Storing that extra set of tires can be challenging, whether winter tires or summer ones, especially if you are clueless about where to begin.
You may change the tires at home, but knowing how and where to store them makes all the difference. So what are the best ways to store tires that extend their lifetime, protect them from sagging, keep them ready for use and help avoid the unnecessary cash spent on tires each season?
This guide has the answers to all your questions, based on my personal experiences.
Can I Store My Tires In The Shed?
Although you can store tires in the shed, I personally wouldn’t recommend it. Sheds experience big shifts in temperatures over a long period of time, ranging from immense cold in the winter to immense heat in the summer. And that’s without mentioning rain, regardless of whether your shed’s watertight or not.
This frequently changing atmosphere is not ideal for tires, especially winter tires. You want to find a climate-controlled, cool, and dry place to store the tires, like the basement.
These changes won’t instantly affect the tires, but if prolonged – say over a matter of months – your tires would be affected, and then you’d need to spend another $3 million (ok maybe not that much) on a new set of tires.
The tire won’t explode sitting in the shed, but it will slowly begin to dry rot and will wear out eventually. And driving a worn out or dry rotted tire is not a good idea unless, of course, you are Vin Diesel.
Read Also: Why do tires blow out?
Can Tires Be Stored Outdoors?
Unless it absolutely cannot be avoided, tires should never be stored outside, especially not under direct sunlight. That’s because ultraviolet rays can seriously reduce your tire’s lifespan and performance, leading to premature aging and unwarranted deformation.
Generally, to preserve tires and help retain their strength, they should be stored indoors where the atmosphere is cool and dark, and the temperature is moderate.
That being said, if you have to store your tires outside, don’t do it for long, and if you can, store the tires on a high surface in large plastic bags.
Each tire must be sealed in an airtight or vacuum sealed bag. By being placed in a bag with no oxygen, the oxidation process that damages tires will stop, thus preventing much of the potential damage to your tires.
This also helps minimize oil evaporation, which delays the dry rot in tires by a significant stretch.
Is it OK to store tires outside in the winter?
No, tires should not be stored outside in winter, unless you want to see stiff and deflated tires at the end of the season.
Since stiff rubber does not have enough elasticity to bear impact, it may lead to weathering sidewalls and loss of traction in the tires. I’d personally never recommend keeping your tires outside in the winter, and if not necessary, it should be avoided.
However, if you have absolutely no other option than to place them outside, avoid ground and water contact at all costs.
Is It OK To Stack Tires?
You should only stack tires if it is absolutely necessary and there is no other free space. If the tires are mounted on rims, you can hang them from tire hooks which is a relatively convenient method. This way, the weight will fall on the hook, and you will have extra room to hang or place remaining tires.
As for unmounted tires, you can use a tire rack to sort each one out. It is better to stack the tires vertically inside the tire rack as this will offer extra space and stress distribution. However, whatever you do, do not hang unmounted tires from a hook or nail, as it can lead to tire deformation. I do not recommend it, but if necessary, you can stack the tires flat on the surface to save some space.
Tip: When you stack the tires, place wooden or some other material barrier beneath the load. This will help the tires be more stable and prevent excess moisture buildup near the tire.
How Do You Keep Tires From Dry Rotting In Storage?
Before we learn measures to stop dry rotting in tires, we first need to know the background. Dry rotting occurs in tires when they lose the moisture that keeps them moving, and this mostly happens with tires that have been kept stationary for long periods.
The tires gradually become hard and brittle since the oil in the tires requires downward movement to keep the tires moist. Once they reach a certain point in dry rotting, they become dangerous to use on vehicles as they may blow up upon impact with the road.
Read Also: How to prevent tires from dry rotting?
To prevent tires from dry rotting in the storage, you need to:
- Clean the tires properly, as even a tiny layer of mud can cause some oil to evaporate and begin the process of dry rotting.
- Ensure your tires are thoroughly dried before you store them
- Keep the tires away from the sun, and do not dry them off under sunlight. UV rays play a huge role in oil evaporation in tires, eventually leading to dry rot.
- Cover the tires in airtight bags to stop oxygen and air from entering. This is because oxygen contributes to weathering sidewalls (the reason why every tire begins dry rotting after a period). Airtight bags can help delay dry rotting and the aging process.
- Store your tires in a place that doesn’t experience frequent swings in the atmosphere and doesn’t have much sunlight exposure.
- Check-in on the tires every two to four weeks and move them around to avoid any chances of early deformation.
- Eliminate all chemical substances from where you store the tires, especially the sources of Ozone like generators, furnaces, compressors, and vacuum cleaners.
- You might also want to keep harmful liquids like fuels, lubricants and propellants away from the tires.
Is It Better To Store Tires Mounted Or Unmounted?
Storing unmounted tires is better than storing mounted tires as they are easier to work with. Unmounted tires offer more room, are lighter to carry and pose fewer safety risks, contrary to its counterpart.
Mounted tires, on the other hand, are difficult to manage as a single tire can weigh up to 40 pounds; unless you’re Superman, it might be difficult to carry a set of four of them one after the other.
Moreover, placing them on any surface can cause deformities in the tires as the rim puts constant weight on the tires, and the best way to store mounted tires is to hang them from a hook. But that has its drawbacks too.
If the tire falls for any unfortunate reason, the aftermath will be huge for the object underneath and can also cause flat spots in the tire because of the strong impact.
Therefore, to avoid any problems with the tires or to stress yourself out, it is better to remove the rims from the tires and store them unmounted.
Is It Better To Store Tires Inflated Or Deflated?
It is better to store the tires slightly inflated. As a rule of thumb, you must lower the tire’s pressure enough to bear the rim’s weight. This way there are less chances of unevenness in the tire.
Deflated tires, on the other hand, can cause reduced flexibility and stiffness of the sidewalls. Run flat tires also are extremely costly to get repaired if damaged and are not as durable as inflated tires.
However, I have observed inflation depends upon the style and design of your tire, especially when it is mounted. A minimum of 10 PSI must be in your tire at all times as the wheel rims put constant pressure on the tire. Since the tire is bearing pressure, the seal is also in danger.
So to prevent the seal from breaking, you must keep the tire pressure higher than its surroundings. This way, the wheel will remain in place, and leaks in the seal can easily be prevented.
Is It Better To Store Tires Standing Up Or Lying Down?
I’d recommend storing tires standing up for a variety of reasons, regardless of whether the tires are mounted or not.
Personally, I store my tires in an upright position, and I have been continuing this practice for years now. Not only does it offer more space, but it also reduces the stress on each tire and helps retain its original shape and structure.
You won’t have to worry about deformation or deflation anytime soon. If you do stack the tires standing up, store them in two different stacks. This way there is less chance of the tires tripping or falling. Additionally, ensure to move the tires around every once in a while to keep them in shape.
Similarly, if you have a tire rack where you can place the unmounted tires, it is best to store them upright. It will create room for more tires, offer stress distribution, and is one of the best ways to store tires.
So maybe you’re thinking not much would happen if you leave the tires out with a little cover on them. However, this is probably the worst thing you can do to your tires.
As a reminder, take a look at these outcomes that can turn into reality with even the slightest negligence:
- The tires will be deflated because of the external pressure
- They will show signs of dry rot
- UV rays will begin breaking down the rubber compounds in the tire
- The tires will be subject to accelerated and/or premature aging
And let’s not discuss the catastrophe you will have to face when you mount the tires and take your car for a ride. It is possible the tires lose traction and swing on the road endangering your life and that of others on the road.
So to avoid all this mess, you should store them indoors in a cool place with the help of above mentioned best ways to store tires.