Besides giving peace of mind in cold temperatures, winter or snow tires bring a headache of protecting them from summer heat. And, since these tires are very costly, with an estimated price of $600 to $1000/set for a passenger car, you can’t afford to neglect them, right? So, here’s your go-to guide on how to store winter tires. We’ll discuss the steps to follow and what kind of place would be ideal for storing winter tires.
Table of Contents
Steps to Follow When Storing Winter Tires
When storing winter tires, follow these steps to make the process hassle-free.
- Choose the right location.
- Clean the tires
- Wrap them in tote bags
- Stack tires, stand upright, or hang
Choosing the right location:
The first thing you need to do when storing winter tires is to find a proper place for them. The location should not be humid. Otherwise, moisture will permeate the rubber, damaging the tire.
The temperature is the next factor to consider when choosing the right location for storing winter tires. The area should neither be very cold nor very hot. It’s because extreme conditions can damage the rubber. The ideal temperature is between 60 and 77 ºF.
Besides this, the storage area for winter tires should be dark. There should be no sun rays or artificial light reaching directly to the tires as heat can break down the rubber component in tires. Moreover, it should be free from chemicals, lubricants, and gases, especially ozone, as it can lead to tire cracking.
So, try to choose a location without ozone-releasing equipment nearby. It may include devices or machinery having electric motors, such as generators, air filters, printers, etc. However, if there’s no choice other than to opt for a location with an ozone source, ensure the level doesn’t rise to 0.08 ppm.
Preparing your tires for storage:
Now it’s time to move to the second step: tire cleaning, drying, and wrapping. Before storing your winter tires, clean them to remove dirt and grime. It is an essential step to increase the lifespan of the tires.
You can use soapy, lukewarm water and a brush with soft bristles to clean the tread section. After washing, let the tires dry naturally. However, if you’re in a hurry, take a clean cloth and wipe all the moisture on the tires from the inside out.
Next, take clean tote bags and wrap tires in them. You can buy these bags online or in person from your local auto shop. The prices can be different. On average, you can buy a set of four tote bags online for $50 to $60.
Tire storage methods:
Stacking over one another, standing upright, and hanging are three ways to store winter tires. You can choose what suits you best. Tire manufacturers consider standing tires sidewall to sidewall the best storage method, especially if the tire is on the rim. In this position, tires will not suffer any stress, and their structure will not be damaged.
The following preferred method to store winter tires on rims is to hang them with hooks. The hook will balance the tire’s weight, decreasing the risk of damage. But if you must stack them up due to compact space, keep the height to 3 feet for passenger cars or light truck tires. For heavy-duty vehicle tires, stacking height should be limited to 4 feet.
Also, consider placing a thick cardboard or wooden piece between each tire in a stack to avoid pressure. If you have whitewall or WSW (white Side Wall) tires, placing them side-by-side is preferred over stacking. This way, the same-colored areas face each other, preventing rubber staining.
Winter Tire Storage Recommendations by USTMA
According to USTMA, never place tires directly on the storage surface. Instead, consider putting them on a pallet or tire rack to minimize contact with the ground.
When storing tires outdoors, cover them with a waterproof and opaque sheet. The covering should also have a small opening or vent to avoid heat buildup. Moreover, avoid storing tires on black asphalt or similar heat-absorbing surfaces.
Additionally, when storing tires without dismounting them from the vehicle, make sure to unload the car completely. Moreover, inflate tires to the recommended pressure. Consider moving vehicle tires every three months to avoid “flat spots” or uneven treads due to stress.
How do you store winter tires without rims?
Placing tires side-by-side or upright is the best method to store winter tires off the rim. Hanging and stacking them is not a good choice as it damages the shape and structure of unmounted tires.
Where is the best place to store winter tires?
The storage area should be clean, dry, cool, and dark. So, a basement or a garage away from direct sunlight is the best choice for storing winter tires.
How long can you store winter tires in the garage?
You can store winter tires in a garage or any other place for 6 to 8 years, provided the environment is temperature, light, and air-controlled, and you inspect tires at regular intervals.
Should tires be stored inflated or deflated?
You should avoid storing tires fully inflated or deflated. According to experts, if you intend to keep tires for a long time, deflate them to 50% of their current pressure. The aim is to reduce pressure on the sidewalls, which may harm the tire structure when not used.
Storing snow tires isn’t a hassle, especially when you have the proper methods and tips. Hopefully, this article has guided you well on how to store winter tires. Besides this DIY, you can use tire storage services. These businesses store your tires under controlled conditions and take great care of them.