If you have made the switch to winter tyres this year, you will have been left with four summer tyres (or possibly 4 summer wheels, if you chose to get a new set of rims as well).
This being so, you may have a storage problem. Although they look small on your car, tyres can seem surprisingly bulky when they are piled up in your garage or shed. You may also be wondering how to store them safely when they are not in use.
The main enemies of tyres in storage are:
- UV rays (from sunlight)
- Physical weakening and distortion (caused by uneven pressure on the tyre over a long period)
- Extreme heat, cold or damp
- Oxidation (exposure to oxygen)
Some tyre fitting centres and car dealers are providing tyre hotel facilities, where you can store your summer tyres safely until spring. However, this costs money, and as long as you have enough space at home, then you can save the cost and store your own tyres.
Fast-fit chain HiQ has put together a list of tips on tyre storage to help you keep your tyres safe until the spring:
- Loose tyres should be stored in a horizontal position. Be sure to stack symmetrically so they retain their shape.
- Rotate the stack on a regular basis to maintain shape of the lowest tyre
- Cover with a sheet of opaque or black polyethylene film (such as a bin bag) to limit the exposure to oxygen
- Avoid storing tyres where the area is wet and oily
- Don’t store them anywhere near chemical agents like solvents, fuels, paints or disinfectants.
I would add to this that if your unused tyres are in your garage (the most likely place), you should ideally keep them off the floor, which will be concrete, cold and damp. A pallet is ideal – just remember to rotate them periodically so that the tyre at the bottom of the pile does not get deformed.
Tyres mounted on rims can be stacked in a horizontal stack, placed vertically on a horizontal rack (like the image at the top) or hung by the rims. Make sure you keep them inflated and rotate them periodically.
Naturally, all of these tips apply equally to winter tyres and summer tyres.
One final tip is to mark each tyre with the name of the wheel it came from (e.g. NSR means nearside rear). That way, when it comes time to refit them you can either refit them in the same place or swap front and rear tyres on each side to even out wear. Remember that your least-worn tyres should always be on the rear.