There’s black coming through my whitewalls

May 1, 2012 | By Richard Prince


I have a problem with a set of wide whitewall tires I had bought for my 1960 Corvette. They were up in the attic of my garage for several years as they had come from the warehouse, wrapped in a cellophane-type material. Not thinking anything could happen to them during that period they had gone through several climate changes from some very hot conditions to some very cold.

My car is now getting close to being on the road and when I got the tires down to see about putting them on the rims I noticed that there appeared to be some “bleed through” of the black of the tire under the whitewall.

I have tried everything I can think of from Bleche White cleaner to full strength household bleach to see if I could remove the stains to no avail and so I feel I am going to need some suggestions that might solve my dilemma.

As you can imagine, I am very upset about what has happened and do not really want to put these tires on the car as they are.


I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a really good solution for your tire problem. Once you have darker material bleeding through the white portion you cannot simply clean the staining off because the discoloration is not on top of the whitewall, it is, instead, right through it.

If you feel ambitious and want to take a chance, you can try painting the whitewalls with special rubberized whitewall tire paint. The longevity of this depends on several factors, including the surface condition of the tires. As with any paint, if the surface of the tire is not extremely clean and dry the whitewall paint won’t adhere correctly. In your case, the material leaching out of the tire and through the whitewall may be oil in the tire’s rubber and this will certainly prevent the paint from sticking.

I know this is not what you want to hear, but your best course of action probably is to sell your old tires and buy new ones. The difference in cost will probably not be tremendous, especially relative to the value of your car and the cost for restoration work you’re doing to it.