By on December 1, 2017


tire storage

TTAC Commentator Arthur Dailey writes:

Here is a timely question, as up here in snow country we are now packing away our “summer” tires. What is the best way, scientifically, to store tires? I traditionally have:

  • Stored them on their rims
  • Removed the plastic tire bag (learned this the hard way when a set of rims “rotted” one summer
  • Wiped down/washed the rims to take off any salt
  • Let out about 4 to 5 psi from each tire
  • Stored them in our attached, unheated garage
  • Placed rubber mats under them so that they are not in contact with the cement
  • Placed old sheets over them so that they are not in direct sunlight

Previously I stored them stacked on their sides. All 4 wheels/rims from each vehicle in one column, on top of each other, using a tire storage “pole” bought from Canadian Tire. Last winter I stored them vertically (meaning I just rolled them in beside each other), but on the rubber mats and under the sheets.

So what is the best way? And how often should they be rotated/moved?

Sajeev answers:

I’m surprised the plastic tire bags for winter tire storage were a bad idea. Then again, I’m in Houston so WTF do I know?

I think you’re doing a good job, any damage incurred during storage won’t affect the tire faster than normal wear and tear. I’ve stacked tires on their sidewalls for years in a dark warehouse and they perform fine after installation; the only concern is the rubber’s finite lifespan. While I am far from a tire storage expert, the phrase “use it or lose it” applies for longer term (i.e. years) storage. You have little to worry about.

My only concern is ozone damage, as they likely killed a set of donuts on my (infrequently driven) Ranger. And while tires protect themselves from ozone by design, you can do things to help ’em out like storing away from ozone generating furnaces. Keep on doing what you’re doing, just make sure the tires aren’t marinating in an ozone bath.

What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Image: Shutterstock user lightpoet]

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39 Comments on “Piston Slap: Ozone in Your Own Storage Zone?...”

  • avatar

    I store mine in large black contractor trash bags, stacked on their sides in a seldom used part of my basement.

    Never had a problem.

    • 0 avatar

      Same here. Prior to bagging them, I put a removable label on each rim to identify where it was and where it should go (e.g.: LR -> RF). Prior to labelling them, I wipe the rims clean and remove large pebbles from the tread. And prior to that, I inflate the tires to 40 psi. They’ll be just right — around 33 to 35 psi — when I need them again.

      The added pressure helps keep them true. Also, when TireRack shipped them to me, I found them at that pressure. Why did the OP remove 4 to 5 psi?

  • avatar

    I stored an extra set of BMW wheels and tires by stacking them in a storage unit and in a non-heated garage. No issues. Just had to check the pressure each winter before mounting.

  • avatar

    stacked on side in storage unit. no issues.

  • avatar

    High end summer performance tires really should never get to freezing temperatures. I swap to winters before the temp drops below 45 at night.

    I store my Summer tires in my house (guestroom or library, my house doesn’t have a basement). My main concern is keeping them above 45*F so I won’t store my Summer tires in the garage. I do store my winter tires in the shed all summer, since warm doesn’t hurt hurt them, but cold storage can supposedly affect summer compounds.

    Editing to add in Tirerack link, apparently I am over conservative, and they say never store below 20*F:

  • avatar

    stacked on sides, cardboard underneath, psi down to 20 (thought I read that somewhere…), inside garage.

    plastic bagged them before but have stopped. never thought about condensation.

    also, for tire/wheels still mounted on a vehicle not driven in the winter, psi set to max (on sidewall) to help prevent/reduce flat spotting.

  • avatar

    I’ve always stored them in the basement stacked on their sides. I never thought of getting too cold, since they would have to get back to reasonable temps before I put them back on.

    I would worry about flat spots if I stored them on the treads, vertically. Maybe that’s a false worry without any weight on them.

    Never worried about reducing the pressure.

  • avatar

    As noted in the referenced wikipedia article ozone can be created by electrical arcs/sparking. Many electric motors will spark if they have brushes and a commutator. Synchronous brushless motors can have sparks from on-off switches.
    Tires and other rubber products, cooling system hoses, fuel hose, o-rings, etc should be kept away from electric welding, air compressors, drill presses, electric grinders and similar devices.
    Current tires and other automotive rubber products are resistant to ozone damage, but it just takes longer.

  • avatar

    On a blanket on their side in my travel trailer. I’ve never worried about it getting too cold. No issues so far but summer tires only last 3 years for me anyway.

