Seasonal Tire Storage Tips
Every year in Victoria, when the rain turns to snow and the snow turns to ice, do you find yourself always asking yourself the same questions?
- Are my car’s all-season tires going to be enough to get me through another year of winter-driving?
- Will the weather even get bad enough to warrant two types of tires this year?
- Do I even need to worry about it?
Answering these questions is an internal debate many Victoria drivers wrestle with at this time of year.
Given the price of floating two types of tires for your vehicle, it’s only natural to ask yourself these questions at some point. We get asked the same questions at the shop a lot, too. The somewhat good news is that provincial driving laws have taken a lot of the guesswork out of these sorts of driving decisions, and actually mandate the use of winter tires on many routes across the province.
The long and short of it is, if you’re not planning on leaving the Greater Victoria area, you’re probably able to get by on all-season tires, but any trip north of the Malahat is going to require the use of winter tires between October 1 and March 31. (Click here to check out which roads in BC require winter tires)
So what qualifies as winter tires? In British Columbia, any tires that have the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol, and/or the M+S symbol (for mud and snow), are considered suitable. For added efficiency, make sure the tread is at least 3.5 millimeters deep and the tires are properly inflated at all times.
A lot of folks get by with using M+S tires year-round in our mild, wet climate, but having two sets of tires is recommended if you can swing it, especially if you plan on owning the same vehicle for many years to come. You’ll get twice as much longevity out of each set, which financially balances out in the long run.
At Searles, we know making the switch from summer to winter tires can be a hassle, especially when it comes to storing each set of tires when they’re not in use. If you are already rockin’ two sets of tires, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to storing your spare set.
6 Tips to Tire Storage
Only store clean tires. You’ll thank yourself in just a few short months. This doesn’t require any special technique, just clean the tires and rims as you would any other day of the week. Then make sure they are completely dry, and don’t add any fancy coatings. (Who dresses up just to hang out in a garage, anyway?)
- Upright or stacked? If you’ll be storing tires without rims, keep them standing upright, as this will put less stress on them. Tires already mounted on rims should be stacked. Hanging from hooks is another great option for tires with rims, just don’t hang bare tires on hooks by themselves! Think of the last time you picked off a shirt that was hanging on a hanger for months on end. It had crippled shoulders, didn’t it?
- Protect from sun damage. Just like UV rays and too much heat damages our skin, both of these environmental elements can wreak havoc on our tires by causing the rubber to deteriorate and eventually crack or split.
- Ozone is a no-go zone: Another environmental element to look out for is ozone, a by-product of certain types of machinery like electric motors, central vacuums and heat pumps. This off-gas, which in high doses is used to disinfect large rooms, can damage tires if left unchecked, so just be on the lookout.
- Keep ‘em air-tight. For ultimate protection, store tires in plastic bags (lawn and garden bags are fine). Doing so will prevent the oil of the tire’s compounds from drying out. Kind of like how those Ziploc freezer bags are protecting the summer’s haul of awesome fish from getting freezer burn. There are special tire totes available for this purpose, but they aren’t air-tight like plastic is. It’s your call, and your needs will depend on where you’ll be storing your tires, and how long they’ll be stowed away.
- Keep ‘em cool. Just like storing countless other things around the home, such as medications, kitchen spices and a prized comic book collection, choose a cool, dry place to store your tires, such as a basement that is already being heated with the rest of your home, or a climate-controlled garage/man cave—just don’t make a work bench out of your tires, or they might not last another season.
The Searles Tire Storage Advantage
The tire storage advice above is suitable for anyone with a large property and a spacious garage, but this is not always the case in Victoria. That’s why Searles is proud to offer our new Tire Storage Service. Let us store your spare set of bulky, summer or winter tires for you – after we’ve given them a good scrubbin’ on your behalf.
But that’s not even the best part! When you store your car or truck’s tires at your local auto mechanic’s shop, your tires will already be at the shop when it comes time to make the switch for the season. This means you won’t have to load them in and out of your vehicle twice a year. Plus, you’ll get semi-annual reminders from us when our records show it’s time for you to make the switch.
We’ll also be keeping a close eye on your tires, making sure they have the right tread and are inflated properly. In other words, our new Tire Storage Service resolves the annual debate of should I? or shouldn’t I? when it comes to choosing your winter tires. With our value-priced Tire Storage Service, you won’t have to think about winter tires again.