So it’s time to store your winter tires. Here’s a checklist to follow and make sure you’re storing them properly. To moderate some expectations, it’s important to know there’s no right way to store a tire. There are just general guidelines that will help prolong their life.
Step 1: Remove tires
Most people remove the tires completely from the rims and install their new tires on the old rims; But for people using specialized tires, they may have new rims and new tires, so they will obviously need to remove both.
Step 2: Clean tires
After driving through winter, your tires will have collected salt, brake dust, dirt, oil, grime, gasoline and who knows what else. It’s hard to know what chemicals are slowly eating away at the rubber compounds in your tire. Before letting them hibernate for a season, give them a good bath. Use soap and water and a tire brush. Dry with a towel. Make sure you give the residue of water enough time to evaporate before proceeding. Do not apply tire dressing or tire gloss when storing tires. These chemicals will actually damage the tires if they remain on too long.
Step 3: Protect tires
Two things that expand our lives will shorten your tires’: sun and water. While we drink water to live, and therefore see it as harmless, it is one of the most abrasive chemicals. It causes metal to rust and tires to disintegrate. And, the UV rays from the sun will cause the oils in your tires to evaporate. To protect your tires from sun and water, store them in an air tight bag. A large trash bag will do. Many people use a vacuum to drain as much air from the bag as possible before sealing the bag with tape.
Step 4: Location
There are several things to consider when thinking about where to store your tires. The first things is climate. The more moderate the climate the better. A shed can have a very unstable climate. It can feel like a refrigerator at night and like an oven in the day—both excessive heat and coldness will age your tires. A climate controlled garage or basement is a better location. The next thing to consider is protection. While you do have bags protecting your tire, it’s still best to avoid wet areas, or any exposed location. Finally, avoid ozone. Heaters, engines, welders… all of these things produce ozone which will damage your tires, so don’t store tires nearby.
Step 5: Position
It is actually best to store tires vertically instead of stacking them. This eliminates the prolonged stress of one tire on another. If you have rims on your tires, you should consider hanging them. Otherwise, it’s not a good idea to store them at all. The important thing is to preserve the shape of the tire. You don’t want to do something that will, over several months, misshape things.