clean wheels with a higher margin of safety. We suggest you pick a quality wheel cleaner that is appropriate for your wheel type (and finish) and use it exactly as instructed by the manufacturer. Make sure you only clean your wheels when they’re cold because heat can cause all sorts of problems. Also, don’t let the cleaner sit on the wheels for any longer than instructed by the cleaner manufacturer.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the reality is there isn’t a product that’s appropriate for all wheel finishes that’s as easy to use as “spray on, hose off,” that yields clean wheels. There’s always going to be a little manual labor required.

under: Ask the Gurus, Uncategorized
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Posted by: charlie | February 11, 2010 | No Comment |

The other day I noticed that I had a lot of little cracks along the sidewall of my tire near the rim. Is this dry rot? What causes it? – Eric W.

There are a couple of potential causes for these cracks, and without being able to see the tires in person, it’s hard for us to determine the source or reason. Our initial suggestion would be for you to locate and contact a local representative for the manufacturer of your tires and ask them to take a look at your tires.

Many tires might have been built with what’s known as a “weak bead bundle” direct from the manufacturer. A weak bead bundle can cause a tire’s bead area (where the tire mates to the rim) to flex excessively, leading to cracks in the rubber around that area. If the weak bead bundle wasn’t a result of the manufacturing process, the bead may have been weakened by improper installation methods – the tire may have been stretched excessively during the installation process.

Your tires may also be “weather checked,” which simply means ozone has taken its toll on the tires. The tire may have depleted its supply of anti-ozone agents, thus rendering it vulnerable to ozone damage. Some indicators of this include premature cracking or drying of the rubber, particularly along the sidewall and bead area. This anti-ozone depletion can be accelerated through the persistent use of harsh cleaners, detergents and or dressings.

A qualified tire technician will be able to properly identify the source of the problems, and should recommend a solution.

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Posted by: charlie | February 11, 2010 | No Comment |

I used to use Armor All on my tires until my father-in-law told me how bad it is for my tires. Is that true and what makes it so bad? – Marcus M.

This has been a subject of much discussion, debate and perhaps even some controversy amongst detailing enthusiasts, and to be honest, it seems like a case of mistaken identity. The short answer is: Armor All is not harmful to your tires. The long answer is, well, long.

The misconception that many people have about Armor All is that they believe the silicone contained in the various formulations is “bad.” Many people tend to inaccurately cast all silicone products into a single group and then regard them as “bad” for their vehicles. Truth be told, there are thousands of silicone variations, and most are relatively harmless. Vehicle painters generally don’t like silicone oils because these “nonfunctional” silicone oils can interfere with paint’s ability to bond to a car properly.

According to various industry experts, Armor All recently (within the past few years) changed their formula, and the change addressed some potential concern that people may have had with earlier versions. Armor All has several variations and formulas, some of which are water-based, some of which appear to contain solvents. As a general rule of thumb, we prefer water-based dressings to solvent-based dressings, but that’s our preference. The milky-white Armor All products are fine by us, as they’re water-based and appear to contain a quality, functional silicone (or siloxane).

If you’re happy with the look of the Armor All products on your tires, keep using it – there shouldn’t be anything to worry about…oh, and by the way – we rated it #1 in our Tire Dressings section.

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New Guru Reports Site coming soon!

Posted by: charlie | March 27, 2009 | No Comment |

We are going to be launching the new Guru Reports web site very soon. We plan on bringing all of our reports to the net for free. Stay tuned.

under: Uncategorized