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How To Store Your Winter Tires

If you live in Minnesota, having two sets of tires per vehicle is a practical answer to our four very different seasons. While all-season tires are improving, there’s still no replacement for having tires optimized for different weather conditions.

One of the secrets to using two sets of tires at different times to split the wear between the two sets, so that both sets last longer. All-season tires that are used for winter driving also typically should be replaced at half tread depth, whereas by using a combination of winter+all-season or winter+summer tires, you can use each set for a longer portion of its advertised lifespan. In the end, owning two sets of tires can be a financially practical decision that lets drive on roads where others get stuck.

The first question that might come to mind is: where can I store my spare set of tires? Follow the rules below to keep your second set in great shape!

2017 Honda Civic tires

1. Get a second set of wheels for your second set of tires

This is a great way to make changing tires in spring and fall easier, quicker and cheaper in the long run. With each tire on its own wheel, swapping sets is as simple as a tire rotation. This is a quick and low-cost maintenance item that needs to be done on a regular basis anyway. With good timing, you won’t need to add any extra tire rotations to your yearly schedule. A tire rotation is also an easy do-it-yourself project.

One more tip: buy a durable, lower-cost but perhaps less stylish set for winter use, when salt and sand rule the roads. This will help save your summer set from pitting and corrosion.

We sell rims for Honda vehicles as well as tires for all makes and models; contact us at (651) 490-6699 for pricing!

2. Store them clean and dry

Just like everything else, tires should be stored clean. You can wash tires in your driveway using a tire and wheel cleaner. If you’re storing your tires on wheels, make sure you use a cleaner that is safe for the type of wheels. For example, some wheels are coated or painted. This coating or paint can be harmed by using a cleaner that is to strong.

Wash your tires and wheels using a soft brush, and rinse thoroughly with clean water. The goal is to remove brake dust and all the gunk that can cause corrosion if left on. Both metal and rubber corrode from moisture trapped under grime, so it’s important to clean the tires as well as the wheels.

Make sure your tires are completely dry before moving on to the next step. You might want to let them dry overnight, then flip them over and let them dry again.

3. Store them inside airtight plastic bags

Tire lifespan isn’t counted in years, but in miles and, more importantly, rubber quality. The main enemies of your rubber are humidity, extreme temperatures, ozone, chemical spills, and direct sunlight. Airtight plastic bags protect tires from all of these. Store each tire in its own bag. A yard waste bag, tied into a knot, is a great solution. Press as much air out as you can before tying the bag.

4. Protect them from direct sunlight

Sitting in direct sunlight is a surefire way for rubber to degrade. The simple solution is to keep your tires inside four walls somewhere.

5. Protect them from extreme temperatures, ozone, chemical spills and humidity

The best place to store tires is a climate-controlled garage or basement with some distance from heat pumps, water heaters, electric motors and other sources of ozone. Attics and outdoor sheds can get brutally hot during Minnesota summers as the sun shines from early until late. Heat and humidity are your tires’ enemies. During the winter, you also want to keep your summer set out of the coldest weather.

As a basic precaution, keep your tires away from stored motor oil, heavy-duty cleaners and any other liquid chemicals that could spill on them and potentially cause damage.

6. Keep weight off them

If your tires are on rims, it’s recommended to store them standing up next to each other. Tires off rims can be stacked one on top of the other, each in their own bag. Stacked tires should be rotated (bottom tire to the top, etc) every few months during storage to prevent flattening.

7. Where can I store them?

You can get individual posts to add to your garage wall for each tire and wheel, or you can also get a custom storage rack if you choose! You can also simply place your (bagged) tires on the floor under a workbench, or against a wall.

More Questions About Storing Tires?

If you follow all the above guidelines, your total lifespan from both sets of tires can be greater than from running through two sets of all-seasons in a row! Be sure to also check out our blog post on when to swap out tires!