hot tire marks on garage floor

How To Prevent Tire Marks On Your Garage Floor

Tire marks on garage floors are unsightly. Especially if you spent money putting down a nice, epoxy floor or like a clean, stain-free appearance. And if you are like me and had to use a brush and detergent or cleaning solution to try and remove them, you’ll probably agree that the best solution is to avoid them in the first place.

It’s a tough job!

In this article, I am going to show you how to prevent tire marks on a garage floor, how to remove them, and what is the best way to prevent them in the future.

What causes tire marks on a garage floor?

You might be wondering why your car tires are creating black tire marks on your garage floor when you aren’t slamming on your brakes or squealing your tires. Why are these tire marks appearing out of thin air?

Hot tire marks on garage floor
Hot tire marks

Simply pulling in and out of your garage can leave tire marks all over your nice epoxy flooring or concrete floor. While high-quality epoxy floors and sealers can help reduce tire marks, they won’t entirely eliminate them.

There are two primary causes for tire marks on your garage floor; burnouts or skidding or plasticizer migration, both amplified with hot tires. Since most of us aren’t squealing tires or doing burnouts in our garage, the most likely cause is due to tire heat from driving and the breakdown of compounds in the tire itself that buildup and stain the floors.

This process is called plasticizer migration.

Plasticizer migration

What is plasticizer migration in car tires?

Plasticizer migration (in terms of tires) is a fancy term that simply means that the chemical polymer compounds in rubber, called plasticizers leech out of the tire and onto the floor. Over time this leads to black stains and marks on your garage floor.

When you drive, the friction from the tire causes the tire to heat up and get hot. Once you park in the garage, the hot tire begins to cool. As it cools, the tire settles slightly (or relaxes) as tire pressure lowers slightly and this allows the tire to rub or slightly against the surface of the garage floor. This allows the plasticizers and other compounds such as oil to leech from the rubber along with dirt picked up from the road. Turning your tires while the car is parked can also increase the chance of leaving a mark on the floor.

High performance and all-season tires are the worst offenders

The higher quality of the tire, the more plasticizers are used to soften the tires and give them a better grip on the road surface.

High-performance tires and all-season tires tend to be the worst offenders due to their higher quality and material used in the manufacturing process and softer treads.

How can I prevent stains on my garage floor from hot tires?

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to stop tires from staining your floors. It is built right into the chemical makeup of the tire.

You can minimize the impact of hot tire marks by installing a high-quality epoxy floor. But even epoxy flooring won’t prevent it 100%. An epoxy garage floor can make them slightly easier to remove and clean since the epoxy sealer helps create a smooth coating that acts as a barrier from getting into the concrete underneath. This makes the floor easier to clean and scrub with detergents, cleaners, and a brush. Many low-quality DIY epoxy floors won’t help much.

Another way to minimize tire marks on your garage floor is to let your car tires cool down first before pulling into your garage. Parking your vehicle in the driveway and letting it sit for 15-30 minutes, gives the tires a chance to cool down first before pulling your car into the garage. However, if you have a concrete driveway you just moved the problem there. In that case, you are better off parking on the street first.

But seriously who has time to do that?

How do I protect my garage floor from tire marks?

A much better approach and one that is guaranteed 100% to protect your garage floor is to use rubber mats or garage floor tire runners. These are designed to protect your floors from tire marks, dirt, road debris, and road salt.

Do garage floor mats and garage floor tire runners work?

Garage mats

Garage floor mats are made of rubber and help protect your garage floor from tire marks, oil stains, gas stains, spilled paint, road salt, and other debris that can get in your garage due to vehicles or other means.

Garage mats can also be easily cleaned with detergent, light degreaser, and light scrubbing. You can rinse with a hose or use a pressure washer to help spray off any soap residue.

Cleaning is a lot easier than scrubbing oil stains and tire marks off your floor.

Garage floor tire runners

Garage floor tire runners, or garage floor protector strips, are made from heavy plastic or rubber. You place tire runners’ wheel width apart and park over them so that they protect your floor. These do a great job at protecting your concrete or epoxy garage floor and keeping your garage floors free of marks.

Can you put rubber tire runners and mats on an epoxy floor?

Yes. The rubber material in tire runners and mats is safe to use on epoxy flooring.

How to remove tire marks from an epoxy garage floor?

epoxy floor brush

If the installer used a high-quality clear coat sealer, you may be able to remove tire marks from your epoxy flooring by wiping down the surface with a light degreaser.

You may need to lightly scrub the surface but be careful if you used a lower quality epoxy product that has a thin clear coat. Epoxy flooring that has a thin application of sealer, may scratch the paint or remove any sealers, especially if you use a stiff brush as you scrub to remove tire marks. But if you have a high-quality installation, the tire marks should come right up without damage.

How to remove tire marks from a concrete garage floor?

If you are trying to get rid of tire marks from concrete, the process can be a little more involved. Many concrete garage floors typically do not have paint or a sealer applied. This makes it a bit harder to clean.

The best place to start is to pick up some concrete degreaser from Amazon or your local home improvement store. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection to protect against accidental contact.

Next, apply the concrete degreaser directly to the tire marks and let it sit for several minutes. Do not allow it to dry out. Spray with a light coat of water until you are ready to brush it out.

Use a stiff brush and scrub until the marks are removed from the concrete. Repeat this process as many times as needed until the floor is clean. Since tire marks are hard to get rid of, it can take a few attempts before the concrete is completely clean

After all the marks have been removed from the concrete flooring, clean your floor with soap and rinse out thoroughly to prevent any leftover solvent from remaining behind. Solvent could later come into contact with your skin and lead to irritation if you do not rinse properly.

Finally, allow your garage floor to completely dry before parking your car in the garage.

Will a pressure washer remove tire marks from your garage floor?

In most cases, a pressure washer is not enough to get rid of tire marks from a garage floor. Concrete garage flooring can make it a tough job, and usually requires you to follow the tips we shared earlier. Plus, if you are not careful, a pressure washer running at too high a pressure, can damage any paint or sealer that has been applied.