Whether you’ve got a spare set of tires for the snow or a set for the track, anyone who’s passionate about our cars is looking for a better way to store tires in the garage.
No matter what you use your spare set of tires for, you want a good place to store them and get them up off the ground and out of the way.
How do you store tires in the garage? Most tire manufacturers recommend you store unmounted tires upright and never stacked on top of each other. Tires mounted on wheels should be either hung individually or stacked. Sun and weather can break down the runner, so tires should never be stored outside.
There are a couple of different options to store your spare set of tires and still keep your garage looking great. Choosing the right way to store your tires will help them last longer and perform better once you put them back on your car.
I created this handy cheat sheet below to tell you how to store your tires, whether they’re unmounted or mounted on rims.
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How Do You Store Unmounted Tires?
I buy tires online, so I usually have to store them in my garage temporarily. For years, my first instinct was to stack them on top of each other to save space.
Even though you see it all the time in the auto stores, you should never stack unmounted tires on top of each other.
The rubber in your tires will start to flatten out under any kind of weight – even when you’re sitting in the parking lot. The longer the tires stay in one place, the more this happens.
The sidewall is the weakest part of the tire with the least amount of support. When you stack tires on top of each other, the weight will start to compress the wall of the tire. The combined weight of the tires can crush the sidewall of the tires underneath.
If left too long, you may not be able to mount the tire. Then your $200 tire is nothing but an oversized chew-toy for your dog.
Similarly, you don’t want to hang unmounted tires on the wall or from chains. The point where the tire rests on the hanger will gradually deform over time and the tire will be ruined.
Instead, store your unmounted tires vertically on one of the tire racks below. Manufacturers recommend rotating the tires every month to avoid flat-spotting.
How Do You Store Tires on Rims?
Because the wheel helps support the tire’s sidewall, you store tires differently when they’re already mounted on wheels\rims.
You don’t want to store them vertically on a rack. The weight of the wheel will cause the tire to start developing flat spots faster.
The best way to store tires mounted on rims is to hang them on your garage wall. The wheel will support the weight and it’ll keep your tire in good condition.
Another option is to stack them on top of each other, with the wheels supporting the weight.
Depending on the design of your wheels, it may be necessary to slightly lower the air pressure of the tire. However, don’t lower it below 10 psi. To keep the seal intact, there needs to be a higher pressure inside the tire than in the outside air. Anything less and you run the risk of developing a slow leak.
When cleaning the tires that final time before storage, take the time to clean the wheel as well. Use whatever cleaner works for your wheel’s finish, but be careful not to get any on the tires themselves. If you do slip up, wipe it off with regular soap and water.
Is It Bad To Store Tries Outside?
You should never store tires outside.
The temperature of a tire sitting in the sun can easily reach 135° degrees Fahrenheit. There’s no danger of the tire melting, but storing your tires outside in the sun will shorten their lifespan.
The bigger problem is the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
That’s right. The same thing that gives us sunburns is bad for your tires too.
Tires have coatings to help them expand and contract in varying temperatures. The UV rays of the sun can dry out the tires and make them weaker.
Once that happens, you’ll start to see small cracks on the tires, like in the picture above. If not caught quickly, the dry rot becomes a serious safety concern. It may even cause the tire to blowout at highway speeds and shred completely off the wheel. (source)
It’s best to store your tires in a climate controlled garage or storage area. However anywhere indoors is better than sitting unprotected and exposed to the elements.
Keep Your Tires Cool & Dry In Storage
Speaking of a climate controlled area, you should always keep your tires as cool as possible, but never anywhere it can freeze.
Rubber expands and contracts with changes in temperature. Each time it goes through that expand\contract cycle, there are chances that small cracks will form and break down the integrity of the tire.
If the tires see regular use, the oils in the rubber will disperse and help prevent any damage. If the tires are sitting in the same place, they never get the chance.
Ideally you’ll store tires in an airtight bag, but that’s not always practical. You don’t want anything that we keep on a shelf in the garage to spill on your tires (motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizer, paint, etc.).
Things To Avoid
Never use tire dressings
You should never use a petroleum-based dressing on your tires, even the ones on your car. Petroleum helps to break down the natural protection in the rubber and shorten their lifespan.
