Tyres age over time so, even when not in use, the vital properties inherent in the materials and compounds used can fade. This can result in noticeable changes in performance.
This also means that, when storing tyres, you should seek to limit this deterioration is much as possible. This is achieved through various tyre storage conditions, such as the climate. Of course, you cannot preserve a tyre for ever. Once in use, various factors, such as the speed, load, pressure and tension all contribute alongside general wear and tear. As such, it’s often impossible to accurately predict a given tyre’s lifetime.
However, correct tyre storage will offer the slowest amount of decline in your tyre’s condition - if it’s done right. This works for both winter tyre storage options and storing your summer products.
The tyre’s DOT code, found on the tyre’s sidewall.
Before going into more detail, it’s worth noting the tyre age of your products. Older tyres will have already started losing their properties. You can find the tyre date (in DOT form) along the sidewall.
Professional Tyre Storage Conditions
As an example of ideal tyre storage, let’s look at how we look after Michelin tyres. We store Michelin tyres for up to three years after they are manufactured, according to strictly defined storage methods and conditions, regarding the likes of temperature, humidity and lighting.
Tyre storage is a high priority in warehouses, but you should also take care of them at home as well.
Michelin guarantees that tyres sent to distributors like Oponeo are full value products that ensure their full performance potential after they are installed. To maintain this, Michelin provides distributors with detailed instructions on storage methods and conditions.
Ultimately, the physical and chemical changes in tyres mainly occur through their use, with the common causes being internal heating and tension. The latter is the result of inflation, load, deformation and impacts, none of which can occur when in storage.
The First Three Years Of Storage
Tests conducted by Michelin, as well as other tyre testing organisations, such as ADAC, have shown that no changes occur during the first three years new tyres are stored. This initial storage does not change their durability, wet handling or their ability to cope in snow.
In comparison, we can also look at the speed of the aging process for stored and used tyres, as originally published in “Tire Science and Technology”. The journal concluded that, considering all aging processes caused by temperature, the process that occurs in a tyre, driving in standard conditions for 11,800 miles (19,000 km) , over one year, equals the same degree of aging as a tyre stored for over 17 years!
The vast majority of the aging process happens on the car, not during storage
Furthermore, to explain this more simply, a tyre used for 3 weeks ages as much as a tyre stored for 1 whole year. A tyre used for just one week, but under inflated by 35%, ages as much as a tyre after 1 year of storage. It’s clear then, that users should be well informed of ideal storage conditions, as products age mostly on the car, not on the tyre storage rack!
Long Term Storage
Due to different usage conditions, such as tyre loads, speeds, changes in pressure, road surfaces, impacts, potholes and other forms of damage, Michelin recommends that you have a specialist inspect your tyres every year.
It is also recommended that you do not use tyres that are older than a year in age, regardless of their tread depth. No matter how well they were stored, such tyres will naturally start to lose their key properties.
To sum up, it really doesn’t matter if your tyres are one, two or three years old. These tyres can still be considered new and, as long as you store them correctly, they will serve you well.