Tire Tech

Storing Tires

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Since heat and exposure to the elements are the important factors that influence a tire's aging process, drivers can prolong their tire's life by minimizing their impact. Here are some tips for storing tires that will not be used continuously.

  • Don't store a vehicle with weight on its tires for extended periods of time. Long-term inactivity is more harmful to tires than weekly drives that flex the tires and help maintain oil dispersion within the rubber compounds.
  • Keep the tires out of direct sunlight whenever possible. The sun's ultraviolet rays and radiant heat are detrimental to rubber. We have used a pyrometer to measure tires that were simply sitting in direct sunlight on a parked vehicle. Surprisingly those tires' temperatures measured 135° Fahrenheit on their surface.
  • Before storing, use a tire brush to clean each tire with soap and water to remove brake dust, dirt and grime. If the tires are still mounted on wheels, use a wheel brush to clean the wheels with an approved cleaner as well. Dry with a towel and let any remaining moisture thoroughly evaporate.
    DO NOT APPLY ANY TIRE DRESSINGS. Tire compounds are formulated to resist ozone cracking or weather checking.
  • Place each clean and dry tire in its own large, opaque, airtight plastic bag (such as lawn and garden bags) for storing. Avoid allowing any moisture to remain and remove as much air as practical (some drivers even use a vacuum cleaner to draw out as much as possible). Close the bag tightly and tape it shut. This places the tire in its own personal mini-atmosphere to help reduce oil evaporation.
  • While Seasonal Tire Totes make it neater to store tires, easier to carry tires and reduce the possibility of depositing brake dust, dirt and grime in the trunk or on the back seat during transportation, Seasonal Tire Totes are not airtight nor designed to prevent exposure to the atmosphere. The recommended solution would be to place each clean tire and wheel into the airtight plastic bag and then cover the sealed bag with a Tire Tote.
  • If you choose not to store white letter/white stripe tires in plastic bags, it is important they be stored or stacked white-to-white and black-to-black to prevent staining the white rubber. The black rubber used on the tires' white letter/white stripe side is compounded differently than the black rubber used on the opposite side. A layer of non-staining black rubber covers the white rubber on the tire's white side to prevent oils in the tire from migrating into the exposed white rubber and discoloring it; however the black sidewall uses standard rubber. Stacking all tires white sidewall up will allow the oils from each tire's black sidewall to migrate into the white rubber of the tire below it.
  • Place the tires in a cool, dry location. It is better to store tires in a dry basement or climate-controlled workshop than in a standard garage, storage shed, hot attic or outdoors. While basement and shop surroundings tend to remain cool and dry, conditions found in typical garage, shed, attic and outdoor locations often include a wide range of hot and cold temperatures, as well as seasonal precipitation and humidity.
  • Keep the tires away from sources of ozone. Electric motors that use contact brushes generate ozone. Keep your tires away from the furnace, sump pump, etc.

While tires will age somewhat regardless of what precautions are taken, these procedures will help slow the process compared to taking no precautions at all.

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