  • avatar

    Virtually no modern furnace blower motors have brushes, they’re mostly either induction or ECM. Maybe decades ago they had brushes, and that’s where the warnings of not storing your tires near the furnace came from, but nowadays it’s not an issue.

    • 0 avatar

      If the furnace has an electronic air cleaner, there is corona generated on the ionizing wires on the input side of the filter elements, and this also creates ozone.

      I had a room electronic air cleaner in my bedroom for years, and the rubber cover on my Maglite flashlight switch that sat on the floor next to the unit simply disintegrated. It took me awhile to figure out why.

  • avatar

    That homemade table is really nice.

  • avatar

    However the only electric motors in a household environment that have brushes/commutators, and might therefore produce ozone, are handheld power tools and small kitchen appliances. Even these produce very little ozone, since their usage cycle is so brief. A sparking switch is even further down the negligible scale than that.

    Heater blowers, A/C systems, fans of pretty much any kind, major appliances — all of these use induction or brushless DC motors that produce no ozone. Automotive motors often have brushes/commutators and can produce small amounts of ozone, but if if you’re running your car in a closed garage you’re going to have much worse problems to worry about that.

    Bottom line: ozone is a non-issue for residential tire storage. Put the damn tires wherever it’s convenient.

    • 0 avatar

      Many recent washing machines still use carbon brush motors – those that use brushless motors usually use that as a selling point. Whether or not my washing machine is a threat to my tires is another story though.

      • 0 avatar

        What brand and model washing machine uses a brushed motor? Every one I’ve worked on over the last 40 years has had an induction type motor.

        I would add hair dryers and vacuum cleaners to NeilM’s list of brushed motor household appliances. Light weight is important and usage occasional so brushes are acceptable. For a washing machine weight is not a factor but durability is, so induction motors are used.

  • avatar

    Dear Old Dad stored some unmounted tires stacked on their side on a concrete floor in an unheated shed, covered with one of those covers that tire stores sometimes use when they have a set stacked for display.

    But he never used them and eventually threw them out (which I knew is what would happen when he insisted on keeping them.)

    • 0 avatar

      I was taught that tires without rims should be stored standing up, and turned a little every month or so, to avoid deformation. Complete wheels OTOH should be stored lying flat (stacking them is okay) or hanging (like from a wall hook) for the same reason. Cleanliness and plenty of pressure is always a plus, of course.

      I also was taught that the main cause of tire aging, other than wear, is sunlight. So cover them if the room isn’t dark. You can see parked cars with their tires covered with blankets in old pictures, and camping trailers with the same to this day.

      This spring, I mounted 10-year-old Pirellis that had seen 3 years of use (on 3 different cars) and 7 years of stacked storage in cellars and garages. They’ve been fine (easily better than Bridgestones half their age, which they replaced) and will serve me another summer before throwing them out.

  • avatar

    Basically any dark and relatively dry environment is fine. Ozone is really only an issue with Ionic air purifiers. If you don’t have one of those, you should be fine.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    The garage floor is concrete, not cement.
    Cement, as it’s name implies, is the powder that cements the stones and sand together when water is added, making concrete.

  • avatar

    I would think the RV community could be a useful source of information. Although RV tires remain mounted they go through long periods of not being used. Often RVers mention the need to rotate the tires periodically.

    If you’re feeling super creative, this might be a good application for a BBQ rotisserie attachment during the winter months ;)

  • avatar

    I store mine on the car itself.

    Nokian WR for the win…

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

  • avatar

    Hey, now, what a concept. A Canadian storing winter tires! Where do you live? PEI? Toronto? Here in the Ontario snow belt a high-miles guy like me hasn’t got enough tread left after one year to confidently carry himself through a second winter. So, off they go and I’ll see you on October 1ST in Crappy Tire for a new set of $2K Blizzaks. The summer tires? They’re “stored” all winter in the back of the F-150 for a bit more traction. Expensive, eh?

  • avatar

    The rotisserie comment is right on. Store them off the ground, horizontally, suspended by a pole through the center of the wheels. Hang that pole from the rafters in the garage, or the joists in the basement. It’s a ten dollar solution, tops.

    That does away with any pressure points on the rubber, allows for airflow between them if you want, and seems very easy to do overall. What am I missing here?

