Your car is probably one of the most valuable possessions that you own.
Each year, you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars taking care of it. It makes sense that you would want to be well-educated on every aspect of your car’s maintenance.
For example, what do you do with your car’s winter tires when you are not using them in the off-season?
If you have ever wondered where you should store your tires, here are a few great suggestions and tips to keep your tires in great shape.
3 Great Places to Store Tires:
The best place to store your tires is somewhere cool and climate-controlled:
This area is typically out of the way and is often used for storage of larger, big-ticket items such as a massive set of tires.
As long as the tires are wrapped in individual airtight storage bags, you should not have to worry about the fumes or your health from storing the tires in this area.
If you have a climate-controlled workshop, stacked tires will fit perfectly here.
Stacking them vertically is best to maintain the shape of the tire, but it also minimizes the square footage that your tires will take up.
Consider clearing out a corner of your space to tuck these important items away.
3. Storage Units
Another option to investigate is storage units.
While not all facilities will allow tires to be stored here, some units do allow you to keep one full set of tires.
There may be certain restrictions on just how you can store them in these types of scenarios, so be sure to ask questions upfront.
Places To Avoid:
Just as important as places you can store your tires are the places that you should avoid.
For example, you want to avoid any areas that are prone to extreme temperature fluctuations and precipitation. This often means that garages and attics are not the ideal places to store your tires.
You may not realize it, but those temperature fluctuations can wreak havoc on the rubber of your tires. Tires can even freeze under the right circumstances.
Think about the places in and around your home that might be hot, cold, or too humid. These are all areas that you want to avoid for the storage of your tires.
While it may not feel ideal for putting your tires in the corner of your living room, you should find some climate-controlled area of your home to store these important items.
Should I Store Tires Vertically or Horizontally?
Many people wonder just how they should stack their tires to maximize the space they have.
Storing them vertically makes a big difference in their overall footprint in your garage. Should you store them one on top of the other, or should they be laid out horizontally?
It is widely accepted that tires should be stored vertically.
First of all, storing them vertically means that they will take up less space in your area. Stacking one tire on top of the other minimizes the square footage they will take up on your floor.
However, the issue goes deeper than that.
Storing them horizontally can lead to more stress on the tire and actual distortion of the shape itself.
Some people note that the tire distortion should even out after you install the tires and drive around with them for some time. However, it is best to avoid this issue altogether by storing them vertically.
Can You Store Tires in a Shed or Garage?
A garage or shed can seem like the ideal place to stash away these giant tires, but you might want to rethink that plan. There can be quite a bit of fluctuation in the temperature in these parts of your home.
Unless you have them climate-controlled, garages and sheds are prone to soaring temperatures in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter.
Both of these types of temperature fluctuations can be hard on the rubber. You should store the tires in a cool and dry location, such as a climate-controlled basement or a workshop.
This minimizes the stress that will be put on the rubber.
Can You Store Tires in a Storage Unit?
If you are looking for a climate-controlled area where you can keep your tires, a storage unit may be one idea that comes to mind.
At first glance, this seems like the ideal location. It gets the tires out of your house and keeps them from being exposed to temperature fluctuations and precipitation.
However, not all storage facilities will allow you to store tires at their location.
Why are they a bit picky about what you can store there? First and foremost, the facility owners have to consider what would happen to the contents of your storage unit if you abandoned your property.
The cost to get rid of tires can be pricy, depending on your area.
This places an unnecessary financial strain on the owner of the facility.
Safety and Storage
Second, there is always the chance of a fire at the storage facility. A tire fire can be extremely difficult to put out, wreaking havoc on the entire place. It could pose a major safety risk to store spare sets of tires in a storage facility.
Be sure to check with the facility you plan to use to determine if you can store tires and how many.
Make sure that you get the proper insurance for your storage unit in the event of an accident.
Some facilities have a strict no tire policy, while others will allow you to store one set of four tires at a Time.
Can You Store Tires Outside During a Cold Winter?
There are a lot of things you must consider when storing tires during any season.
While many people are concerned with what they should do with their winter tires during the spring, it is equally important to know how to store your tires during a cold winter. The best practice is to keep tires cool and dry, but they should never be too cold.
Tires can actually freeze, which is not going to help them last for as long as possible.
Even if they are under a protective covering or wrapped in individual coverings, it is still best to avoid major fluctuations in temperature, such as those found in winter.
Bring them indoors to an area such as the basement where you can control the temperature and conditions.
Should Tires be Stacked When Stored?
If possible, it is best to store tires by stacking them vertically instead of storing them horizontally as if they were mounted on the car.
This helps them to take up a smaller footprint in your climate-controlled area. However, it is also beneficial for the shape of the tire. It does not cause the tire to become distorted with time.
When stacking tires, you should make sure to store them sidewall to sidewall. The white rubber sidewall should be stored back-to-back with the white sidewall.
The black sidewall should be stored back-to-back with the black sidewall. Otherwise, you may find that the black color bleeds onto the white sidewall and can ruin the tires.
It is equally important to make sure that you do not stack the tires too high. Unmounted, standard tires can be stacked roughly six to eight tires high.
Extra wide-base tires such as those for trucks should only be stacked three to four tires high.
Is it Safe to Store Tires in Your House?
