How To Soften Tires? (All You Need To Know)

A tire’s condition determines how well it performs on the road, so car owners find ways to make their tires suitable for driving, such as softening tires, which is a common thing among car racers.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with softening tires, you may like to know what the term means and how to do it. If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I learned!

How To Soften Tires?

You can use different products in the market to soften tires, though pre-mixed softeners can be quite expensive; therefore, it may be easier to make your own softener at home by mixing different ingredients. Race car drivers use the softening technique so that they can get better grip and traction while racing, though you can also soften tires for recycling.

For more information about how to soften tires, why drivers do it, and what softeners are used for this process, keep reading for more useful facts!

How Do You Soften Your Tires?

Whether you want to recycle your old tires in the garage or prepare for a race, you might have wondered whether it’s possible to soften your tires, and how to do so.

Tires can get hard and dry, which affects their performance on the road. In this situation, drivers, especially racecar drivers, use different products to soften tires in preparation for races.

On the other hand, some people want to soften their old tires to recycle them for other uses in the home.

When you decide to soften tires, there are commercial softeners available in the market that are quite expensive. However, if you can’t afford pre-mixed softener, you can make your own.

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In order to soften tires, you can consult the following methods:

1. WD-40 Spray

WD-40 spray is a water-displacement spray used for surface softening, lubrication, and moisture displacement.

Most racecar drivers prefer this product because it’s readily available on ecommerce sites such as Amazon and is known to perform well.

Additionally, WD-40 is non-reactive on surfaces and can be applied on the same day that tires are needed. Apart from softening the tires, this spray also helps tires to retain a grip on the track.

When applying WD-40, soak the tires in the solution for ten minutes (this can even be done on the track because it brings quick results).

2. Penetrating Oil

2. Penetrating Oil

Penetrating oil seeps into the smallest cracks, openings, and fissures and helps to loosen surfaces, so if you’re looking to soften your tires before a race, this product is quite ideal because it tends to dry up within 30 minutes.

3. Cleaning Solution

Tire conditioners also work wonders for softening tires, and you can use a well-known cleaner like Simple Green, which cleans other surfaces in the house.

Although this cleaning solution won’t be as effective as WD-40, it helps clean the rubber surface, making the tires stickier.

To use a cleaning solution, you can either spray and soak your tires in a liquid cleaner, or you can use a toothbrush to rub in the cleaner on the tire grooves.

4. Kerosene

Because commercial products are more expensive, it might be better for some drivers to use cheaper products, such as kerosene.

Kerosene can be used to soften tires two to three days before a race by doing the following:

  1. When applying, soak the tires in water first.
  2. Use rags soaked in kerosene to wrap your tires.
  3. Wrap the tires using a foil until the day before the race.
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This process softens the rubber on tires very fast, and if the rubber gets hard again, you can simply repeat the process.

Why Do You Need To Soften Tires?

Why Do You Need To Soften Tires?

While most drivers are concerned about which products to use, it’s important to know why you need to soften tires, and listed below are some of the main reasons:

1. Improved Traction

Hard rubber tires don’t have enough traction and grip, especially when driving on slippery roads. However, once you soften your tires, you’ll get increased traction and improve the overall performance of your tires while driving.

2. Improved Control

Softening car tires helps improve overall control on the road, meaning you can navigate corners without needing to slow down.

Additionally, softened tires come with improved control to help you slow down and accelerate while racing.

How Do You Apply Tire Softeners?

How Do You Apply Tire Softeners?

When applying a softening product to your tires, ensure that it’s distributed evenly to cover all parts of the tire, which will allow the whole tire to be softened.

You should also try out different softeners, as one method might not work for everyone. Therefore, it’s recommended to try out various techniques until you land upon one that works well for your tires.

As well, when choosing a softener, ensure that it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can degrade your rubber material. Additionally, it would be best to prioritize safety by wearing protective gear to prevent a potential injury.

Finally, once you’re done applying the softener, remember to rinse your tires and monitor the progress.

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If you are looking to learn more, you can also see our posts on what is tire vulcanizing, under inflated tires symptoms, and why do new tires smell.


Tire softening is done to help improve the grip and traction on tires, and is a technique commonly used by racecar drivers who need to prepare their tires for optimal performance.

There are many different products that you can use to soften your tires, but because many are quite expensive, you can use household products such as cleaning agents that are much cheaper and just as safe for your tires.

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