Bicycle Mechanics - How do you get road tar off of tires?
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07-12-03, 05:41 PM
On today's ride we hit a section of road with brand new chip & seal and got a lot of tar on the tires. It ended up being a real mess -- tar collected on the tires and then lots of road junk collected on the tar. Right now my tires look like they've been paved... :D
Anyway, how the heck do you get the tar off? I was able to wipe off a lot of junk with my glove while riding but there's still a lot left. I know a few things to use to get tar off of a car (kerosene, lighter fluid, etc.) but I don't think they'd be good for the tires. Any ideas?
Any auto parts store, Walmart, etc. should have various brands of tar remover. Scrape off as much as possible then use the tar remover. Probably need a stiff brush to scrub it off and more than one application.
07-12-03, 06:56 PM
Yeah, but is that stuff okay for bike tires?
07-14-03, 08:59 AM
Ammonia does the job very well
07-14-03, 12:16 PM
You might try a citrus based cleaner. I use one called Bio-T that I got from work. It's more industrial strength but it just melts tar. I would think some of the other citrus based cleaners would work also and would be less damaging to tires.
07-15-03, 11:44 AM
Have you tried a stiff brush on them? You might not even need a cleaner. If you do decide to go for a cleaner, make sure that it does not leave a slick residue on the tires, as many will. That could be bad news on the road until it wears off. I would think that something you could buy in the store for automotive tar/bug removal use might be all right on the tires, though I don't know how effective it would be. I'm used to using it mainly on painted surfaces when detailing cars. The product I use takes off the bugs/road debris very well with a hard surface behind it, but I would think that it would at least loosen some of it up on the tire. I would think that taking the bike out for an MTB ride over some rougher trails with roots/rocks would dislodge most of the tar from your tires. If not, try letting some air out of the tires to see if it will let you pick at the tar better. Check the label of any cleaner for a warning about use on rubber/a tendency to leave a slick residue.
07-15-03, 06:37 PM
Well, I got them cleaned off with a little bit of elbow grease and full-strength Simple Green. I used a wire brush first to get off the excess and then followed that with the Simple Green and it seemed to work pretty well although it took a lot of work with a nylon brush and a rag. The tires are Armadillos so I wasn't too worried about using the wire brush as long as I didn't get too rough with it. The tires seem to be fine now and no slick stuff left over.
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