How to Remove Tire Marks Off Concrete?

Tire scuffs and skid marks on concrete garage floors and driveways are typically unsightly. These marks occur when you spin or when the wheels of a vehicle sit on a concrete surface for long in hot weather. When heated, polymer compounds in the rubber are released to react or stick on the concrete.

Black tire marks on your driveway come from the polymer compound within tires becoming hot. Hot tires are more likely to leave marks than cool ones. These marks won’t go away on their own for months, as many of the chemicals used in tire compounds are water-resistant so that they won’t fade in the rain.

Unlike asphalt surfaces, tire marks will be more conspicuous on concrete, bricks and natural stone pavers. Removing tire marks on concrete can be a very difficult task, especially when you apply a traditional way of cleaning.

Although difficult to prevent, proper cleaning will prevent buildup that usually makes tire marks harder to clean. When cleaning a concrete driveway to get rid of tire marks, use a concrete degrease to soften the marks for faster removal.

If you have ever wondered how to clean white letters on tires, here is everything you need to know!

Things You Will Need

  • Degreaser
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • High-pressure washer

Tip

High-pressure washers are available for rent at hardware stores and equipment rental outlets, along with demonstrations of using them. Consider cleaning the entire driveway when removing the skid marks. Otherwise, there will be clean spots showing against the dirtier concrete. Trisodium phosphate is an effective degreaser for use on concrete when used according to label directions.

Warning

Keep the pressure washer wand in motion to avoid the water stream from eating away at the concrete. Wear safety goggles, rubber gloves and closed-toe shoes. Do not use bleach on concrete; it degrades the surface and is not environmentally friendly.

How to Remove Tire Marks from Concrete

Step 1. Clear the Concrete Floor of Any Debris

You’ll want to make sure that you get all items off your garage floor or driveway. Make sure to cover up anything that might be in the way and could get wet or damaged. You’ll also want to make sure you cover up any delicate plants in the surrounding area to ensure they are protected.

Step 2. Pour Degreaser on the Tire Marks and Let it Sit

Use some concrete degreaser, like our CSP Degreaser, and pour it onto the scuffs and let it sit for about 30 minutes while ensuring that you don’t let it dry. The key here is not to let the degreaser dry, so continue adding more as needed to keep it saturated wet. During warmer months, try to do your work in the cool part of the day and with less sun, so it does not dry out as quickly.

Step 3. Scrub the Area With a Stiff Straw Brush

While some people say that they only need to pour on the CSP and allow it to sit a few minutes, and then it will power wash right off, we still find that scrubbing it with a straw brush usually gets it up better. First, scrub the area using our high-quality Straw Concrete Scrub Brush to move the degreaser around as it soaks in, and after 30 minutes, aggressively scrub it once more. You can also use a floor scrubber or floor buffing machine with the black aggressive scrubbing/stripping pad.

Step 4. Apply Some More Degreaser and Continue Scrubbing

You should apply some more degreaser after a few minutes and scrub some more. You won’t usually need to do too much scrubbing at this point, but it’s best to apply some more and give one last scrub.

Step 5. Wash it Off With a Power Washer

You can use a power washer or a sprayer nozzle to wash off the degreaser. If you are indoors, you can use a mop to wash it off.

Prepare the Yard Near the Driveway

Remove container plants and cover any flowerbeds and pathway lights near the skid marks with a lightweight plastic tarp, weighted with bricks or rocks. Move any toys or bicycles off the driveway as well.

You will also want to prepare yourself at this point to stay as dry as possible. Eye protection, rubber gloves, and waterproof boots should be enough gear for this job.

Rent or Borrow a Hot Water Pressure Washer

You will need a hot water pressure washer rated up to 3000 psi to remove solid rubber marks from the concrete surface. Concrete should be rated to withstand pressure to 4000 psi, a standard for driveways, so you won’t have to worry about damaging the surface. Spray the skid marks for two to three minutes with the water hot enough to produce some steam.

Soak Marks With Industrial-Strength Degreaser

You can get industrial degreasing detergents at your hardware or auto supply store. Apply it to the skid marks and let it soak in for 10 minutes.

Scrub

Using the bristle broom, scrub over the tire marks to lift the rubber particles. Rinse your broom from time to time as you scrub, and be sure to brush around the edges of the skid mark to ensure you have cleaned it all off.

Rinse the Sites

Adjust the pressure washer to a lower temperature, warm but not steaming, and rinse off the skid mark areas. Then, point the pressure washer nozzle down the driveway toward the road, not toward your lawn and flowerbed, and finish with a rinse at the coolest setting.

Squeegee the Driveway

With the squeegee, pull as much water from the concrete as you can. Allow the driveway to dry for three to four hours afterwards, and park cars on the road.

Cover the Concrete with a Penetrating Sealant

Purchase a clear, penetrating concrete sealant for your driveway. Apply it when the surface has dried fully, using the squeegee. Then, create an even layer of sealant over the entire thing to shield it from future skid marks. Avoid using a film-forming sealer because these create a slippery surface and can alter the colour and appearance of your concrete.

Teach Your Family Drivers How to Avoid Skidding

Explain to the drivers in your family the negative effects of tire marks and how they can impact your vehicle. This poor braking technique can cause brake wear, tire damage, and even collisions in wet weather with road objects and other cars. Then, show everyone how to brake properly and avoid ever having to clean the skid marks again.

