Tips For Proper Tire Storage In Winter

With winter coming you may be considering the removal of your summer or all-season tires so you can replace them with winter or snow tires. This can provide you with a lot more safety when it comes to winter driving, but you will want to make sure your summer tires are properly stored so that they don't require replacement next year. The following tips can help you store them correctly.

Tip #1: Get them clean

Dirt mixed with gas and oil residue from the road can eat away at the rubber or cause your metal wheels to corrode. Before storing the tires, wash them down with mildly soapy water. It's also a good idea to scrub the tread and the nooks and crannies on the wheels with a tire brush to make sure all the detritus is removed. Once clean, allow the tires to air dry completely before moving them into storage. You may want to wipe down the wheels with a soft cloth to prevents streaks, as well.

Tip #2: Bag them up

You can purchase tire bags from automotive or tire shops – the tire shop where you purchase your tires may even give you some as a courtesy. These bags are simply over-sized heavy-duty garbage bags. Place each tire in its own bag and press out as much air as possible before sealing it closed. The oil in tire rubber can evaporate, leading to a condition called dry rot that causes tires to crack and give out prematurely. Bagging the tires helps prevent this evaporation and the resulting rot.

Tip #3: Store under cover

Extreme temperatures and exposure to sunlight can also cause damage to the rubber, thus shortening the life of the tires. Store tires in an area protected from temperature extremes, moisture, and direct sun. A heated garage is preferable in winter, but even an unheated garage or shed is better than leaving them exposed on the back porch. If your car uses smaller tires that are easy to transport, it may even make sense to store them indoors in the basement since it has some climate control.

Tip #4: Stack correctly

Distortion of the rubber can occur during storage. The optimum way to store tires is vertically on a tire rack, since the rack will prevent the weight of the tire from sitting on one side. The second best way is to stack two tires horizontally on top of each other, making sure they are perfectly aligned so the weight is evenly distributed. Don't stack all four tires if you can help it, since the weight of the top tires can distort those on the bottom of the stack.

For more help in swapping out winter and summer tires, or to find out more about proper storage, contact a tire service in your area or visit a site like