Pros: Excellent Shine While it Lasts, Easy to Apply, Low Cost
Cons: Doesn't Last Long, Leaves Stains on Concrete and Blacktop
I am a huge car nut, so naturally I use quite a few car products, especially when it comes to keeping my baby clean. A car wash is more of a detail session for me and I often spend 2-3 hours making sure every inch of my car looks good. People often wash and wax their car and clean the exterior and wheels, but they leave out one important piece, their tires. Ugly tires can ruin the entire look of a clean vehicle so it's a good idea to keep them looking shiny and new! There are quite a few products I have had experience with, but this review will focus on Armor All Tire Foam.
Armor All Tire Foam is pretty inexpensive, which is the primary reason I purchased it. I'm normally not that cheap when it comes to car products, but I was on a tight budget and it seemed like it would get the job done at the time. I think I ended up paying $2.79 for a decent sized can of foam. Most of your other products, especially your tire sprays like Turtle Wax and Eagle 1 will run you in excess of $4-5 for a spray bottle. There is a reason for this, but I'll have more on that later.
The Tire Foam is pretty simple to apply. You can put it on at almost any time, as long as your tires are dry and clean. You can put it on before you wash the car, but I don't encourage that as you normally end up washing half of the stuff off by the time you are done with the car. The shine won't be nearly as good either if you apply it pre-wash. To apply you just hold the can about 4-5 inches away from the tire sidewall and spray all around the sidewall. Try not to get the foam on the treads or your wheels as the chemicals might have an adverse reaction with the material of your wheels, especially if you have aftermarket rims. Also do not get this foam in your brake calipers as it can effect the performance of your brakes. After covering the sidewall, let the foam dry for about 5-10 minutes and you're good to go. You can tell when the tire is done because all of the substance will have vanished or evaporated.
You can do multiple applications if you aren't satisfied with the 1st coating. Normally one shot is enough for me, but I have small tires on 15" wheels so I don't require much of the foam. A larger wheel, say an SUV tire, might require another coat to get the desired shine. After the foam dries, your tire will have a very shiny and new look to it. Just be sure to clean all of the excess foam off of your wheels and tire treads. Armor All Tire Foam is supposed to protect your wheels from UV rays and other contaminants, but I honestly don't notice any difference from when I don't use Tire Foam.
I usually wait till after I wash my car and park it in the street before I apply the product. The reason for this is that the chemical can stain your concrete driveway or garage floor. You can't really see the stain, but whenever it rains or gets wet, you will notice an area on your parking surface that does not appear to be getting wet. This is where the chemical has entered the surface of your concrete or floor. It looks pretty unsightly and I've even noticed more obvious stains in the blacktop of our subdivision after I use it out in the road. These stains are visible all day and don't really look all that great.
The only real con to this product, besides the stains that it can leave, is the length of time that the shine lasts. If the weather is nice you can usually get a week or two out of the shine. If you drive through puddles or it rains while you're out in your car the shine is pretty much gone. This is one of the reasons I prefer to use Tire Spray instead of foam. With a good tire spray by Eagle 1, Meguiar's or Turtle Wax, the shine on your tires will last at least 2-3 weeks and doesn't wash off. You can even take it one step further and get tire wax which takes a lot longer to apply but has a great shine and lasts quite a bit longer than even the sprays. I used to use Turtle Wax tire wax but it was kind of a pain to apply after washing the car so I went to a spray.
Overall, Armor All Tire Foam does it's job, it just doesn't stand the test of time. The cheap price makes it an attractive alternative to the tire sprays and for the less serious car addict, the product is excellent. However, for your serious car buffs, you might as well spend the extra 2 bucks and buy a tire spray. In the long run you'll save a bit because the product will keep your tires looking better for a longer period of time. However, I have heard rumors that the chemicals in tire sprays can degrade the material of your tires over time. I haven't seen anything concrete on this, just a rumor I've heard in the car community.
As always, I hope this review has been helpful! I welcome any comments or suggestions! Thanks for reading!