The good news is that you can store tires safely in your home.
The great indoors is the ideal place to store tires because it is cool and dry. Most of us also keep our homes climate-controlled throughout the year, so the rubber tires would not be exposed to major fluctuations in temperature or precipitation.
Although it is safe to store tires inside, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Proper Placement and Storage:
The first thing you need to do is keep them away from appliances that emit carbon dioxide. This can include your furnace or a central vacuum system.
You also want to keep them as far away as possible from harsh substances, including cleaning supplies, chemicals, fuels, solvents, and other types of dangerous liquids.
One thing you should keep in mind is that tire fires can be extraordinarily difficult to put out. If your home catches on fire, you might cause more damage if you have a set of tires put in storage within those four walls.
While the odds of this happening could be slim, it is a risk that you are taking by choosing to store tires inside.
Smell and Packing:
Another issue that you might be wondering about is the smell that tires give off.
Are tire fumes toxic for you to breathe in?
First, you should always store your extra tires in an airtight bag to protect them during the offseason. These can mean extra heavy-duty garbage bags, lawn and garden bags, or special tire covers.
To seal the bags properly, suck as much air as you can out of the bag using your vacuum cleaner before sealing.
Once these tires are sealed, you should not have much of an odor in your home.
Without sealing them, the fumes put off by tires could be potentially toxic. They stem from hydrocarbon oils and other ingredients like benzopyrene, a known carcinogen.
Few studies demonstrate the long-term effects of being exposed to chemicals like this, but preliminary research leads most people to conclude that the effects may not be ideal.
Since they may or may not be harmful to your health, it is probably in your best interest to consider storing them somewhere else that has better ventilation. If you do store them inside, make sure to seal them in their individual bags.
Should Tires be Inflated or Deflated When Stored?
As long as the tires are being stored while on rims, it is okay to stack them while inflated.
They should be inflated to 10 psi in this scenario. If you are putting the tires into storage during warm weather, you should try to offset the pressure drop in the cold months and inflate the tires even further.
When storing them during warm weather, you should set them to 15 psi.
A good rule of thumb is to deflate tires to fifty percent of their normal pressure when storing tires that have previously been inflated.
What Do You Put Under Your Tires When in Storage?
If you have to put your tires in storage during any season, you never want to set them directly on the ground.
This can lead to moisture buildup beneath the tires that can cause serious issues when you go to use these tires again. Instead, you should always put something beneath them to allow air to circulate or to prevent moisture from developing.
The simplest thing you can do is to put a tarp underneath your tires. If you are storing them on top of cement in an area such as the garage, then this might be a quick and easy solution for you.
You might also consider putting rubber mats or carpet underneath the tires for a similar effect.
If you have access to old pallets, these work wonderfully for storing tires. Once each tire is sequestered in its individual bag, then you can stack them all on top of the old pallet.
Because a pallet has open-air beneath it, you don’t have to worry about whether your tires are receiving enough air circulation.
This is a cheap and easy way to effectively store your tires.
For those who do not have access to pallets, storing the tires on a jack can also be an option.
How to Avoid Dry Rotting:
Dry rotting is a serious concern that you need to address when storing your tires during the off-season.
If you do not take proper precautions, you might render an entire set of tires useless when the next season comes around again.
Consider some of these simple things you can do to help avoid dry rot with your tires:
Cleaning and Maintenance:
First, you should clean and dry your tires thoroughly before putting them away in their individual airtight plastic bag.
All tires that are stored should be completely dry and free from debris they may have collected on the road.
You need to remove all asphalt, dirt, and brake dust from the tires using mild dish soap and lukewarm water with a tire brush and old-fashioned elbow grease. Many people head out to their local automotive shop to pick up some cleaner from the shelf.
They believe that a store-bought cleaner is stronger and more effective, but this may not be the case.
Petroleum-based cleaning products that are popular can cause more damage to the rubber and lead to cracking when used over a long period.
Look for cleaners that do not contain petroleum or stick with plain soap to be on the safe side.
Storage and Location:
Storing them in the right location can also help.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun are one of the biggest factors in premature aging for tires. Storing them in direct sunlight can cause tires to dry out early on, so be sure to always cover them with a thick tarp that does not allow light to pass through.
Ideally, you would be able to store tires inside storage bags and away from windows or doors.
You should also do your best to store them in an area that is consistently dry and cool.
Exposing rubber tires to extreme temperature fluctuations or precipitation can also prematurely age tires, distort their shape, and lead to dry rot.
Tips for Storing Tires Mounted on Rims
A lot of people prefer to store their tires while they are still mounted on the rims.
This can change some of the advice that is given for just storing the tires on their own. If you have mounted tires on rims, then you should consider stacking them.
Stacking the tires in this way saves you valuable square footage as they extend upward instead of outward.
Simply make sure to allow air circulation around the bottom of the stack using a pallet or a jack.
Stacking helps to avoid distorting the shape of the tires, but you must be careful not to stack them too high. A pile that is too high might accidentally topple over, causing damage to the tires and the rims. It is best to keep the pile to six to eight tires only.
If you have tires mounted on rims, another option is to hang them from tire racks or hooks. The rim will help to maintain the shape of the tire, whereas a tire without the rim might become easily distorted and damaged this way.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.