How to store tires is probably not something you have given much thought. After all, aren’t tires the toughest part of your vehicle? Don’t they take abuse almost every day without any problems?

Tires can certainly hold their own, but if you’re one of the millions of Canadians who routinely swaps winter rubber for summer rubber when the seasons change, you can add significant life to the investment you’ve made with a few simple storage tips.

Here’s how to store tires safely for the next season.

Clean your tires first

Dirt and grime aren’t just ugly—they often contain contaminants that your tire picked up from the road while you were driving. This is especially true of winter tires, as they have to deal with the corrosive effects of salt and other de icing agents sprayed over the asphalt. A thorough scrub using a tire and wheel cleaner and a brush is the first step towards storing tires properly.

Protect them from the sun

Have you ever wondered why some RVs have skirts over each of their four wheels? The answer is deceptively simple. The UV rays of the sun—combined with all the heat that tires soak up because they’re black—break down rubber over time, which can cause it to crack. This is called dry rot, and it’s a death sentence for your tires. If you have to store your tires outside, make sure the storage area is protected from the sun, or that your tires are wrapped up in plastic bags (which your NAPA AUTOPRO will provide for you when you swap your tires each season).

Stay away from sources of ozone

A cool, dry basement is a great place to store tires. There’s just one catch: you should keep your rubber as far away as you can from any electric motor. The ozone that’s produced by a furnace, heater or even a sump pump interacts with the chemical bonds in a tire and can create the same dry rot as caused by the sun’s UV rays.

Stacking is O.K.

The best way to store tires in the long term is to sit them upright on the tread, as that’s how they were designed to bear weight. On the rim or off doesn’t matter, really, but keep pressures up if you don’t dismount them.

If they are mounted in rims and you don’t have enough room to keep your rubber upright, stacking them on the sidewall is acceptable, as long as you don’t stack too high and don’t put anything heavy on top of the column. You can add a cardboard between each rim to avoid scratches.

Lastly, ask your local NAPA AUTOPRO if it can store your tires. For a small fee, you’ll avoid searching for your own storage space, and you’ll be sure that storage conditions will be optimal.

For more information on how to store tires, chat with an expert at your local NAPA AUTOPRO shop.