Black Tire Paint
Reprinted from July 1997 of Green Magazine, used by permission.
I have been fortunate in that two of my tractors have had rear tires that were in great shape when I bought the tractor. My model "H" even had the old style fronts with plenty of tread. My "L" fronts were mismatched Sears Guardsman snow tires, which I promptly tossed.
Well, although these tires were in good shape as far as tread was concerned, they looked real sad. All were flat, but new tubes fixed that. In addition to years and years of scuffing and fading, they had paint splattered on them. After spending so much time and effort - not to mention the coin - in restoring the tractors, I was disappointed in the finished product because the tires looked so beat up. The spray cans of tire bright - or whatever it is called - did give them a little better look, but is soon faded back to plain old ugly. I still was not about to buy new tires just for the looks.
I had seen tire paint advertised in M. E. Miller's catalog. We, I envisioned paint on rubber to be a joke, sure to crack as the tires flexed. I called and spoke to Mr. Miller himself, who described the stuff in more detail It turned out this paint is what tire retread companies use to make their product look like a brand new tire. We talked some more and I was convinced that the $25 for a gallon of it was worth a try.
Miller recommended that the tire be mounted and inflated on the rim prior to painting. He said that the stuff filled the dry rot cracks better that way. You can spray it on or brush it on. I thought I would try brushing since he had said it didn't leave brush marks. You mix it half-and-half with water. I liked the idea that it was water based, since my wheels were already painted. The label stated that this paint would not wash off or rub off once it was dry.
I'm here to tell you that this stuff is amazing. I thought I would test a little bit on the backside of a tire to see how it went. I do a lot of hobby painting on my workbench, so I keep all kinds of little containers. I had a two ounce dose cup from a Pepto-Bismal bottle that I used to mix the first batch. Please note that this is one ounce of the paint and one ounce of water. This two ounces of mix was enough to paint an entire 8-32 rear tire from my "H." It went on as easy as pie and left no brush strokes. It gave a nice satin finish that really does look new. It was thick enough to cover that paint splatters, too. It did not really fill in the dry rot cracks, but I am thoroughly pleased with the finished product.
Needless to say, this one gallon container will last me a lifetime. So as not to waste any of it, I'll just tell my wife that I need to keep buying tractors with tires that need refinishing. Submitted by Howard Salan Monrovia, MD
Black Tire Paint can be purchased from our store.
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