If stored in unfavourable conditions, or if not properly handled, tyres change their physical properties. This can lead to a shorter service life, and the tyres may even deteriorate to the extent that they become unusable. Correctly stored and handled tyres retain their properties virtually unchanged for several years.
Using some detergent, water and a tyre brush, clean tyres before storing them. This will help remove a season’s worth of road grime and brake. Clean your wheels, too, if you store your tyres on them. Make sure they’re completely dry before the next step.
This next step requires inaction, rather than action. Tyres don’t need any kind of dressing or gloss product applied prior to storage. Tyre compounds are formulated to resist ozone cracking and other environmental stressors. Such products can hinder rather than help extend the longevity of your tyres.
Find a large, airtight plastic bag to fit each tyre. Try yard bags or leaf bags. Ensure the bag (and tyre) is free of moisture, then remove as much air as possible from the bag (use your vacuum cleaner!) and tape it shut. This airtight environment will reduce evaporation of oils from the rubber compounds. Specific tyre storage caddies or tyre totes are also available. These make transporting and storing tyres easier and help keep them grime and dust free. However, they aren’t air tight. If you want to use them, bag tyres as above first, then place them in your tyre tote.
UV rays and the sun’s heat can wreak havoc on rubber. Your tyre storage location should keep them out of direct sunlight.
In cold weather or in warm, tyres should never be stored in the open air, even under a protective covering. Think cool, dry, moderately ventilated – and of course out of the sun. Your basement or another climate-controlled space is ideal. If there is a heat source in the room, the tyres must be shielded from it. Most garages, sheds and attics undergo a range of temperatures, precipitation and humidity. You want to avoid these fluctuations.
Your number one chemical to avoid: Ozone. It’s particularly damaging to tyres. Electric motors that use contact brushes generate ozone. These can include:
Ensure your storage area contains none of these items. The following should also be avoided:
Got whitewalls – or other white parts (like lettering) on your tyres? In case you’ve decided not to bag your tyres, store them with white areas touching other white areas, and black touching black. Here’s why: The black rubber on the white side is compounded differently than the black rubber on the other side. A layer of non-staining black rubber is used on the tyres white side to prevent oils migrating from the black to the white areas and causing discoloration. The black sidewall uses standard rubber. Therefore, store black-to-black and white-to-white to help keep white rubber bright and avoid marks.
You have three options for how to store your tyres:
The best option is standing, as it puts less stress on the tyres. If you must stack, try not to stack too high. You want to avoid it tipping and damaging the tyres. Tyres mounted on rims? Stacking is actually preferable in this case. Another great option for tyres on rims is hanging them from tyre racks or hooks. Never hang unmounted tyres as this can distort and damage them.
Tyres will age. But these tips will help extend their life. If you want to make sure that the storing of your tyres is in professional hands we would recommend to let them be stored at your tyre dealer. And remember: It’s a great idea to get your tyres checked by a tyre professional before they are mounted onto your vehicle again for another good season of driving.