Whether you keep an extra set of tires for emergencies or store your winter tires in the garage during the spring and summer, there are certain ways to keep tires safe from unnecessary decay while they’re packed away. Wondering what precautions you can take to keep your stored tires looking and driving as good as new? Read on.
When should I store my tires?
Tires should be stored if you don’t think you’ll use them in the near future – even if they’re on a vehicle you don’t expect to use. Keeping tires mounted on an unused vehicle can actually be harder on them than regular wear. Inactivity can be harmful for your tires because consistent use keeps them flexible. However, you shouldn’t leave unused tires just laying around anywhere. Keep them out of direct sunlight and heat, which can break down rubber and create fractures that increase the chances of flat tires.
What should I know before I store my tires?
Before you store your tires, wash them with soap and a sturdy brush to get dirt and grime out of even the deepest tread. If you store your tires mounted on the wheels, clean the wheels as well, and use a polish to finish. Once you’re done, dry your tires (and wheels) completely. Avoid using tire finish, as you want to avoid any moisture inside the bag tires are stored in.
What sort of container should I use to store my tires?
Tires should be stored individually in airtight bags. You can use plastic bags (like lawn and garden bags) or you can buy bags specifically made to protect tires and keep them clean (like Kurgo’s tire totes). Be sure to remove as much air as possible from each bag. Oil evaporation is the main concern, so double-check that there aren’t any holes in your tire bags.
Should I store my tires upright or hang them on the walls?
If your tires are still mounted on their wheels, you can hang them on the wall or from the ceiling. You can also stack mounted tires, as long as you use wheel felts or another protective layer between each tire to prevent wheel damage. If you store your tires on mounted rims, make sure there’s a little air in them, 10 psi minimum; this will help the tires keep their shape.
Want to build your own tire rack – for cheap? Check out our DIY tire rack here.
Unmounted tires should not be stored upright, as the stress of gravity can cause warping and distortion. Instead, store unmounted tires in covered stacks, as this causes the least amount of wear.
What conditions are best for storing tires?
When you put your tires away, make sure to store them in a dry and cool place like a temperature-controlled room, garage, or cellar. Wherever you store your tires, make sure they aren’t subject to extreme heat or extreme cold – that means not storing them outside. You can also buy a Tire Garage to protect tires from the elements.
What about storing whitewall tires?
Drivers who own whitewall tires have an eye for aesthetics. There are simple precautions you can take to keep your whitewalls looking new while they’re in storage. If you stack whitewall tires, make sure white sides are stacked facing each other, and the same for black sides (or use wheel felts or another protective layer in between). For any tires with colored lettering or walls, use this same rule as color walls can be stained if stored touching a wall of a different color.
For more information, see our Top ten tire storage tips.