Should I remove my wheels/tires from the vehicle for storage?
If possible, it’s recommended to remove your tires from the vehicle for proper long-term tire storage. Tire removal allows you to isolate the conditions your tires are stored in, while removing stresses on the tire such as vehicle weight, temperature fluctuations, etc.
Note: Another benefit of removing your tires for storage is that when it’s time for the tires to be installed on the vehicle again, the tires may be rotated from their previous positions. To do this easily, make a note of the placement of the tires on your vehicle at the time of removal, then they may be rotated accordingly when reinstalling them.
What if I’m not able to remove my tires from the vehicle?
In situations where you are unable to remove the tires from the vehicle for storage, keeping the tires on the vehicle requires special considerations to do it properly. First, it’s ideal to remove the weight from the tires. This can be accomplished by resting the car on jack-stands or similar load bearing devices under the chassis of the vehicle. If you’re unable to remove the weight from the tires, it is recommended to have the vehicle completely unloaded, so only the minimum weight will be placed on the tires.
If the vehicle is planned to be stored for long periods of time, plan to move the vehicle periodically (at least once every 3 months or once every 30 days for vehicles with high-performance tires featuring an overlay) during storage so that the tires aren’t subjected to a constant state of deflection affecting only one part of the tire. This periodic movement will help avoid temporary flat spotting that can develop from sitting static too long and minimize ozone/weather cracking.
Tires should be inflated to the vehicle recommended inflation pressure(s) – including the spare tire; and high-performance tires with an overlay should be inflated to the maximum inflation pressure shown on the sidewall of the tire. However, it is important to readjust the inflation pressure back to the inflation pressure shown on the vehicle placard before driving the vehicle.
What steps should I take to prepare my tires before storing them?
There are some specific steps you should take to prepare your tires before any sort of long-term storage.
1. Clean your tires prior to storage.
Tires, just like any other part of the vehicle, tend to get dirty. Removal of any of the tire dressings applied, dirt, and brake dust will help to ensure that your tires are free of contaminants prior to storage. Use a warm soapy bath and wash the tires, then rinse with water for this part of the cleaning process. Also, take the time after cleaning to ensure your tires have fully dried before going any further.
2. Maintain recommended air pressure.
If your tires are left on the wheels for storage, maintain the vehicle manufacturer recommended air pressure.
3. Select and prepare what you plan to store the tires in.
Storing your tires in bags (opaque and airtight) is recommended if you’re able to store your tires indoors. Lawn and leaf bags are often good for this task, sealed shut with a heavy-duty tape to help keep out the elements. Prior to sealing, try to remove as much of the air from the bag as possible, helping to prevent the tire compounds from drying out.
Where should I store my tires?
If possible, it is recommended to store your tires indoors in a cool and dry climate-controlled environment. However, if your only option is to store your tires outdoors, make sure the tires are kept off the ground and kept covered in opaque, waterproof bags just as you would indoors. The cover should include a ventilation opening such as holes around the area to help with moisture release to not create a “steam bath” effect, and to not allow rain or snow in. Other areas to stay away from outdoors are any highly-reflective surfaces such as storing on sand, or surfaces that can absorb heat, such as directly on black asphalt.
When selecting a place to store my tires, are there things I should avoid?
By storing your tires in a clean, well-ventilated, cool and dry climate-controlled environment you’re avoiding one of the main issues here, which is sunlight. Direct sunlight and the heat generated by it, can accelerate the aging process of the tire.
It is also important to avoid storage areas near battery chargers, generators, welding equipment, and electric motors, such as furnaces, water heaters, central vacuums, or even a basement sump pump. Each of those motors may produce and emit small amounts of ozone which isn’t ideal for tires while being stored.
Avoid Harmful Products and Chemicals:
If you are planning to use other tire protectants or cleaning products, read the product labels and be aware of what other chemicals are going on your tire. Stay away from using any cleaning products that are petroleum-based, as the products may degrade the rubber’s weathering agents that may lead to premature cracking.
Exposure to harmful products and chemicals, such as petroleum-based products, gasoline or oil, and any other solvents and substances may degrade the rubber’s weathering agents that may lead to premature cracking.
How should tires physically be stored?
This really is a two-part question and is mainly dependent upon if your tires are stored on the wheel itself, or if you’ve had them dismounted from the wheel prior to storage.
1. How to store tires mounted on rims/wheels:
The most ideal way of storing mounted tires is via hooks through the rim itself. This keeps the weight off the tire and reduces the risk of the tire resting on a single flex point during its time being stored off the vehicle.
Note: It’s important that this method is only used if the hook is mounted through the rim itself. Hanging tires from hooks not mounted on a rim may cause deformation of the tire due to irregular weight applied on the hook.
Alternatively, you can store mounted tires in a stack, vertically, with the sidewall facing down so that the weight of the rim isn’t pushing down on the tread of the tire during storage.
2. How to store unmounted tires
Store unmounted tires stacked sidewall to sidewall; to prevent staining of white sidewall tires, store white sidewall to white sidewall or place individually in bags.
Note: It’s also best to place the tires on top of a piece of wood, or other barrier rather than directly on the ground or concrete. This will help protect against excessive moisture gathering on the tires.
Alternatively, you can use one of the many commercially available tire racks which are garage/wall mounted. These serve to help keep the weight of the tire off the ground and keep the tires up and out of the way during long term storage.
Although proper tire storage can seem a little complex, following simple storage best practices and watching out for potential hazards can help lead to an optimum life span of your spare set of tires. If you have further questions, or need help with mounting/unmounting your tires – please consult your local Goodyear tire shop.