How Long do Tires Last in Storage

How Long Do Tires Last in Storage? (and when to replace)

Many drivers keep two sets of tires, whether it is for changing seasons or simply to have a spare set on hand. Some people make the mistake of believing that you can store tires indefinitely and that they’ll perform as normal when installed. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Today, I’ll answer the question: how long do tires last in storage?

Tires will degrade over time regardless of how often you use them and your storage method. However, knowing how to properly store tires can help you get more longevity or ensure you get the maximum lifespan from them.

Keep reading to find out important information about storing tires so that they last as long as possible. This information will save you some money over the longer term.

How Long do Tires Last in Storage? (Answered)

Tires in storage will last around five to six years, which is also the maximum time they can last when they’re mounted on a vehicle (if you remove the wear and tear of driving). As the tire ages, there is increasing deterioration of the rubber compound. While some better quality tires will last longer than others, all tires will eventually degrade over time. When the rubber compound deteriorates, it becomes hard and is at much greater risk of cracking. You’re also much more likely to end up with potentially dangerous issues such as hydroplaning and catastrophic blowouts.

How Long Tires Last in Storage

How Old Can Tires Be and Still Be Safe?

Once your tire is over five years old, it’s time to consider swapping it for a new one. This happens even if a tire is in storage.

Even when new, tires leak air constantly. The leakage is extremely slow at first thanks to the quality of the rubber compound.

However, as the compound degrades over time, more air is able to leave the tire.

Furthermore, the rubber compound is very sensitive to cold and hot temperatures.

Oxygen is the number one cause of rubber degradation on tires and exposure to oxygen increases during more extreme temperatures.

Whether your tire is stored away or in use daily on your vehicle, it has a finite lifespan and will eventually become unusable.

Unused Tires Will Still Expire

So, what about tires that have never been used? For example, a spare tire in the trunk of your car that you’ve never needed to install?

Maybe you think that since the tire still has a deep tread, that you can use it. But unfortunately, you’d be wrong!

This tire will still have been exposed to rubber compound degradation. In other words, it’s not safe to use.

Old Tires in Storage

While unused tire will last longer than a tire you actually have on your car, they’ll still eventually expire and need to be replaced.

You should get rid of any unused tires that are six years old at the oldest.

Where Is the Best Place to Store Tires?

You’re probably thinking there is simply nothing you can do. Your tires are going to deteriorate no matter what, whether they are stored or not, never used, or installed on your vehicle.

But in fact, there are several things you can do to extend the longevity of your tires as much as possible.

Look, you’re going to need to change tires after six years no matter the scenario.

However, in most cases motorists need to swap their tires more frequently. When tires are installed on your vehicle, the usage will wear down your tires more quickly.

For tires that aren’t in use, poor storage is a major reason why they’ll deteriorate more quickly than necessary.

It is incredible how many times I’ve seen tires stored in a yard, with maybe a tarp thrown on for good measure.

Perhaps the owner thinks this is all the protection the tire needs, but when stored outside the rubber compound will degrade at a rapid rate.

With that in mind, what is the safest place to store your tires to ensure they last as long as possible?

You have three options:


A basement is a solid location for your tires because it is relatively easy to temperature control this part of your home.

Needless to say, if your basement is at risk of flooding you should avoid storing your tires there.

If you’re concerned about fumes from the tire rubber compound impacting your health, storing them in airtight bags is a safe option.


My go-to option for at-home storage of tires is a workshop or shed. It will need to be climate controlled to avoid any drastic swings in temperature.

Storage Unit

If you already rent a storage unit, this could be a decent place to store your tires.

Ask the storage complex manager if you are able to store tires and how you can store them safely.

Should You Stand, Stack, or Hang Tires in Storage?

Now you know you need a temperature-controlled place to store your tires. But what about how to store them? Should you stand, stack, or hang your tires in storage?

Tires Stored in a Garage or Shed

Here are the options again:

Stand the Tires Up

You can stand your tires upright in storage. In fact, this is the storage solution I recommend. Standing is usually the best option because your tires will be under less stress.

Stack the Tires

You can stack the tires side down. Stacking is a decent solution but make sure you don’t stack too many tires on top of each other.

Hang the Tires

You can hang the tires (on a rock or hooks). Hanging is also a solid option, but only if the tire is mounted on a rim.

If your tires are mounted on the wheel, stacking them is the best storage option.

How to Store Tires (checklist)

While the rubber on your tires will degrade over time, proper storage helps you get the maximum lifespan from your tires.

This includes preparing your tires for storage with the following care tips.

