A quick trip to the appearance isle of the local parts store will afford you a dizzying array of gel dressings. So what? What is in it for the enthusiast or professional ? Why not stick with what you’ve always used?
According to my notes, P & S made its’ first batch of Gel Dressing, Wipe N Shine, on May 7, 1997. We say we are the original Gel Dressing. Well, at least we did not know of any others and it was definitely a new way to dress tires in our neighborhood. Since that time, a rough calculation shows we’ve made enough Wipe N Shine to dress over 18 million tires. Looks like we're not Micky D's yet.
Before Gel dressings, there were two ways to make tire dressing, solvent based and emulsions. Each has its advantages’ and disadvantages’. Solvent Dressings are basically various silicones dissolved in Solvent such as Mineral Spirits. Advantages: They have good gloss, instant results and are pretty durable. Disadvantages: They also have pretty nasty solvents, VOC’s and sometimes, flammability hazards. The solvent evaporates away and leaves the silicone film behind.
Emulsion dressings are tiny (nano) droplets of silicone suspended in water. Advantages: Gone are the nasty solvents but we’ve added a variety of emulsifiers to make it possible to build those tiny droplets. In an emulsion dressing, the water evaporates away and the silicone agglomerates together to form a silicone film on the surface. Disadvantages: The gloss tends to fade as the surface dries. The emulsifiers are still there and can be available to re-emulsify the dressing the next time the surface gets wet. Typically, emulsion dressings have issues with water and tend to perform less efficiently on wet surfaces.
Enter the gel dressing. Gel dressings are also silicone suspended in water but in relatively large droplets, more like globs. When a gel dressing touches a surface, the suspending gel breaks down and deposits its’ silicone directly on the surface. It’s all good from here. No solvents (VOC’s), no residual emulsifier, no evaporation time, no issues with wet surfaces, instant gloss as it dries (it doesn’t dry) and good durability.
Gel dressings are very efficient as far as getting the product where it should be, so there is less waste. Typically a gel dressing is about 40% more efficient, so you use less and pay less for the product. Gel dressings are so efficient, we incorporate some of the technology in traditional emulsion products as well for better gloss and durability. The next time you are in the market for a dressing, consider trying a gel dressing and take advantage of all the improvements they have to offer.