    Go anal, and put rods through the bolt holes. Attach those to a rotisserie turner, then you can satisfy the inner weirdo in you that’s worried about the tires not turning all winter, and all the weight being put in one position for months on end. You know who you are.

  • avatar

    I store mine on rims stacked on top of each other they are currently in my parents garage in phoenix . not a lot of room to put a set of 35″ tires for a Ford Raptor any were else. In Utah I kept them in my basement and one year out on the porch , in New York i key them in a gazebo on my cousins farm up state. I drive about 30k a year so I’m not concerned about rot as I replace the tires for tread life. My previous summer tries lasted 56k and they were MT, My winters , studded Duratracs have been the same since 2011 and have been on every winter since.

  • avatar

    Does anyone know what kind of wheels those are?

  • avatar

    My Summer tires are stored where they should be. On my car. Because, Florida. Yeah, we have hurricanes, wall climbing alligators, cannibalistic homeless people, and all sorts of other stuff. But at least we don’t have to deal with this.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      However according to TV if in Florida you should remember to lock the doors of your car: “They don’t nap. They make it their home! THEY URINATE IN THERE!

  • avatar

    So explain to me why people are worried about their snow tires getting too cold? Are you aware of the purpose of snow tires, which is to DRIVE AROUND IN SNOW AND ICE? Snow, and ice, which only occur when IT’S COLD OUTSIDE?

    As far as summer tires, if you buy tires made in, say, Japan, or Germany, do you really think they store ’em in heated warehouses?

  • avatar

    Would there be any value to a coat of some sort of tire dressing on the sidewalls?

  • avatar

    We could all do with one less thing to worry about. Consider how well tires survive after being discarded in the ocean. There.

  • avatar

    I store my tires stacked on the side. Can’t have a plastic bag due to rot either. Two issues though:

    1) I have learned to increase, not decrease, tire pressure for storage. So I raise it from 2.1 bar to 2.8 bar for storage.

    2) There are lots of cats in my garage. Our own cats, who need to have a warm-ish shelter when it gets cold, and neighboring cats, whom they fight with. The problem here is that, sometimes, they mark their territory on the stored tires. I can safely assume that this is detrimental to rubber health? How do I prevent it? Have tried sitrus and pepper, none of it works.

    • 0 avatar

      >>Can’t have a plastic bag due to rot either.

      Dry rot is premature aging, and is caused by exposure to sun, humidity, ozone, etc. I use one large black contractor trash bag per tire to give them their own mini atmosphere (as per TireRack recommendation). Just let the tires air dry for a day before bagging them and the tires will also be protected from the cats.

      Ditto, I also store the tires with slightly higher pressure (2.8 bar = 40 psi).

      • 0 avatar

        Where I live, we get 220-250 days of rain a year, with about 2000-2500mm average precipitation. My garage is not heated. In my experience, everything in plastics close to the ground will get wet from condensation/shifting temperatures. That’s why I am wary of packing the tires into bags.

  • avatar

    I swap out winter and summer rims/tires every six months. The unused set is stacked on the garage floor. The cardboard that came with a Tirerack order goes between each layer. Garage is not attached and not heated, and the floor gets sloppy in the winter with snow and salt. I replaced my temporary spare years ago with a full size rim. The little factory spare did come in handy as the sacrificial bottom layer of my tire cake. It was in great condition when I pulled it out of the car 8 years ago, but now it’s horribly rusty on that bottom side. Everything else has survived well.

  • avatar

    When I lived in the snow zone and drove a RWD car with V8 power, I’d buy recap snow tires every September when they had a sale, and took them off the rims and threw them away in early April when they had about 6,000 miles on them. The salt and chemicals did a number on them, and for 20% of the cost of new snows, it was worth it. My regular tires were stored in a semi-heated basement on their sides, covered with plastic. When I put them back on, I rotated them.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Thanks to Sajeev and the B&B, much information here. Two concerns/discussion points.
    1. I was told to reduce the pressure, particularly when storing them on their sides. Can’t even remember the exact reason now. A number of comments here state that it is preferable to actually increase the pressure. Which is correct?
    2. Stored one set in the plastic ‘tire’ bags one year. Condensation from heat/cold cycles resulted in the steelies rusting like nobodies business. Have sanded, scraped, used Naval Jelly and rust paint but they still looked unsightly. However when storing on plastic with a sheet over them, I have never (knock wood) had a set rust.

    Finally, would I ever like to have a rolling tire storage cart like the one in the picture.

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