How To Avoid Dry Rot in Stored Tires

Understanding the natural process of dry rotting in tires and taking proactive measures to combat it is crucial for maintaining tire health, especially when tires are left in storage for extended periods. This article outlines effective ways to store tires to prevent dry rot, ensuring longevity and safety when they hit the road again.

Cleaning for Preservation

Cleaning tires before storage is a simple yet impactful preventive measure. Mud and debris on tire surfaces can accelerate dry rot by pulling out essential oils from the rubber. Using just water and a sponge to clean tires removes contaminants without further drying them out. Avoid using specialized tire cleaning soaps if you plan to store the tires soon after cleaning, as these can contribute to further drying.

Shielding from Sunlight Exposure

Direct sunlight, with its UV rays, hastens the dry rotting process in tires. Storing vehicles or tires in a space shielded from direct sunlight is essential. If an ideal space isn’t available, investing in an opaque cover that extends over the tires can provide protection. These covers shield tires from UV exposure, ensuring they remain in optimal condition.

Maintaining Consistent Temperature

Extreme temperatures and drastic temperature fluctuations contribute to dry rotting. Keeping a vehicle or tires in a storage space with a consistent temperature helps mitigate this risk. Storing a vehicle indoors, such as in a storage unit, is advantageous in preventing temperature-related tire damage. In extreme climates, temperature-controlled storage facilities may be a wise investment for optimal tire preservation.

Sealing Tires in Bags

To combat dry rot, it’s crucial to reduce exposure to oxygen. For tires removed from vehicles and stored for more than six months, sealing them in bags is recommended. While specialty tire bags are available, cost-effective alternatives involve using heavy-duty plastic bags securely taped to create a sealed environment. This minimizes exposure to oxygen and protects against dry rot, flat spotting, and uneven wear.

Checking for Dry Rot Signs

Regular inspection is key to catching dry rot early. Signs include a grayish “washed out” color, visible cracks, and a change in the tire’s texture from a slight sponginess to a more leather-like feel. When taking a vehicle out of car storage, a thorough visual inspection of the tires will help identify any dry rot issues that may have occurred during the car storage period.

By implementing these proactive storage strategies, businesses and individuals alike can effectively prevent dry rot in tires, ensuring their vehicles are road-ready when needed. Taking the time to clean, shield, control temperature, seal, and inspect tires will contribute to overall tire health and safety.

How to Store Tires Properly to Prevent Dry Rotting

Storing tires can be a troublesome task due to their size and the extra steps needed to keep them in good shape. However, you might not have a choice if you have a set of winter tires for your car.

Storing tires can be a troublesome task due to their size and the extra steps needed to keep them in good shape. However, you might not have a choice if you have a set of winter tires for your car. If you are clueless of where to start, you are not alone. Many of our storage customers do not know how to store tires and come to us for advice.

It is not uncommon to see tires stored outside without so much as a cover, but it is likely these tires are not used on a road vehicle. If they are, their safety has been compromised in a major way. People also keep tires in garages that are exposed to big shifts in temperature; this solution is also not ideal.

Tires will degrade eventually, but there are things we can do to delay the process. Tires are sensitive to weather, sun, temperature, and time. The best way to store tires is in a dry, cool environment that will slow down the aging process. Keeping a fresh set of tires in the right conditions could add years to their life.

These tire storage tips will show you how to prevent dry rot and keep tires in excellent condition.

1. Clean and Dry Tires Thoroughly before Storage

It is important to remove any traces of asphalt, dirt and brake dust from the tires before storing. However, not all soap and methods of cleaning are created equal. Products specifically marketed for cleaning tires might not be appropriate in this case, so check the label. Avoid cleaning products with petroleum and all tire dressings. These products can be corrosive if your tires will be out of service for a few months or more.

To clean tires:

  • Mix mild dish soap and lukewarm water in a bucket.
  • Use a tire brush to scrub away any grime.
  • Avoid abrasive tire cleaners that can speed up the breakdown of the rubber
  • Avoid using a tire gloss or dressing prior to storing tires.
  • Make sure the tires are completely dry prior to storing but do not let them dry in direct sunlight.

2. Keep the Tires out of the Sun

Some argue that UV rays are the biggest factor in tire aging. Direct sunlight can heat the rubber and cause premature deterioration. The UV rays penetrate the rubber, dry it out and eventually break down the rubber compounds. The best way to keep tires from dry rotting is to limit sun exposure whenever possible.

How to keep tires out of sunlight:

  • Cover outdoor tires with a thick, sun protectant tarp. Make sure light cannot pass through the fabric.
  • Store tires indoors and away from windows or doors.
  • Use tire storage bags designed to keep tires out of the sun.
  • Purchase tire covers if you are keeping the tires on a car.

3. Store Tires in a Cool, Dry Environment

Find a cool and dry environment to keep your tires: ideally a place where the temperature and humidity remain consistent throughout the storage period. Dips or hikes in either of these conditions can result in premature tire aging. Storing tires in a consistently warm environment is not good for the rubber, but it is also damaging to keep tires in freezing temperatures.

Where to store tires:

  • Consider a storage unit to maintain a consistent environment.
  • A basement is a common choice, but keep tires away from furnaces, water tanks, sump pumps and other ozone producers.
  • Avoid storing tires in a garage if you can help it. Sunlight and weather exposure can damage tires over a long period of time.

4. Keep each Tire in an Airtight Plastic Bag

Aside from sunlight, the next leading tire deteriorating factor is oxygen. Some things in storage require airflow to breathe and stay in good condition. Tires, on the other hand, do better when they are vacuum sealed in plastic. An airtight space prevents oxygen from reaching the tires, slows down the oxidation process and prevents the oil from evaporating and drying out the tires. Remember to wrap each tire individually for the best results.

Tire storage options:

  • Specialty tire storage bags
  • Large black contractor garbage bags
  • Vacuum sealable plastic
  • Thick tarps that you can tie wrap tightly around the tire

5. Remove Tires from Vehicles that will Be in Storage for a Long Time

If you are storing a car for more than a couple of months, consider removing the tires from the car completely. Leaving the tires on the car can cause flat spotting. If you cannot remove the tires, at the very least be sure to take the car for a ride every few months so that the tires get some use. Tires do best in service because movement keeps oil evenly distributed in the rubber, which helps prevent it from drying out.

6. Professionally Inspect the Tires before Remounting Them on a Vehicle

Tires can last for several years in storage if they are stored in the right conditions. However, many tire experts recommend replacing tires six years after their production date regardless of the tread. Old tires can be compromised in other ways when the rubber compound breaks down.

To give you another perspective, it is like the difference between a brand new rubber band and one that’s been sitting on your desk for years. When you take your tires out of storage, make sure you look for signs of wear and check the date. If you are unfamiliar with what dry rot or crazing looks like, have a tire professional give your tires a once-over.