Do It Yourself Whitewall Tires Or Buy Them?

When you decide to rebuild a car, you can probably envision what it's going to look like before you even buy it. If you have decided to refurbish an older vehicle, chances are that you have envisioned a set of beautiful whitewall tires on it. White wall tires are not always easy to come by; some people need to order them through a specialty tire store online or through their local tire store. They are by no means cheap; yet often they make the perfect finishing touch. Some people have tried to refurbish used whitewall tires, but with little success. It seems almost pointless to have a gorgeous vehicle and then to put older tires on it, it tends to detract from the car's appearance.

One of the nicest whitewall tires I've ever seen was on a 1950 Buick Special Model 46SD. It was a beautiful car; a nice glossy black with what appeared to be brand spankin' new tires. It had a set of wide whitewall tires that added just the right touch to the Buick. The actual white tire stripe measured about 2.5", which is a bit thicker than traditionally used, but went well. The whitewalls were gleaming white, and it truly made for a beautiful car. This collector's car is owned by Buick Enthusiasts Lowell and JoAnn Seymour. Mr. and Mrs. Seymour reside in Topeka, Kansas and their beautiful Buick is truly show room quality.

Once you have begun the process of rebuilding or refurbishing an old car, or have purchased an antique car, chances are you will need a set of whitewall tires to finish the look. Whitewall tires were popular many years ago, and were a favorite of automobile enthusiasts. They add a classic look to just about any vehicle, whether it's a low rider or a Cadillac. There are classic white wall tires and there are wide whitewall tires. These two types of tires have extremely different looks and look best on different types of vehicles.

You can buy whitewall tires online at most specialty tire stores. If you prefer, you can also visit your local tire dealer and see if they have them available. If they don't have the tires in stock they can certainly special order them for you, but be prepared to wait; it might take a while to get them in. Often, tires are the last thing to add to the automobile and waiting for a tire order to come in can seem like an eternity, depending on your level of patience.

Some car enthusiasts are daring and want to try to make their own whitewall tires. I admire the sense of adventure in these folks; although personally, I'd rather buy them. Making these tires is certainly a lot cheaper than buying them, and is a great way to recycle old tires, should you happen to have any. You will need to get some painter's tape before you begin for two reasons. For one, it removes easily and cleanly, and two, it provides excellent coverage to prevent paint seepage. Place the tape onto the tire carefully so that it creates a perfectly uniform circle. Additionally, tape the area around the tire with your painter's tape to protect any parts of the tire that you don't want to spray. This includes the tread area!

I have seen some people paint the whitewalls freehand, while others have created a cardboard jig to use as a guide. Some swear by using an air compressor to deliver the paint while others don't. Whatever your method, it doesn't really matter, as long as the white wall line looks round and clean.

Next, take some rubber-friendly enamel spray paint (definitely oil based) and apply a light coat to the tire. I recommend a slightly off-white color, because it looks more natural, but if you prefer a true gleaming white paint, you can do that too. Anyway, after your first coat, apply another coat until you see even coverage. It is always better to apply multiple coats of paint than to apply just one thick coat. Spraying light coats can help prevent cracking while preserving your paint job.

Allow the paint to dry thoroughly. Once it has dried, you can remove your painter's tape. Make sure that you remove the painter's tape slowly to avoid chipping any of your freshly painted lines. You should see a beautiful clean whitewall tire line when you are finished. Allow the paint to dry at least 72 hours before you attempt to wash the tire. Yes, I know- it's beyond tempting, but try to allow some time before you put water on your fresh white paint. Before you know it, you'll be cruising around and enjoying being the envy of the neighborhood with your new whitewall tires.

Whitewall Tires

You can make your own whitewall tires.