How to Store Your Summer Tires

Given the weather extremes we experience here in Canada, many Canadians must have two sets of tires: dedicated snow tires for winter and all-season tires for the rest of the year. The problem is what to do with that extra set of tires when they’re not on your vehicle. If you have a summer vehicle, how do you keep your summer tires in good shape over the cold season?

Summer Tire Storage Tips

The problem with storing tires isn’t just that space can be hard to find, but also that winter storage can do some real damage. When you put your summer tires away for the winter, they remain vulnerable to harmful forces such as dry rot, UV damage, and flat spots. How do you protect your tires from air, sunlight, and gravity? Here are a few tips to help your tires last longer in storage.

  • Clean – Use a regular car wash detergent and a stiff brush to clean your tires. Clean the inside of unmounted tires and clean the wheels if they’re mounted. Do not apply tire dressings. Allow them to air-dry thoroughly. Road grime, brake dust, and dirt affect the rubber in tires in ways you can’t see until it’s too late.
  • Bag – Put each tire in a bag and tape it closed. Construction bags and lawn-and-leaf bags are robust enough for this task. Tire totes have convenient handles and can keep the bags from being punctured. Oxygen and ozone chemically attack the rubber, accelerating dry rot and deterioration.
  • Shade – Store your tires in a dark space, out of direct sunlight. Basements are alright as long as they aren’t too damp or too hot (keep your tires away from the boiler or furnace, for example).  Storing tires in the sun exposes them not just to heat, but also to ultraviolet light, which destroys rubber on a molecular scale.
  • Stack – If you’re storing mounted tires, start by removing them from your vehicle. Next, inflate them a few psi above normal before stacking them in a tower on a pallet or wood blocks. Stacking mounted tires and wheels saves floor space.
  • Stand – If you’re storing unmounted tires, it’s best to stand them side by side. Do not hang unmounted tires from a pipe, post, or nail. Standing unmounted tires prevents sidewall and bead deformation and makes mounting easier.
  • Separate – If your tires aren’t bagged, slip a piece of cardboard between the tires to protect the wheels from scratches. Separating your tires will also protect any white letters from the back of adjacent tires.
  • Rack – A wall-mounted rack is a great way to store tires during the off-season. Tire racks save floor space while keeping your tires safe and organized.
  • Jack – Store your summer car on jack stands—two pairs of Evercraft 2-ton jack stands, for instance. Inflate the tires to regular tire pressure and keep them off the ground. Tires can develop flat spots after just a few days of sitting in the cold, and these can become permanent after a few months.

Try to implement as many of these tips as you can to keep your summer tires fresh for next season. Whatever your situation, however, mixing and matching as many of these tips as possible will give you the best results. When considering summer tire storage accessories, aim for the best combination of convenience and protection for your tires.

Check out all the seasonal maintenance services available at any of our 600 NAPA AUTOPRO locations for your car routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on summer tire storage, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre.

Benjamin Jerew