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New Tires' Whitewalls Turns Brown . . . What to Do?


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Two of the new narrow-stripe whitewall tires I purchased less than one year ago as a set of four are now turning brown.  I have tried scrubbing with Black Magic Bleche-Wite and with Soft Scrub, but with limited success.  The two other tires remain normal-looking and clean-up just fine when dirty . . . but the "brownwalls" never achieve more than a medium-tan appearance --- ugh.

 

One other weird thing:  on all four, the black part of the sidewall never seems to look quite "clean" after they have dried no matter how much and how hard I scrub.  But at least this I can mitigate by using some Meguiar's tire dressing.

 

Yes, they are cheap tires (MileMakers, probably China-built), but I have had lots of cheap tires in my lifetime and none of them did this.  Any suggestions as to how to make my brownwalls gleam white again?

 

Jeff

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Bob,

 

I can't afford Coker tires for a car that I drive infrequently, though I wish that I could.  

 

What else is there?  Have you tried to buy narrow whitewall tires appropriate to a 1960s-70s car lately, size 225-75-15?

 

Has anyone else successfully used something with which they "bleached" or dyed their tires white again?

 

Jeff

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 I've had some success cleaning my brownish whitewalls with an SOS pad and Simple Green, and others use a Scotch Brite pad, but you definitely need some abrasive combined with a cleaning agent. What's happening is that the liner between the black rubber and the white rubber is either sub-standard and porous or it moves during the casting process. So the brown you see is the black oils from the rubber leeching through the whitewall--it's coming from behind and cleaning it is a temporary solution at best. When I clean mine, they stay white for about 7-10 days, then they start to turn again.

 

I can't mention the brand, but it's pretty much the only player in the old car tire game, and even if they don't have this maker's brand on the sidewall, it's pretty likely that if you have an old-car-sized tire, this manufacturer (notorious for brown whitewalls) was the one who made it. The bottom line is that they just don't care if their tires suck.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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I have none of the major brand etc make a white wall in that size

Bob,

 

I can't afford Coker tires for a car that I drive infrequently, though I wish that I could.  

 

What else is there?  Have you tried to buy narrow whitewall tires appropriate to a 1960s-70s car lately, size 225-75-15?

 

Has anyone else successfully used something with which they "bleached" or dyed their tires white again?

 

Jeff

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I keep hearing the same problem with the white wall tires . Could someone tell me in the non computer age how did Goodyear , Firestone , etc make tires so the white walls did not go brown ? ? 

 

Old car tires are no longer made by the company whose name is on the sidewall. [unnamed large antique tire maker] makes them all using original molds that they bought from the major manufacturers. They make the reproduction tires in Vietnam and China and pay the original manufacturers a royalty. Unlike Goodyear, Firestone, and other big name tire companies, [unnamed large antique tire maker] doesn't particularly need to care about quality because, honestly, where else are you gonna go? Such is the benefit of being a monopoly. Every antique tire, regardless of where you buy them and whose name is on the side, is likely made by [unnamed large antique tire maker]. I think only Lucas is independent and their selection is pretty slim--it's only a matter of time before this company buys them out, too, and that will be the end of competition in the old car tire marketplace. Quality will plummet, prices will skyrocket, and we, as hobbyists, will have no choice but to say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...

I am having problems w/ the browning now too. Tires were bought in 2013. I replaced one of my originals and took the "bluing" off the new tire. After a month or so the tire was brown. The other 3 I bought, but haven't mounted yet, still have the "bluing" on them and haven't turned brown. I've looked at all sorts of sites for tips in taking out the brown; Bleche-White, lacquer thinner, Bar Keeper's Friend w/ Scotch Brite pad and Purple Power. The Purple Power did the best, but still not very white......any other tips? Hate to use a "painted" sort of product.

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You aren't going to be able to make them permanently white again. As I mentioned above, after I clean mine, they stay white for 7-10 days, then start to turn brown again. I spend an hour cleaning them before every show and have resigned myself to their crappy quality. I'll probably do blackwalls when it comes time to replace them.

 

There's nothing you can just spray on to make them white--the problem is oils from the black rubber leeching through the whitewall. It isn't dirt on the outside, it's coming through from the back. The problem is widespread--even the cars I've seen at Pebble Beach with this manufacturer's tires on them have brown whitewalls.

