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In Ottawa, we never have the luxury of using one set of tires throughout the year. All-seasons here are, at best, three seasons. So that means you are always going to have one set of tires on your car, and one set in storage somewhere. 

Of course, how you store those off-season tires can have a significant impact on how long they last. And, let’s be honest, we all want to get as much life as we can out of both sets of tires. 

So, the first thing to cover is whether it’s ever ok to store your tires outside. 

The short answer is no. To make sure you get the most out of both sets of wheels, you want to ensure they are stored safely out of the elements. An Ottawa winter can freeze and damage the rubber compounds of a regular summer or all-season rubber. Not to mention a sunny Ottawa summer has the potential to over bake your winter set. 

The next consideration is whether to store your tires in a climate-controlled facility.

As tire experts, we think the best way to protect your off-season set is to keep them comfortably placed in a properly maintained facility that manages the room’s temperature and humidity. By doing this, you guarantee that your tires are going to last as long as possible. However, it’s not strictly mandatory. You can have good results storing your tires yourself at home, so long as you pay attention to a couple of critical details.

1. Stored tires need to be kept cool and dry.

While it’s much more convenient to keep off-season wheels stacked up in your garage, unless it’s insulated, that’s probably not a great idea. In the winter, even though those tires are protected from the elements, they are not protected from the chill. In the summer, the heat and humidity tend to fluctuate quite a bit, and both extremes will slowly deteriorate the integrity of the tires. Of course, this also means you don’t want to keep them in the garden shed for the same reasons. If you have a climate-controlled garage, this won’t be an issue. 

However, if you don’t, a good option is a storage room in the basement where they benefit from your home-monitored HVAC system. 

2. Tires need to be kept away from ozone.

It’s essential, though, that whether it’s an insulated garage or a basement storage room that you keep them away from your furnace, central vacuum, or sump-pump unit. These sorts of motors emit ozone, which can also damage your tires over time. 

The next thing to keep in mind is how you should prep your tires for the off-season.

If you want to get the most out of your rubber, it’s essential that before those wheels go down for the off-season, you take some time to get them ready. The first thing is a proper cleaning. You want to make sure that all the grime built up from the season gets washed away. While on the road, debris is regularly added and pushed off. Although once the wheels are in storage, whatever grit remains will sit and start to eat at the tires. All you need to get the job done is warm soap with water and a tire brush. If your off-seasons are staying on their rims, it’s also a good idea to clean those with a wheel cleaning solution. Once the tires have been cleaned and allowed to dry, you want to package them up in airtight bags. Not only will this keep them from picking up any dirt during storage, but the bags will also help keep the vital lubricating oils in the rubber compound from evaporating and drying out the tire. To ensure your wheels stay protected, you also want to try and get as much air out of the bag as possible. Using an air pump with a reverse option is a good idea right before you seal the bag.

Next, you will want to consider whether to lay the tires flat or stand them up.

How you position the tires in storage is essential, but which option you should select depends entirely on whether or not they are on rims or not. If you’ve decided to purchase a second set of wheels, meaning you can leave your winter and summer tires mounted on their rims, then you always want to store them flat. You will want to keep the pile low to the floor to prevent them from toppling over and be sure to place them on a clean surface as opposed to directly on the ground. As you stack the wheels, separate each one with a sturdy piece of cardboard to keep them spaced and prevent them from rubbing. Of course, mounted wheels can also be hung from hooks without any issue if that works better in your storage space.

On the other hand, if you are using the same set of rims for both your winter and summer tires, meaning the rubber comes off the wheel for storage, they need to be stood up vertical in a rack. Unmounted tires should never be piled on each other as the weight will gradually warp the rubber. The same is true when it comes to hanging them, not only could the hook damage the tire structure, but gravity will slowly distort the shape and shorten their lifespan.

What should you do with tires on a seasonal car?

If you own a seasonal vehicle that gets to spend the harsh Ottawa winter tucked away inside, you need to consider how to store its tires as well. Leaving them on the car means they will spend a season resting on one spot of the circumference. By doing this, you can develop flat spots, while unevenly preserving the rest of the tire. Not only does this mean you will need to replace the rubber sooner, but it could potentially be dangerous when you do get your summer car back out on the road. And, if the vehicle is resting in a garage without climate control, the tires are subject to the same environmental issues listed above. The best option is often to remove the tires and put them into storage, leaving the vehicle on jack stands. Of course, with some older cars that have the potential to develop a sagging frame, you should avoid putting them up on jacks. An alternative option is to park the vehicle with 2-inch by 10-inch wood boards under each tire. Doing so will provide a slight insulating effect to protect the tires from cold concrete, and help keep the rubber from hardening up too much through the winter. Be sure to chat with one of our automotive experts to determine which option is best for your specific car. 

You want to consider the value of having your tires appropriately stored.

Purchasing a quality set of tires for your vehicle is an investment, and you want to make sure you are getting the most out of it and not having to replace your treads before their time. More than that, good tires are probably the most critical safety feature on your car and poorly stored, they start to lose their effectiveness. At Sipan Tire and Rim, we charge $70 per season to keep your summer or winter set safe. We ensure they are appropriately cleaned, bagged, and protected. And, we maintain them in a facility beyond the elements. If you’re concerned that your home storage may not be up to the task, we’re here to help. 

We want to make sure you have the best for your wheels.

If you want to learn more about our seasonal storage options, or need further advice about making your home storage the best it can be, get in touch: 613-695-8866. Our dedicated automotive professionals have years of experience helping customers maintain their tires, and they love to talk shop.