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tire storage on tire racks

Top ten tire storage tips

If you regularly use more than one set of tires (for example, winter tires vs. all-season tires, or racing tires vs. everyday tires) you may not have given much thought to how or where you store the set you’re not currently using. When it comes to tires, a little TLC can go a long way. So if you’ve been storing tires outside, hauling them around in the trunk of your car, or just tossing them in the garage, check out these ten easy tips that’ll help your tires last longer -- and help you save a little cash.

1. Keep it clean: always clean tires before storing

Sounds like advice from Mom, doesn’t it? And as usual, Mom knows best. During normal use, tires accumulate brake dust, dirt, and road grime, and all that gunk can cause tire damage if it sits on your tires for a long time. Use soap, water, and a tire brush to clean your tires. If the tires are still mounted on the rims, it’s also a good time to clean the wheels (use an approved wheel cleaner). Wipe the tires and wheels down with a towel, then let them dry completely. Do not use tire dressing or tire gloss when storing tires.

2. Airtight is all right

Once your tires are clean and dry, put them into large, dark, airtight plastic bags like lawn and garden bags. Try to remove as much air from the bags as possible before sealing them securely with tape. This will help prevent the lubricating oil within the tire compounds from evaporating. If you really want to go crazy, you can even use your vacuum cleaner to draw out air before sealing the bags.

3. Upright is all right, too

The best way to store tires is standing upright – it puts less stress on the tires. If you have to stack your tires, try not to stack them too high. If your tire tower gets too tall, it could topple over and damage the tires.

However, if your tires are mounted on the rims, you should store them stacked, not upright.

4. To hang … or not to hang

If your tires are mounted on the rims, hanging them from hooks is a great storage option. But unmounted tires should never be hung – the stress can cause distortion and damage.

5. Tire totes? Do such things really exist?

They do – some folks like to use “tire totes” to store and carry tires. While these totes are convenient, tidy, and make carrying tires easier, they’re not airtight, so they don’t necessarily protect tires from the atmosphere. If you want to use tire totes, we recommend putting the tires in plastic bags (as described above) first, then putting them in the totes.

6. Your tires need sunscreen

Not really -- but they should stay out of the sun. Because tires are black, they soak up the heat of the sun and can easily heat up to over 120 degrees F. This intense heat, coupled with the sun's ultraviolet rays, can cause the rubber to break down.

7. Ozone is a no-no

Ozone can damage tires, so it’s best to keep your tires away from machinery that can generate ozone, like electric motors, furnaces, central vacuums, or your basement sump pump.

8. Storing a vehicle? Give the tires a break

If you have to store a vehicle for long periods of time, the constant weight on the tires can cause tire damage. If you can, move the vehicle or take it out for a short drive every once in a while – you’ll relieve the stress on the tire and help keep the tire’s rubber compounds lubricated and supple. If your vehicle is stored outside, cover the tires to protect them from direct sunlight.

9. Some like it hot. But tires like it cool -- and dry

When it’s time to put your tires away, make sure you store them in a cool, dry place like your basement, climate-controlled garage, or workshop. Avoid storing tires outdoors, in a standard garage, or in an attic – basically, any place that could be very hot, wet, humid, or cold (yes, tires can actually freeze).

10. Keep those whitewalls (and letters) white

Use caution when storing whitewall or white-lettered tires. If you stack the tires, stack white-to-white and black-to-black (white sides touching each other and black sides touching each other). This will help keep the white parts of the tire pristine and clean. And of course, if you used storage bags as mentioned earlier, this won’t even be a concern.

We wish both you and your tires many long years of good health. But if you happen to need a new set, you’re in the right place.

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