Learning how to store tires correctly is a neat skill to have. It will save you money in the long run, as it makes sure your tires are not damaged in storage.
So, what can you do to improve your tire storing skills?
Different seasons arrive quickly, and with them, the time to change the tires mounted on rims. However, if tires get damaged while they are in storage, you'll have to invest in a whole new tire set.
To prevent this from happening, there are a few things you can do to ensure the safety of the stored tires.
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How to Store Tires: Step by Step
While storing tires might seem to be a difficult task, it does not need to be. There are a few steps vehicle owners need to take to prevent damage - mainly caused by dry rotting, flat spotting, and harmful UV rays - from shortening the tire's service life.
So, what can we as car owners do to safely store tires throughout the seasons?
Store Mounted Tires or Unmounted Tires
First and foremost, you need to decide how you wish to store your tires.
Whether you have a spare set of rim you can use, or if you wish to remount the new tire set on your original rims, changes a few things. Well, not really. It just changes how you can store the tires.
If you already have a spare rim set or if you wish to purchase a new one, you have the option to store the tires mounted on the rims. This makes it easier to change the tires when the time comes since the tires will not have to be unmounted.
On the other hand, you can store your tires without wheels. In that manner, the tires will have to be unmounted and remounted on the one rim set used throughout the year.
Another question to think about when deciding this is the following: Should mounted tires be stored inflated?
The general rule is to not completely deflate the tires and to leave a bit of air pressure in the tires. Store tires mounted on rims inflated at 15 PSI. This is enough to keep the tire safe from deformation. In such a manner, the tire set will be ready for use when its season arrives again.
Cleaning tires is the perfect way to reduce their aging process.
Rubber compounds utilize oils to keep your tires pliable in their intended temperatures. However, these oils build up along the tread and sidewall during the tire's use.
The problem occurs when tires are put into storage without removing the oils, along with the other grime, which can easily damage the tires.
Remove Brake Dust
What is brake dust? - you might ask.
Well, to put it simply, it t is carbon fibers that rub off the brake pad and small metal saving from the rotor. Their combination sticks to the tires and the wheels, easily damaging them and shortening their usability. This is especially true for metallic alloy wheels.
On the other hand, tires pick up rocks, mud, and grime during their use. Storing tires away while they are still dirty allows them to accelerate the aging process.
Therefore, tires need to be washed before storing them. But, what tools can you use to do so?
You can easily find the perfect tire cleaning brush that fits the needs of your car.
Versatile tire cleaning brushes are being sold online which clean the grime off the tires, while they prevent staining. This means that the brushes do not scratch the wheels, damage the tire's white sidewall, or its tread area.
The best part is that you can easily find tire brushes which can be used for the entire vehicle.
Soap and Water or Cleaning Products
Whether your tires sport a white rubber or black sidewall, mainly the same cleaning products can be used to safely remove road grime from them. Versatile tire cleaning sprays, baking soda (especially for white sidewall tires), etc. will help you to clean the tires more thoroughly.
However, be careful with what you use! Products with harsh chemicals should always be avoided as they can actually damage the tires, and in a worst-case scenario, it will cause dry rotting.
Soap and water are also an excellent choice. Even if you do not purchase special tire soaps, you can clean the tires with a bucket of water and regular soap. This combination, along with a sponge, should be enough to completely clean the tires.
Use an Airtight Plastic Bag
Tires need to be stored in an airtight place!
Whether you wish to invest in tire storage bags or a tire tote, or just use lawn and leaf bags, you need to put them into something.
Why do tires need to be stored in such a way?
Moisture build-up is an issue. For this reason, remove as much air as possible from the bag. Using a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air and tape the bag closed will help to protect your car tires.
Protect Tires from Harmful UV Rays
Keep the tires away from the sun and UV rays!
Direct sunlight will accelerate the aging of the tire. The Sun's ultraviolet rays dry out the rubber compound and their oils, which causes dry rotting. Dry rot, unfortunately, makes the tire unusable and dangerous to be driven on.
To prevent this and to resist ozone cracking on the tread area, make sure the tire's rubber is not exposed to harmful rays. Save money and protect the tires indoors, away from sun rays. It will be cheaper than having to purchase new tires.
Temperature Controlled Storage Area
Where you store tires is also crucial.
While tire compounds are manufactured to protect the tire from temperature changes, stored tires can still fall victim to hot or cold weather conditions.
When tires are used on a vehicle, they generate heat when they are in motion. This helps them balance the temperatures and pressure build-up along the footprint. However, stored tires are not in use. This means that these tire sets are sitting ducks.
What we mean by this is that stores tire sets have no way to protect themselves from temperature changes - even if they are compounded differently. Standard rubber will harden when it is in function, shortening the tire's lifespan.
In order to avoid such issues, store the tires in climate-controlled garages or sheds.
The age-old debate is whether tires should be stored upright or stacked.
Well, we would suggest stacking tires on top of each other. In this manner, they will not be putting pressure on their footprint (where it makes contact with the surface), which will help combat flat spotting. No, stacking them will not harm the tire's sidewall.
If there is not enough space to stack them up, look for a tire rack. Nowadays, you can easily find modern tire racks that protect the tire set from damage, while also offering a space-saving method. As a result, you will be able to hang unmounted tires up and out of harm's way.
Storing Winter Tires vs. Summer Tires
Do all tire models need to be stored in the same manner?
Winter tires are manufactured from a more durable rubber compound that can handle even freezing temperatures. So, why do they need to be in a temperature-controlled garage?
Summer tires handle heat build-up effortlessly. So, why does the Sun still harm them?
Unfortunately, it is not a summer vs. winter tires debate.
Well... tires are created to fight against weather damage when they are in use. Therefore, when they are in tire storage for long periods (months at a time), there is not much they can do to protect themselves.
If you wish for your road vehicle to be up and running with just a simple tire change, all tire sets must be stored correctly.
Incorrect tire storage can wreak havoc on the tire sets. So, it is important to have a tire professional check the tires before you remount them - no matter if they are stored as mounted or unmounted tires. In case the tires are deemed unfit for use, be sure to change them.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should Tires Be Stored Flat or Upright?
Tires should be stored flat in order to prevent damage to their footprint. However, if you own a tire rack that accommodates the needs of the stored tire set, it can also be stored upright without damage. The most crucial thing is to make sure the tires are safely put away, without causing discomfort to you.
Should You Store tires in Plastic Bags?
Yes, tires should be stored in airtight plastic bags. Lawn or garbage bags work excellently to keep moisture away from your tires. Just make sure that the bags are sealed correctly in order to protect your tires.
Does Tire Size Matter When Storing Tires?
No, tire size does not matter when storing tires. You just need to make sure the tire set is stored in a safe manner. Keep your tires away from sun rays and moisture. If possible store them in a climate-controlled garage to ensure their usability when their season arrives.