How to Prevent Tire Marks on Driveways

It is usually tough to remove tire marks once they are formed. Getting rid of them takes a lot of effort, and the removal process may also damage your concrete. However, there are several ways you can prevent these marks from forming on your hardscapes and concrete floors.

  1. Change sealer on your driveway and use a highly cross-linked polyurethane sealer, epoxy, or high-solids acrylic sealer. Acrylic sealer with a low level of cross-linking is more susceptible to stains and tire scuffs.
  2. Park your car somewhere so that tires can cool before driving it gently on your driveway or pavers.
  3. Go for tires with low levels of polymer compounds that hardly leave marks on a driveway.
  4. Clean your concrete regularly and remove the tire marks early enough before they overstay.

Top tips on removing tire shine from concrete driveway

  • Treat marks as soon as possible.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach.
  • Test degreasers on a small area of your driveway before using them on the entire surface to check that the formula is suitable for your concrete.
  • Don’t use metal brushes, as these can leave scratches and marks on your concrete driveway.
  • Try pouring cat litter onto the stain and let it sit for at least a week. It should absorb the stain.

Hiring a Professional Pressure Washing Company to Remove Tire Marks from a Driveway

Hiring your driveway cleaned by a pressure washing company is probably the easiest route to go. But before calling just anyone, here are some tips on hiring a professional power washing company.

First, you want to get references.

Second, you want to see before and after pics. Again, any good pressure washing company will have loads of these.

Third, you want to make sure they are insured. This is more for your protection. Ask for a copy of their insurance and then call their carrier to confirm. Any reputable company will be happy to do this.

Fourth, ask them how they will be cleaning your driveway. As mentioned above, a surface cleaner is the best way. Any professional pressure washing company will have a surface cleaner.

Fifth. Ask them what type of cleaning agent they will be using. Some use very harsh chemicals that can kill or damage your grass and shrubs. If they’re going to use such cleaners, make sure they protect your vegetation first!

Sixth. Make sure you inspect your drive afterwards to ensure it’s cleaned to your satisfaction.

Having your driveway power washed to remove the tire marks isn’t cheap, but it’s well worth it. So now, how are we going to prevent that from happening again?

Sealing Your Driveway to Prevent Tire Marks

Now that you have your driveway nice and clean again, you need to take precautions to keep it looking that way!

What you’re going to want to do is seal your driveway. But, again, you can do this yourself or hire it done for you.

If you decide to try it yourself, make sure you get a good quality penetrating concrete sealer.

Whatever you do, don’t cheap out here! This is one of those things you do get what you pay for. A cheap driveway sealer can be nearly as bad as no driveway sealer at all!

If you decide to do it yourself, you’re going to need your sprayer and broom again. Make sure the broom is very clean. If not, get another one.

Spray the sealer on the concrete, working in small sections again. I like to apply it just so a little extra driveway sealer puddles.

Do not let it dry this way. Instead, take your clean broom and even out the concrete sealer. If you leave any puddles on the surface, they may dry in a faint white colour.

Let it stand at least 24 hours before driving on it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tire Marks

Proper and regular cleaning of your concrete driveway will help prevent the buildup that makes tire marks more stubborn and harder to clean. When applying tire shine, always cover the area you’re working on with some pieces of old fabric to protect your driveway.

Some driveways are more prone to tire marks and tire shine marks because of the type of sealer that has been used. The rubber on your tires interacts with sealers differently.

For example, an acrylic sealer has a low level of cross-linking, which means it will react strongly with rubber at leave more obvious marks. Resealing your driveway with a polyurethane or epoxy sealer could help prevent future tire marks. Reapplying sealer at least every two years will keep your driveway looking its best.

We’re sorry, but these marks aren’t going anywhere fast on their own. Many of the chemicals used in tire compounds are water-resistant, so they won’t gradually fade in the rain. Instead, they generally stay around for months or even longer. 

This is good news for accident investigators, who can piece together evidence by looking at the position and type of tire marks. However, it’s less good for the rest of us, as we don’t want unsightly dark marks on our clean driveways.

So, we have two main approaches here. First, we learn the best ways to prevent these marks from happening and how to remove them if they occur. Then, of course, if it’s a small mark on a dark-coloured or older driveway, we may decide not to worry about this at all.

As tire marks won’t go away on their own, you’ll have to remove them yourself. However, it’s a pretty straightforward process, and we’ll take you through how to do it.

You have a choice of three types of cleaning products: degreaser, oxygen bleach or trisodium phosphate. This last one is a heavy-duty degreaser that’s similar to the bicarbonate of soda.

Bleach may sound harsh, but gentler remedies might not remove those black marks. Don’t use bleach if you have a stained or painted driveway, and please be careful with the run-off when you rinse it later. You don’t want to harm plants, grass, or pets. 

You can buy degreasers online or in-home stores. This is a more environmentally friendly method than diluted bleach, but you may need to repeat the process. If it’s a big stain, don’t mess about degreasing it with a mild domestic soap, but get yourself a big bottle of trisodium phosphate.

The method we’re about to take you through works on asphalt, concrete, stone, and brick driveways. Ideally, clean the stain as soon as you notice the tire marks, as they’re harder to remove once they’ve baked in for a while. 

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