If you have ever had your tires changed, you know how much easier it is for the tire shop to dispose of these parts for you. If you have had to dispose of old ones yourself, or if you keep an extra set on hand for seasonal changes, how you store these items is very important. Many local, regional and federal governments regulate such storage, particularly outside. But where you keep them also can make or break their usability if you want to remount them on your vehicle later.
A tire, not to mention related parts like wheels and rims, take up space in storage. Even worse, it is hard to keep them in good condition without some advanced planning. But in areas of the world where vehicle owners must have seasonal options for their vehicle, storage is a necessity. Few know how to store them properly. For guidance, we offer some of the insights provided to us by the pros at Good Tire Calgary below.
Can tires be stored outside?
Driving around your town or any part of the countryside, you can often spot a tire, two or 20 stored outside without a cover. But this outdoor storage is never a good practice for the ones you intend to put back on your vehicle. Storing them outside degrades their safety. The same is true when you store a tire in a garage that is not climate-controlled. Shifts in temperature can damage the rubber and other components quickly.
All of these tire-related products, including wheels and rims, age out of use eventually. Either time itself or the environment leads to material breakdown, or you exceed their usability limits on your vehicle. A tire is a sensitive object, one easily affected by sunlight, temperature, time and weather. This means that the best method of storing them is within a dry and cool internal environment.
Below are some tire storage tips to help you keep your seasonal set or spares in good working order:
- Clean and dry each tire before placing it into storage
- Keep them out of sunlight
- Store them in a cool, dry environment
- Keep each one in its own airtight plastic bag
- Store them standing upright or flat on one side
- Remove them from vehicles stored long-term
- Have each tire inspected by a professional before remounting
We look at these guidelines in greater detail below.
Clean and Dry Each Tire Before Placing It Into Storage
Before placing a tire in storage, you need to clean it of asphalt, brake dust and dirt. To do this, you should use products that do not contain any petroleum. Do not apply tire dressings or gloss. This means avoiding many of the products designed and marketed for tire cleaning. Over time, a stored tire can experience corrosion from many tire cleaning products.
Instead, use mild dish soap in a bucket of lukewarm water. Apply the soapy water using a tire brush, scrubbing away dirt and grime. Ensure each tire is completely dry before placing it in temperature-controlled storage. Never leave them in direct sunlight to dry.
Keep Them Out of Sunlight
Sunlight contains harmful UV rays that can age any tire by heating the rubber. Heated rubber dries out and deteriorates. To keep this dry rot from happening, keep each tire out of sunlight. Obviously, this is another reason why you should not store a tire outside.
If you must use storage with sunlight exposure, cover the tire using a sun reflective or protective tarp. It is very important that no light penetrates through the tarp fabric. When storing them indoors, keep these items away from doors and windows. Also, use tire storage bags specifically designed for sun protection.
Store Them in a Cool, Dry Environment
When storing inside as recommended, you should ensure they are housed in a cool, dry environment. Climate-controlled storage is best. It is important that the internal area maintains consistent temperature and humidity year-round. Tire rubber prematurely ages when using storage with decreases or increases in these environmental factors. Also, keeping the environment too warm is bad for rubber, just as too cold provides the same effects. This is why it is so important not to use the outdoors for storage, where you have no control over temperature or humidity changes.
Store them in:
- Climate-controlled storage unit
- Climate-controlled garage
- Basement, away from water tanks, furnaces, sump pumps or other equipment that produces ozone
Keep Each Tire in an Airtight Plastic Bag
Sunlight is not the only environmental element that leads to rubber deterioration. Oxygen is another threat. The best protection you can provide, aside from storage in a climate-controlled, sunlight-free space, is to keep each tire in its own vacuum-sealed plastic bag. This airtight bagging keeps oxidation from drying out the rubber. Otherwise, tightly wrap a tarp around each tire and secure it to keep the air from circulating around the rubber.
Store Each Tire Upright or Flat on Its Sidewall
Stacking and hanging can deform a tire unless you regularly move them around. If you have limited space, you may need to stack several. But you should only do so if they are unmounted and placed on their sidewalls above ground on a pallet or shelf. If stacking, wrap each one individually and rotate their stacked position monthly.
Remove Them From Vehicles Stored Long-Term
If you plan to store a vehicle for more than a few months, remove each tire first. Otherwise, you can experience “flat-spotting,” a condition that necessitates tire replacement. If taking them off of the vehicle is not possible, drive the vehicle for several miles every month to keep the oil distributed throughout the rubber of each tire. This even distribution keeps the rubber from dry rotting.
Have a Professional Inspect Them Before Remounting
You can successfully keep tires in good condition within storage and for continued use on your vehicle if you take the above precautions. But when remounting them on your vehicle, first have each tire inspected by a professional. Regardless of how long you used them on your car, truck or SUV, you should never mount a tire that is six years or longer beyond its production date. Even one with good-looking tread is compromised by age beyond this point.