What Does Sanding Tires Mean? (All You Need To Know)

Tire preparation is crucial especially when taking part in a competitive racing environment, and sanding is commonly used to help tires achieve their maximum potential.

However, what exactly does it mean to sand tires? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I learned on this topic!

What Does Sanding Tires Mean?

Sanding tires is the process of removing seams from the middle of the tire to ensure it has maximum contact with the road surface. Smooth sanded tires may perform well in dry conditions, but in wet conditions, it’s necessary to have treads to siphon water away from the tire.

Keep reading to find out if sanding is necessary, why people sand their tires, the consequences of sanding tires while driving, and more!

Is Tire Sanding Bad?

Eliminating seams from your tires ensures that they have as much contact with the road surface as possible and also improves traction.

However, one important thing to remember when removing the seams from your tires is not to remove too much rubber.

When you’re finished, the seam should still be visible, but it shouldn’t be protruding from the tire too much.

Excessive sanding of your tires may help your car drive “smoother” on the highway, yet compromise any form of traction your wheels may have on wet/loose conditions.

How Do People Sand Tires?

How Do People Sand Tires?

Sanding a tire seam using a rotary tool (such as a Dremel tool) with a sanding drum connected is the easiest and most cost-effective technique of eliminating the seams.

Simply sand the seam away while holding the tool at an angle to the seam (to avoid removing rubber from the region surrounding the seam).

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While this strategy is straightforward and inexpensive for most racers, it’s also the most time-consuming.

Alternatively, cutting the seam with a tiny but sharp nipper is another option. However, this strategy, while convenient for certain racers, may also be tiresome. Therefore, to make this procedure quick, easy, and successful, you’ll need a sharp set of nippers.

One common way for eliminating the seam is to spin the tire with a tire sander (or low-RPM tire truer) while holding sandpaper or a file against the seam.

If you remove the seams from your tires on a regular basis, this procedure is considerably more convenient. It’s recommended to use a thin file or sandpaper with a medium-fine grit.

How Do You Smooth A Tire Sidewall?

A dual-action or “DA” sander, as well as a couple of discs of 80 grit paper, are required to smooth a tire sidewall. 80 grit may appear coarse, but it leaves the sidewall of the “DA” quite smooth, while finer grits don’t produce the same results.

Overall, this procedure will not affect the tire in any way and is best done on a tire with air.

Can You Sand Rubber Tires?

Sanding rubber tires is possible through a process referred to as wet sanding, which clears the rubber surface without leaving sanding marks.

However, you should first identify the right type of sandpaper to use before sanding the rubber tires.

What Happens If I Sand My Tires?

What Happens If I Sand My Tires?

On a dry road, a smooth tire with a soft rubber composition is more preferable over a treaded tire.

Because there are no tread grooves, the contact area at the contact patch increases, resulting in increased tractive force, cornering force, and braking force.

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When the ground is wet, however, drivers will find that the grooved tread that siphons water away from the tires is suddenly necessary.

If water gets between the tire and the road surface, the driver will lose traction and hydroplane.

A tire’s tread patterns are designed to displace water and keep the tire and the road in touch. If you only drive on dry, level ground, a smooth-surfaced tire will suffice.

Tires with tread, on the other hand, are the best option for safe driving in most regions of the country because wet and snowy days are guaranteed.

To learn more about tires, you can also see our posts on how long do airless tires last, how long do semi truck tires last, what does T or H mean on tires, and what are wheel studs.


Sometimes, you may need to give your tires a brief “scuff” if you are to achieve maximum performance, which can be done with sanding, using a rotary tool connected to a sanding drum. However, note that driving on sanded tires can cause hydroplaning if the road is wet.

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