Do you have a problem with your car leaving tire marks on your garage floor? Most likely so, if you regularly park your car in your garage.
And here’s why: plasticizer migration.
Plasticizers are polymer compounds that are incorporated into tires during manufacture. The purpose of the plasticizer is to make the rubber of tires more flexible. This helps to make tires softer and more pliable during the winter, and helps tires provide greater traction.
Here’s the Problem…
Plasticizers play an important role in making tires safer. But there’s some bad news about plasticizers.
When you drive your car, the tires heat up. And then when you pull your car into your garage, there’s a tendency for some of the plasticizer in the tires to leach out onto the garage floor surface. That’s what causes the oily looking tire marks.
It’s called plasticizer migration.
And in truth, the tires on your car don’t have to be warm from driving for plasticizer migration to occur. That can also happen when the car has been sitting unmoved for a long period of time. But plasticizer migration occurs at a far slower pace when tires aren’t warmed from driving.
Removing Tire Marks
Tire marks can be stubborn, hard-to-remove marks. But the following steps should work for removing them, though you may need to repeat the process for the most stubborn marks:
- Use a hot water pressure washer to spray the marks. Ideally you’ll want the water to be hot enough to produce some steam. Spray the tire marks for 2 or 3 minutes. (This step may not be necessary. If you can’t easily gain access to a hot water pressure washer you can try omitting this step. If tire marks remain after following the remaining steps, you’ll probably need to rent or borrow a pressure washer and repeat this sequence of steps.)
- Soak the marks with a degreaser. Use an industrial-grade degreasing detergent (available at most hardware and auto supply stores). Allow to soak for at least several minutes.
- Use a bristle broom to scrub the tire marks. Scrub for several minutes, taking care to frequently rinse the broom to remove accumulated rubber particles.
- Rinse off the area. If you have a pressure washer, dial the temperature and pressure back a bit, and use it to rinse. Otherwise you can just use a garden hose. (Caution: be sure to direct runoff into the street, and not into adjacent areas of your landscape. The degreasing residue may be harmful to plants.)
- Use a squeegee to remove as much of the water as possible. Allow to dry thoroughly for several hours before parking your car in the area again.
An Optional, But Important Final Step…
Garage floors that have been sealed properly will be far easier to clean. Sealed floors won’t be immune from tire marks. But the tire marks will be far easier to remove.
That’s because unsealed garage floors are very porous. And the tire marks (and other dirt and stains) can work into the concrete, beneath the surface. Once that happens, the tire marks will be far more difficult to remove.
P.S. One final tip: The longer tire marks have been in place, the more difficult it will be to remove them. That’s why it’s important to go through the above steps frequently. The good news, though, is that removing tire marks – in fact, removing all forms of dirt and stains – will be far easier once you’ve had your garage floor finished. Just one of the many benefits of a finished garage floor.