Many companies have moved away from petroleum in their products. But if you’re storing your tires for any length of time, a simple soap and water cleaning is all you need.
Do Not Store Tires Near Electric Motors
Almost everything has an electric motor of some sort. Many of those produce ozone as a byproduct.
Air filters and ionizing air purifiers are some of the biggest culprits.
Not only is ozone a lung irritant, but it will also break down the rubber in your tires. Keep your tires as far away from electric motors as possible. (source)
Should You Clean Tires Before Storage: Yes, and this just makes sense, right? Before you put your winter tires away for the spring, you’ll want to clean off any salt or road grime that’s accumulated. Use a gentle soap and water solution only, not any tire shine or other dressings. More on that later on.
How long can you store tires in the garage? Like anything else, tires have a life span. Even storing your tires correctly, they will eventually break down and become unsafe to put back on your car. Tires have a theoretical lifespan of around ten years when stored in perfect conditions – climate controlled, dark, vacuum sealed bags. For those of us that don’t live in a lab environment, six years is more realistic.
Do tires give off toxic fumes? The creation of rubber does involve dozens of toxic chemicals (including carbon disulphide). Oddly enough, there have been no significant studies since 1988 on exposure to fumes from rubber. That study (link to CDC.gov) did find an increase in heart disease, but couldn’t directly link it to exposure to fumes.
How do you keep tires from dry rotting? Dry-rotting is caused when the rubber compound starts to degrade. The best way to keep tires from dry-rotting is to keep them in an air-tight plastic bag and out of the sun’s harmful UV rays. I’ve said a couple of times before, but it’s worth repeating here: never use petroleum based tire dressings before you store your tires.
Best Ways to Store Tires In Your Garage
Even though I don’t personally have a need to store an extra set of tires, I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the best ways to store tires in the garage.
Best Way To Store Mounted Tires: FibreHead FH-4WH Wheel Hangers
If you want to store tires mounted on wheels, then putting them on wall posts is the best way to do it.
FibreHead makes hands-down the best wall mount for wheels and tires that’s still available. They’re made of heavy gauge, powder-coated steel and can hold up to 120 lbs each.
You can find similar hangers on Amazon, or even use some garage wall storage systems in a pinch. However they’re not as sturdy and can only hold half as much.
The one complaint I have is that the finish is more industrial than I’d like. Griot’s Garage used to make a similar product, that hasn’t been available for quite some time.
Cost: Around $50 each
Best Tire Rack For Unmounted Tires: SafeRacks Tire Rack
For storing unmounted tires, I recommend SafeRacks tire rack.
SafeRacks is a veteran-owned company based in California that makes a lot of different storage solutions. They made their name on overhead storage but they also make my favorite tire rack as well.
Made of a 12-gauge tubular steel frame, this rack can extend up to 56″ in width and can hold up to 400 lbs.
What I love about the SafeRacks tire rack is the design. Most of the tire racks you’ll find are basic, light gauge steel with maybe a coat of red paint to set them apart. This has custom designed brackets and contrasting bars that really look amazing.
No matter how you’ve designed your dream garage, the SafeRacks tire rack will fit right in.
Best Tire Dolly: John Dow Tire Taxi\Tire Taxi HD
If you don’t have the space for a tire rack, or don’t need to store tires in your garage very often, then a tire dolly may be the solution.
There are several different tire dollies on the market, and to be honest, most are fairly similar. The designs usually have four rolling casters, one of which will lock. There are holes to make it easier to secure tie-down straps.
What makes John Dow’s Tire Taxi special is that there are two of them.
The standard Tire Taxi (right) is designed for passenger vehicle tires and can support up to 265 lbs.. If you have a truck or off road vehicle, then you’ll want to spring for the Tire Taxi HD (left).
The Tire Taxi HD is bigger and sports a weight capacity of 552 lbs.
I’ll admit that neither John Dow Tire Taxi nor the Tire Taxi HD are the cheapest option. Far from it actually. But they’re designed for professional use, so they’re more durable than some of the cheaper options.
If you only need a tire dolly occasionally, then this is probably overkill. Instead go with the MaxxHaul 80746 to save some money. But if you want something that will last a long time and take a lot of abuse, then the John Dow Tire Taxi is the way to go.