Proper Storage of Winter Tires
Proper storage of winter tires during the summer months can help extend the service life of tires. Once the weather warms up and snow has melted from the roadways, it is fun to replace stocky winter tires with sporty summer tires ready for beach weather. To help guide you through storing your winter tires until next year, we have surveyed the service bulletins and owner’s manuals of most of the major tire manufacturers to provide you with a general guide of the tire industry’s best practices for tire storage. While it may be impossible or impractical to follow each of these suggestions, particularly when storing large numbers of tires, the below information can help inform your decisions when storing tires for the summer.
Prior to Storing Winter Tires
- Prior to storing the tires, clean the surface on which the tires are going to be stored. Make sure the surface is clear of any grease, gasoline or other debris that could cause the tire to deteriorate. Also clean the tires with soap and water to remove brake dust, dirt, and grime.
During Winter Tire Storage
- Keep the tires stored indoors in a cool area, below 77 degrees, and away from direct sunlight. Tires should also be stored in an area with low humidity as humidity can cause condensation to form on the tires. Tires need to be kept dry during storage. A dry basement is an acceptable place to temporarily store tires while they are not in use. While a garage or a shed may be a convenient place to store a tire, these spaces often experience drastic changes in temperature and humidity, which can be detrimental to the tires you are storing.
- Keep the tires away from grease, gasoline, or other solvents that could cause the rubber of the tire to deteriorate.
- If you are not using protective bags to store tires with lettering or whitewall, make sure the whitewall or lettering of the tires are facing each other when you stack them. This will prevent the white areas of the tire from staining due to contact with the black rubber of the other tire.
- If the tires are being kept on a vehicle, use blocks and make sure that the tires are kept properly inflated to the recommended PSI on the placard inside the driver’s side door of your vehicle. If the tires will not be in use for long periods of time, it is best to take them off of the vehicle Long-term inactivity can be harmful to tires that have to carry the weight of a vehicle.
- Prior to storing a tire, do not use any tire dressing. It is not necessary. Tire compounds are created to resist ozone cracking and weather checking.
- It is best to place each tire in a separate opaque, airtight plastic bag. Make sure the tire is dry before you place it in the bag and remove as much air as possible prior to sealing the bag. Once the bag is closed tightly, tape it shut. This creates a mini-atmosphere for the tire to help prevent oil evaporation from the tire compound. While you may be tempted to use seasonal tire totes due to the fact that they are easier to carry and store, these totes are not airtight and do not prevent the tire from being exposed to the atmosphere. If you want to use seasonal tire totes to store your tires, make sure you first place each tire in its own separate bag and then place the bag with the tire into the tire tote.
- Make sure that you keep the tires away from any sources of ozone, such as electric motors that use contact brushes, furnaces, sump pumps, etc.
Removing Winter Tires from Storage
- It is important to note that tires will age no matter what precautions you take and should be removed from service when they are six years old from the date of manufacture. If you register your tires with the Tire Safety Group, you will receive a free notice when one or more of your tires is about to expire. You should also perform a thorough visual inspection of the tire for scoffs, punctures, and other damages. Finally, it is important to inspect the remaining tread life of the tire and have a reputable tire service center place the tires back on your vehicle.