 

An SOS pad and Simple Green gets mine white, but it's not permanent. I think that's about the best you can expect...

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My cars have old Denmans or lesters on them.

There has never been a problem with the white walls turning dark. The white stays bright white except for dirt which is easy to deal with..a quick wash down.

Vintage white wall  tires today??????

I Don't think I'll ever buy any if they  turn brown.

 

 

1948 T&C Woodie (8).JPG

 

Tires Denman C39.JPG

Edited by c49er (see edit history)
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Another harsh reality of our car hobby today is that many highly-effective chemicals which were used "back in the day" for various processes are now banned by EPA, etc. Maybe this has something to do with whitewall tire color durability? 

 

  • Remember when gasoline had tetraethyl lead, which eased valve train wear and allowed for higher compression ratios? (It's gone today.)
  • Do you recall the days when there used to be several chrome platers in every major city? Around here (Dayton, Ohio), they are virtually all gone now.
  • Asbestos was our best bet for gasket material in exhaust manifolds, and a critical component in brake linings. Virtually gone now. 

We could all give many similar examples, of harsh (but effective) chemicals and materials being no longer available. And, there is much more, WORSE legislation being proposed every day. I spent some time on the board of directors of SEMA in the 1990's, and I was continually stunned and shocked by proposed legislation coming out of California. 

 

Anyway, I just wonder if this "greening process" may have anything to do with the problem of whitewall discoloration today? 

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  • 2 years later...

 Unfortunately I have the same problem. I found a one and a half inch wide white wall and it is a Chinese manufacturer. I have never had this problem before. I went back to the dealer and he took some more tires of the same and only brand that he had with that white wall and the blue that was on it to protect the white wall actually got sucked into the white wall and stained the white wall. It looks like blue Marble. my Tires turn brown about every week.  I cannot keep them white at all. I have tried everything that has been mentioned in the above post. The only option is to go with American classics, Lucas, Coker. But they will run you about $1000 plus for a set of four. Unfortunately the only thing that you can do is clean them right before a show and hope that they don’t turn brown by the time you get there. Absolutely sucks. So save the extra 500 and buy something that will only take you 10 to 15 minutes to clean all four tires. For me on average it takes over an hour to clean for white walls. Absolutely ridiculous and they never get real white anyway. The one thing I can tell you is that my shoulder and arm feels  like it’s going to fall off my body when I’m done. Never again with cheap shit !!!!!!!!!!

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  • 1 month later...

The browning issue with new whitewall tires is in the manufacturing process.  The addition of a compound known as an antiozonant to prolong the life
of tire is the culprit.This compound continually leeches to the surface of the tire for the life of the tire. There is no amount of cleaning that will halt or eliminate the process.
In the tire industry this process is known as "Blooming".  The only tire I have found that maintains a perfect whitewall is manufactured by the Diamond Back Co.
in Conway South Carolina. In their manufacturing process there is a latex layer between the black wall and the white wall which prevents any discoloration of
the whitewall.
     I have learned all this the hard way and finally have a beautiful set of Diamond Backs on my 57 Corvette. Hope this information helps to clear up the
brown whitewall issue. 

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A couple of decades ago (or more) when whitewall tires were disappearing, and newer, higher performance stickier tires were starting to replace the old standby white letter radials (that were popular on musclecars), I asked a tire engineer why the new premium products could not be bought with white letters. He said that in order to make a white letter tire (or a whitewall for that matter), you had to use an older, lower performance rubber compound, and that the new higher-performance compounds would turn the white parts brown.

 

I have a sneaking hunch that some replica tire manufacturers may just be using a standard run-of-the-mill compound of today, probably whatever the tire plant has in the pipe for ordinary street tires, and isn't paying attention to the compound. Maybe they can no longer get an appropriate one.

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Your are probably right, Bloo, but I have to laugh at the idea of "higher-performance compounds" used in modern tires.  Today we are lucky to get six years out of new tires as opposed to the decade-plus that the older tires would usually hang in there.

 

Jeff

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On 9/24/2015 at 10:31 PM, Matt Harwood said:

 I've had some success cleaning my brownish whitewalls with an SOS pad...

I love the blue pre-soaped SOS pads - and used such to clean many a whitewall on a 100 point cars too.   Sidenote.  I usually use one per two tires and throw away thereafter.

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