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How to Properly Store Your Tyres

posted: 31/01/2024

tyreYour car’s tyres are its lifeline, providing the grip and traction you need to navigate the road safely. But just like any other component, tyres can degrade over time, especially when not stored properly. Proper storage conditions are crucial for maintaining tyre lifespan and performance. Adequate storage is essential if you have an extra set or are swapping between summer and winter tyres. Here’s how to keep your tyres in good condition during storage.

How Long Can Your Tyres Last?

Unmounted car tyres can last up to 10 years in optimal storage condition, while mounted ones can hold up to 6 years. On the other hand, high-quality bike tyres can last between 2 and 7 years or even longer if stored properly. However, the warehouse conditions and the type of tyre will affect how long they last. Properly stored tyres can maintain their integrity for a long time, but they do have an expiration date.
Tyres are designed to withstand the wear and tear of road use but are still susceptible to environmental damage. Ozone, UV radiation, temperature fluctuations, and moisture can all cause tyres to degrade and lose their structural integrity. Softer rubber compounds, such as those used in high-performance tyres, may have a shorter shelf life than harder compounds found in passenger cars or commercial trucks.

What Can Affect Your Types While in Storage?

A lot of factors can play a significant role when choosing the right storage facility. Here are some things you must keep in mind.

Temperature

car tyreTemperature fluctuations can cause the tyre rubber to expand and contract, leading to stress and damage. It is because rubber is a viscoelastic material, meaning it exhibits both elastic and viscous properties. Elasticity allows rubber to return to its original shape after being stretched, while viscosity describes its resistance to flow.

When temperatures rise, tyre rubber expands, becoming softer and more pliable. On the contrary, when temperatures drop, tyre rubber contracts, becoming harder and brittle. These repeated expansion and contraction cycles can lead to cracks, splits, and other forms of damage.

The ideal storage temperature range for tyres is between 7°C and 24°C. This range provides a balance between flexibility and resistance to cracking. At temperatures below 7°C, the tyre rubber becomes too rigid and brittle, increasing the risk of damage. At temperatures above 24°C, the tyre rubber becomes too soft and pliable, making it more susceptible to cracking and deformation.
To maintain consistent temperatures, opt for a storage location that is both cool and dry, such as a climate-controlled storage unit. If you must store tyres in a garage or attic, consider using a temperature-controlled storage unit or wrapping the tyres in insulation to help regulate the temperature.

Sunlight Exposure

Direct sunlight can break down the chemicals in the rubber, leading to premature ageing and cracks. Avoid storing tyres near windows or in areas that receive excessive sunlight. If you need to keep them outdoors, consider using a protective cover or hiding them under a shaded structure.

Moisture

Moisture can also damage tyre rubber by causing it to swell, crack, and lose its structural integrity. Ensure that the storage area is well-ventilated and free from moisture buildup. If you notice dampness on the tyres, wipe them down with a clean, dry cloth before storing them.

car tyre pressurePressure

Maintaining proper tyre pressure during storage is essential to prevent flat spots, which can affect tyre performance and handling. Before you put them away, inflate them to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. You can also add a few extra pounds of pressure to help prevent flat spots.

Oxygene Exposure

Rubber, the primary component of tyres, is composed of polymers that provide strength and flexibility. However, when exposed to oxygen for an extended period, it undergoes a process known as oxidation. This chemical interaction between oxygen molecules and rubber molecules alters the behaviour of rubber.

Oxidation transforms rubber from its flexible and pliable state to a more rigid and brittle one. It can result in the formation of fine cracks on the surface. These damages are not just aesthetic issues; they weaken the tyre, making it more susceptible to damage.
The oxidation process also depletes the rubber of its natural elasticity. It has a significant impact on your tyre performance. It may not be as effective at absorbing road bumps, and it could struggle to maintain proper grip on the pavement, reducing traction.

Inspection

Before storing tyres, inspect them for any signs of damage, such as cracks, bulges, or uneven wear. If you find any deterioration, have the tyres repaired or replaced before storing them.

When to Put Your Tyres in Storage?

winter car tyresExposing your tyres to outdoor conditions for an extended period can cause them to dry out and crack. To prevent this, storing them in an indoor environment that is cool, dry, and clean is recommended.

For summer tyres, optimal storage begins when outdoor temperatures drop below 7°C. As the rubber hardens, it loses its handling capabilities and becomes less efficient. It is best to store summer tyres and switch to winter ones when temperatures fall below said degrees.

Conversely, winter tyres should be changed when outdoor temperatures rise above 7°C. The rubber softens under the heat, causing accelerated wear and reduced efficiency.

How to Prepare Your Tyres for Storage

There are a couple of steps you should take to ensure your tyres are in good condition for the next season:

  • Thoroughly clean them with a detergent solution and a tyre brush to remove accumulated road grime, brake dust, and other debris. If you are storing your tyres on the wheels, clean the wheels as well. Ensure that all parts are completely dry before proceeding with the next step.
  • Instead of applying dressing or gloss products to your tyres before storing them, allow them to air dry and maintain their natural state. Tyre compounds are designed to withstand environmental factors like ozone and other stressors, and applying these products may hinder their ability to perform optimally.
  • Get a large, airtight plastic bag that can accommodate each tyre. Yard bags or leaf bags are suitable options. Ensure everything is completely dry before proceeding. Next, employ a vacuum cleaner to remove as much air as possible from the bag, effectively sealing it. This airtight environment safeguards the tyre’s natural oils, preventing them from evaporating and causing premature degradation. While tyre storage caddies or totes simplify transportation and shield tyres from grime and dust, they don’t guarantee an airtight seal. Therefore, it’s advisable to bag each tyre individually before placing them in the tote.

How to Place Your Tyres in Your Storage Unit

You have three main options for keeping your tyres, depending on the free space you have in your self-storage unit:

  • Stand them upright – This is the most recommended method as it minimises tyre stress. Ensure they are placed on a flat, stable surface and avoid stacking them too high to prevent tipping and potential damage.
  • Stack them on their sides – While not the most optimal choice, stacking tyres on their sides is a suitable option, especially for mounted tyres. However, limit the stack height to avoid excessive weight on the tyres and potential damage.
  • Hang them up on hooks or racks – This method is particularly effective for storing mounted tyres. Hooks or racks allow for efficient space utilisation and prevent tyre deformation. Avoid hanging unmounted tyres, as this can distort and damage them.

Tyres are essential not only for your car but also for your safety. Take good care of them and choose wisely where you keep them during the off-season. Self-storage units make a great temporary home, and if you follow our instructions, we guarantee that your tyres will have a long and “healthy” life.


Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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