Those of you who are my regular readers, will have seen my article on the benefits of fitting winter tyres to your cars for six months, normally running from October until March (or longer if long-range weather forecasts predict temperatures of below +7°C or +45°F).
Fitting winter tyres obviously requires the removal and storage of the summer tyres.
If you have decided to invest in a set of winter tyres fitted to steel wheel rims, then you will need to store the tyres until you need to refit them at a later date.
Those of you that decide to just invest in the tyres, and have them fitted to your existing rims will require the services of a tyre dealer. The fitters will remove the summer tyres, and fit the winter tyres to your existing wheel rims.
You will then need to take the summer tyres back to the location where you intend to store them. This is OK if your vehicle has a large load deck, but may be more of a challenge if you operate a small hatchback, or city car.
Alternatively, many tyre dealers have recognised a sales opportunity, and will store the tyres for you. Merit Tyres, for example operate a “Tyre Hotel” and ATS Tyres offer the same service. ATS charges £8.00 per tyre per season, so that will be an additional cost of £64.00 annually. There will also be a fitting cost to cover the switchover of each tyre, and when I had a verbal quote for doing this three years ago, it was about £20.00 per wheel, so another £160.00 per year.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that this is an extra £224.00 per year!
So, buying the winter tyres ready-fitted on the rims, as I did, (October 2018, 4 X Continental Winter tyres, fitted to steel rims, 205/55 R16 91H at £515.00) they would pay for themselves in under two and a half years.
I ordered them from eBay, and they arrived fully inflated, and fitted with the tyre pressure indication system modules, and were already balanced. All I had to do was fit them!
It makes a lot of sense, if you have the space to store the tyres or wheel/tyre combinations yourself.
I am fortunate that I have a garage, but even a sturdy and secure garden shed would be all that’s needed.
There are a few things that you need to know before storing your tyres.
Firstly, you need to remember that tyres are made from both synthetic and natural products, so they will be affected by a number of factors.
Temperature, humidity and light are probably the primary factors to consider when finding a place to store your tyres.
Ideally, the temperature should stable, and less than +25°C (77°F) and preferably below +15°C (59°F) and the light levels should be low or, better still, dark. Humidity should be as low as possible, so damp areas should be avoided.
Unless you are very wealthy, and have an air conditioned or climate-controlled garage, it will not be possible to completely eradicate temperature variations, but do the best you can.
Before storing your tyres away, you should wash them, and brush away any residues of grit, dirt, and brake dust. Dry them with a cloth, and allow them to air dry completely.
I also use the opportunity to carefully inspect the inner and outer sidewalls, and remove any flints or stones from the tyre treads.
There is no need to apply any proprietary dressings to the sidewalls.
Place each tyre or tyre/wheel combination inside a large black plastic refuse bag. Try and remove as much air as possible from the bag, possibly using a vacuum cleaner, and then seal it tightly with tape.
Clear a suitable area in which to place the tyres. Unmounted tyres should preferably be stored upright, and if that isn’t possible, then stacked on their sides. This isn’t ideal, and care should be taken to ensure that the tyres aren’t being deformed, and that the stack isn’t tipping. You need to avoid tyres dropping onto the floor from heights above 1.5 metres. This will prevent damage the tyre bead. Should the bead be damaged, it may prevent the tyre from being seated correctly.
Tyres mounted on rims should ideally be stacked. If floor space is limited, then tyres on rims may be hung from suitably mounted hooks. Unmounted tyres should never be hung from hooks as this will deform the tyre.
Other factors to consider, is that the tyre will be extremely susceptible to damage from ozone. Ozone is generated by electrical motors, and therefore, tyres must not be located near to electrical equipment in your garage or workshop.
So, items such as generators, compressors, bench saws, grinders, drills and routers should not be used near to the tyres on a regular basis.
You should also aim to keep tyres away from solvents, oils, chemicals and fuels as these may denature the rubber composites used in the tyre’s construction.
Doing these simple things when you store your summer/winter tyres will ensure that your tyres remain in good condition, and help to extend their useful working life.
They will also keep you safer.
Remember, that whilst tanking along at 70 MPH, your car is sitting on four patches of rubber that each measure about the size of your hand.
This is known as the “Contact Patch” and varies in size according to the air pressure inside the tyre, and the load that the tyre is carrying. It may be as little as 36 square inches. Not a lot is it?
When you refit your wheels, you should ensure that the wheel studs are tightened to the correct torque, and that you have inflated them to the correct pressure.
So, correct storage, and correct fitting and inflation will help you to stay safe on the highways, whether it’s the middle of summer, or the depths of winter.
Further information from Continental Tyres
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