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How to store tyres correctly

Do you swap your tyres between summer and winter? If you do – or are planning to – it’s worth knowing how to store tyres that are not in use.

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Do you swap your tyres with the seasons, changing them over twice a year for winter and summer use? If you do – or are thinking of doing so – it’s worth knowing how to store any tyres that are not in use.

Many drivers have two sets of tyres that they change at different times of the year – winter tyres with chunkier tread patterns for the cold months and regular ‘summer’ tyres for the rest of the year. 

Having both sets of rubber is a good idea in terms of safety and performance, but making this investment is not cheap so you need to look after the tyres you take off your car in the correct manner while you’re storing them.

If they’re not stored properly, tyres can become damaged or perished and all the benefits of having both sets are lost.

Prepare first

Before putting tyres away for the season make sure they are clean and free of road dirt and brake dust. Scrub with a brush or use a pressure washer to get as much dirt off as possible. Water is fine but you can use a mild detergent too. However if you do, make sure it is thoroughly rinsed off. Tyres also need to be dry before being stored. Take as much water off them with a towel or cloth first and then allow them to air dry for a couple of days, out of direct sunlight.

Store tyres inside

Keep your tyres stored inside and in the kind of temperature that they would be used to if they were on your car. So if you’re storing winter tyres, make sure they are kept in a cool environment while, if it’s summer tyres that are going away, don’t leave them somewhere where it’s likely to become very cold. 

A house’s integral garage will provide suitable insulation from outside temperatures in most cases, but a garden shed can become icy cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Ideally, put each tyre in a plastic bag and squeeze all the air out, or use a vacuum cleaner to suck it out, before taping up the opening. Being airtight reduces the chances of evaporation of the natural oils in the tyre and helps prevent them drying out and cracking.

Tyres can get very hot wrapped up in a plastic bag so make sure they are kept covered or in the shade and definitely out of the way of any direct sunlight.

Stand or lie?

It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference whether you stack your tyres up or stand them next to each other although it’s widely accepted that tyres with wheels should be stacked, while tyres off their rims can be stood up. Never stack tyres too high as you risk them falling and damaging not only themselves but anything stored around them. A pile of tyres can be very heavy.

There is a third storage option – hanging tyres. However, this is not recommended for long periods as it can cause the tyre to miss-shape in a way that can not easily be rectified.

How long will they last?

Tyres are generally designed to last from three to ten years but that, of course, depends on how much they are used. Usually you can expect 20,000 to 40,000 miles of driving, depending on make and quality, not to mention driving style. But taken off a car, when they’re not even in contact with the road, you could get that magical decade of use out of them if they are well looked after.

Putting tyres back on

Even well-kept tyres can still dry and crack over time when they are being stored so always give each one a good inspection for signs of deterioration or damage each time you go to put stored tyres back on to your car. And if you spot anything that doesn’t look right, take the tyre to a specialist at a fitting station and ask for their advice. 

Hotel stay

Some drivers like the idea of rotating tyres seasonally and storing them, but simply don’t have the space to do it. There is an answer: the tyre hotel. Some professional organisations, such as tyre supply and fitting companies, offer this inexpensive and useful service. Kept in dry, ventilated warehouses, your tyres can be put away for the two different seasons for around £15 per set per year. And when you’re ready to swap from one set of tyres to the other, most suppliers will do that for you too, for a fitting fee.

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Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.