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How to Store Winter Tires

How to Store Winter Tires

Those of us who live in cold climates often need tires specifically for winter driving, which then need to come off the vehicle in the warmer months. Did you know there are requirements for storing winter tires? Here are some do’s and don’ts to prolong their life:

·       If a vehicle is in storage for months on end, don’t leave the weight on the tires for lengthy periods. Either put the vehicle on jack stands or take it out and drive it once a week or so to flex the tires and disperse the inner chemicals and oil within the rubber compound.

·       Avoid commercial “tire dressing” products. Tire compounds are designed to resist dry rot, ozone cracks or weather checks just fine on their own.

·       Don’t expose the tires to direct sunlight. The black color means that tires absorb heat and UV rays, both of which are detrimental to the rubber compound of a tire that’s not being used.

·       If you’re storing the tires, keep each tire in an opaque, airtight plastic bag (a lawn and garden bag or trash bag is fine). Close the bag tightly and tape it shut, and try to avoid any condensation collecting on the inside of the bag. That way each tire will have its own “mini-atmosphere” that will keep it much more stable while in storage.

·       If you don’t use plastic bags for storage and have white-letter or white-stripe sidewalls on yoru tires, be sure to stack them “white/white” or black/black.” The rubber compound of tires is naturally white, and has to be infused with carbon black to keep its black color. If a black tire smudges against the white letters or whitewall stripe, it will discolor and stain the white portion. While storing tires against each other, the carbon black will migrate into the other tires’ white portions and leave a stain that can never come out.

·       Tires are sensitive to ozone; keep them away from any machinery like electric motors, sump pump or furnaces generate ozone.

·       Perhaps most importantly…keep your stored tires in a cool, dry location. A dry basement or cellar is much better than a hot garage, shed or attic. Basement temperatures are likely to be cooler and more stable, while an attic or shed will fluctuate and become much hotter during daylight hours.