Clean the Tires

Cleaning the tires before storage removes any dirt or fluids from a season of driving. Even for unused tires, cleaning them takes away any chemical exposure during manufacturing and shipping.

You can clean tires with water and detergent, using a tire brush to work into the treads. If your tires are on wheels, clean them too and ensure everything is completely dry before storing.

Avoid Care Products

You do not need to put any spray or dressing on your tire because the rubber compound is already formulated to avoid environmental damage.

In fact, so-called tire care products can often do more damage than good.

Bag Them

Tires have an excellent chance of reaching their lifespan when stored in an airtight plastic bag.

Whether it is a bag you buy to do the job or something you have lying around the house (like a yard bag), ensure the tire is completely dry before storing.

Try to get as much air as possible from the bag by using a vacuum cleaner. Tire tote bags are not necessary, but it is fine to store your plastic sealed tires in a tote bag.

Avoid Sun and Temperature Swings

Ideally, your tires are in a temperature-controlled space and sealed in airtight plastic bags. You also need to make sure they are not exposed to the sun.

UV rays are a major contributor to tire deterioration. Keeping tires out of direct sunlight or in a tote bag can help keep UV rays off the rubber.

Avoid Exposure to Chemicals

There are several chemicals and elements that contribute to a tire failing. Leading the way is Ozone, which can cause damage quickly to the rubber compound on tires.

Ozone is typically generated from electric motors on appliances like generators, sump pumps, compressors, and furnaces. Avoid storing your tires close to where these motors are in use.

How Much Does It Cost to Store Tires?

One storage option that may be worth considering is a tire dealer or center. A specialist tire location can often provide storage of tires for a fee.

Storing with a mechanic or dealership is ideal because your tires are taken care of by a professional.

Some facilities provide a pick-up and return service, but either way you can expect to spend around $50 – $100 to store tires for six months.

How Long do Tires Last if Not Used?

Unfortunately, storing tires will not get you much beyond the five or six-year lifespan. If you buy another set of tires because of a hot deal and want to keep them, at some point the rubber will degrade no matter how well you store them.

Still, if you drive more than average each year and expect to be swapping out tires after 2-3 years, following the storage tips on this page will keep your tires in prime condition.

Some drivers swap out tires every year, moving from summer to winter tires. Proper storage helps you avoid nasty surprises when you go to install your snow tires this cold season.

Are 10-Year-Old Tires Still Good?

Tire manufacturers, regulators, and technicians all agree that a tire has a lifespan of around five or six years. I agree with this figure, but the reality is you may not get that many years out of your tires.

Much depends on external factors beyond the quality of the rubber. For example, how you drive, vehicle maintenance, how often the tire is used, and how many miles you cover each year.

How Long Tires Can Stay Good In Storage

Most tires have a mileage capacity of between 50,000 and 60,000 miles. This is how long the tire should theoretically run before it starts losing tread.

The average motorist in the U.S. drives between 13,000 and 15,000 miles each year, which means on average tires will last 5-6 years.

What are the Symptoms of Bad Tires?

Rubber compound will deteriorate if left to its own devices, usually within around half a decade. However, other factors play a role in a tire being able to last that long.

I recommend conducting regular checks and maintenance on tires, even if you’re just storing them.

Here are some simple checks you and perform at home.

Penny Test

The good old tire penny test is still a good way to check if your tire tread is deep enough.

Maintaining a tread depth of at least 2/34” is mandatory in many states and the penny test is a simple but effective way to assess your tread.

But remember, a good tread alone isn’t enough to tell you that a tire is safe. The tire may still be too old.

Air Pressure

All vehicles come with a recommended air pressure for tires, so you must buy tires that match this pressure.

Also, checking the air pressure every few weeks is important. Tires that are under or over-inflated are most likely to take damage.


When you see cracks on a tire, this is a sure sign that the rubber compound is stressed and deteriorated.

If you see cracks, it’s definitely time to replace the tire. Cracks can morph into bigger problems, such as tears and an increasing chance of a blowout.

Final Thoughts: How Long Do Tires Last in Storage?

If you have a set of tires in your workshop that have been there for years, it may be time to throw them away. Even if the tread is deep and the tire looks good, there is a strong chance the rubber compound is beyond repair.

Tires last a maximum of around five to six years even when they’re just in storage. Any tire beyond this age needs replacing.

Still, proper storage can help you maximize the lifespan of your spare or winter tires. And when it’s time to shop for new tires, you can now save some cash buy purchasing online. Here are my favorite places to buy tires online when you’re ready to do so.

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