Tire Maintenance & Safety
Most drivers only use one set of tires year-round, but some need to use a set of winter tires to help them get through tough ice, slush, snow, and frozen roads that are common during the winter months. So, what happens to the set of tires they use during the other three seasons? And what happens with the winter tires they use during Spring, Summer, and Fall?
SimpleTire is here to explain the process of storing winter or summer tires by providing four simple tips to help you store them correctly so that you can confidently use them again.
Why store tires?
Storing your tires when they’re out of season is vital because doing it correctly promotes a longer tread life. The sun, weather changes, and letting tires sit on a car that’s not being driven can cause issues such as cracking and flat spots, which can lead to tire failure. All this is to say that storing your tires when not in use will let you drive on them longer.
So now you know why storing your tires matters, but how do you do it?
Clean your tires
Tires collect dirt, grime, and other unwanted debris within their tread and sidewalls as they’re driven, so cleaning your tires is a must. Fortunately, cleaning your tires is pretty straightforward, and you only need water, a tire brush, and some detergent to remove the grime before storing them for the season. We recommend that you avoid applying a gloss or any kind of dressing to the tire before storage, as doing so might actually break down the rubber compound.
Be sure to clean your wheels if you plan on storing them with the tire, and make sure that your tires (and wheels) are completely dry before proceeding.
Airtight tire storage bags
Once you’ve cleaned your tires and they’re completely dry, find large, airtight plastic bags to store your tires in. Make sure the bag and tire are free of moisture, and then begin removing air from the bag using a vacuum cleaner or pump. Tape the bag shut once as much air as possible is removed from it.
You might be wondering why you need to remove air from the bag, and you’re not alone. Air, especially in a confined space like a bag, allows for the evaporation of oils within the rubber compound, so removing as much of it as possible will help to keep the tire as close to its current level as possible. You might also be wondering if there are tire storage covers, caddies, and so on out there. These products do exist and do a great job of keeping dust and grime out of the tire, but they aren’t airtight so we wouldn’t recommend them as the main method of storage. You can, however, use a storage caddie or tote after your tires have been placed in an airtight bag to easily transport them.
Pick a climate controlled spot
Cleaning and bagging your tires are very important, but picking where you’re going to store your tires might be even more crucial. Tires should not be stored in open air environments, even if they have a protective covering, in cold or warm weather as these temperature changes can cause the rubber compound to break down. The best place to store your tires is a cool, dry, moderately ventilated area that’s out of the sun. Garages, sheds, and attics tend to come to mind, but try to avoid these since they experience a wide range of temperatures, humidity, and precipitation. A climate controlled space, such as a basement, is often a great place to store your tires when they’re not in use.
Be sure to keep your tires away from things like generators, compressors, furnaces, switches, sump pumps, and central vacuum cleaners since all of these use electric brushes that generate ozone, which is known to break down the rubber compounds within a tire. Likewise, make sure that other chemicals such as solvents, fuels, and lubricants are away from the tires so that they don’t accidentally fall onto the storage bags, seep in, and damage your tires.
Hang, stack, or standing tire storage
You’ve cleaned, bagged, and picked a great spot with a consistent temperature to store your tires. Now what? The last thing you need to consider is if you’d like to hang, stack, or stand your tires. Hanging your tires from a rack or hooks is a great option if you’re storing the tire with a wheel. Never hang a tire without a wheel, as doing so could damage or distort the tire.
What about stacking a tire? A common sight at most tire shops, stacking your tires is only preferable if the tires have a wheel in them and you can’t hang your tires. Make sure that you don’t stack the tires too high to avoid the stack tipping over, and be sure to have the black part facing a black part, and a white part facing a white part if you have whitewall or outlined white letter tires.
Last, but certainly not least, is standing up your tires. This is actually the preferred method for storing tires, as it puts less pressure on them and means that you can confidently store your tires without worrying that they’ll wear unevenly.
SimpleTip Are you storing your tires and wheels together? Make sure that your tires are properly inflated before stacking them so that the weight of the wheel doesn’t crush an underinflated tire.
Unlike your holiday decorations, storing your tires has a very specific process to follow, and following the process should prevent any unwanted damage. Tires are naturally going to age and break down over time, but using the four tips above can help extend their tread life while in storage. Still have questions about storing your winter or summer tires? Give us a call, and our Tire Experts will be more than happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions that you may have.
Routine maintenance is critical for your car, and your tires are no different. Be sure to take your tires to a shop before and after storing them to make sure they’re still in good condition to use on the road.
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