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How to store winter tyres in off-season?

As the cold winter months come to an end and the warmer seasons approach, it’s important to properly store your winter tyres. Whether you swap them for summer tyres or they are not needed for a while, taking the time to store them correctly will help preserve their performance and extend their lifespan. In this article, we will guide you through the process of storing winter tyres efficiently during the off-season.

1. Clean and inspect your winter tyres

Before storing your winter tyres, make sure to clean them thoroughly. Remove any dirt, debris, or salt that may have accumulated during usage. Using a gentle detergent and water, scrub the surface of the tyres with a sponge or soft brush. Ensure they are completely dry before proceeding.

Tip: Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents as they can damage the rubber.

2. Check tyre pressure

It’s important to check the tyre pressure before storing them. Over time, tyres may lose air, so it’s essential to maintain the recommended pressure levels to prevent sidewall cracking or distortion. Refer to your vehicle’s manual or consult with a professional for the correct pressure specifications.

Properly inflated tyres will also help maintain their shape and prevent flat spots.

3. Find a suitable storage location

Choose an appropriate storage location for your winter tyres. Ideally, they should be kept in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Consider using tyre storage bags to protect them from dust and moisture.

4. Store them properly

When storing your winter tyres, it’s best to keep them stacked horizontally or vertically. If stacking vertically, use a tyre rack or a sturdy platform to prevent them from toppling over. Avoid hanging them from hooks or nails, as it can cause strain and deformation.

5. Maintain tyre rotation

If you have multiple sets of winter tyres, it’s advisable to rotate them periodically during storage. This helps distribute the weight evenly and prevents flat spots from forming. A simple rotation every few weeks should suffice.

6. Keep track of the storage duration

It is essential to keep track of the time your winter tyres spend in storage. Tyres have a lifespan, and excessive storage without usage can lead to deterioration. If your winter tyres are more than six years old, it might be worth considering replacement, regardless of their condition.

Is it bad to use winter tires in summer?

When it comes to using winter tires in the summer, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks and risks involved. While winter tires are specifically designed for cold weather conditions, using them in the summer can have negative effects on both your vehicle’s performance and safety.

1. Reduced Traction:

Winter tires are constructed with a softer rubber compound and a tread pattern that is optimized for gripping icy and snowy surfaces. In hot summer temperatures, this softer rubber can wear down quickly, leading to reduced traction on dry roads. The tread pattern may also not be suitable for warm weather, resulting in compromised handling and longer braking distances.

2. Increased Heat Build-up:

The softer rubber of winter tires generates more heat during summer driving. This excessive heat buildup can cause the tires to deteriorate faster, leading to reduced lifespan and potential blowouts. It’s important to note that using winter tires in high temperatures can also impact fuel efficiency and increase rolling resistance.

3. Handling and Stability Concerns:

Winter tires have different handling characteristics compared to all-season or summer tires. They are designed to provide better grip and control in cold weather conditions. When used in the summer, the softer rubber and specific tread pattern can result in decreased stability, less responsive steering, and reduced overall handling performance.

4. Potential Illegalities:

In some countries, including the UK, it may be illegal to drive with winter tires during certain times of the year, especially when road conditions do not warrant their use. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with local regulations and ensure compliance to avoid penalties or invalidation of insurance coverage.

5. The Importance of Proper Tire Maintenance:

Regardless of the season, it’s essential to maintain your tires properly. This includes checking tire pressure regularly, ensuring even wear, and rotating them as recommended by the manufacturer. If you’re switching between winter and summer tires, it’s advisable to store the unused set in a suitable location to prevent degradation.

Remember, using the correct tires for each season is crucial for optimum performance, safety, and longevity of your vehicle.

In Summary:

While it may be tempting to continue using your winter tires throughout the year, it is generally not recommended due to the potential risks involved. Reduced traction, increased heat build-up, handling concerns, legalities, and improper tire maintenance can all contribute to compromised safety and performance. It’s best to switch to appropriate summer or all-season tires for optimal driving experience in warmer months.

How to Maintain Winter Tires When Not in Use?

Winter tires are essential for safe driving during the cold and icy months. However, once the winter season is over, it’s important to properly maintain and store them to ensure their longevity and effectiveness when they are needed again. Here are some tips on how to maintain winter tires when not in use:

Clean the Tires Thoroughly

Before storing your winter tires, make sure to clean them thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, or salt residue that may have accumulated during use. Using a mild detergent and water, scrub the tires gently with a soft brush. Rinse them off and allow them to dry completely before storage.

Inspect for Damage

While cleaning the tires, take the opportunity to inspect them for any signs of damage such as cuts, bulges, or uneven wear. If you notice any issues, it’s best to have them inspected by a professional before storing them.

Properly Inflate the Tires

One crucial aspect of tire maintenance is maintaining proper inflation. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires can lead to uneven wear and reduced performance. Before storing your winter tires, ensure that they are inflated to the recommended psi levels specified by the manufacturer.

Store the Tires in a Cool, Dry Place

When it comes to storing winter tires, it’s important to keep them away from sources of heat, direct sunlight, and moisture. Ideally, they should be stored in a cool, dry place with consistent temperature and humidity levels. Consider using tire storage bags or covers to protect them from dust and UV rays.

Rotate Tires Regularly

To prevent flat spots and uneven wear, it’s advisable to rotate your stored winter tires every couple of months. This will help maintain their shape and ensure they are ready for use when winter comes around again.

Keep Tires Elevated

When storing your winter tires, it’s recommended to keep them elevated off the ground. This can be done using either a tire rack or by stacking them on pallets. Keeping them elevated helps prevent any moisture or condensation that may accumulate on the ground from affecting the tires.

Monitor Tire Pressure

Even when not in use, it’s important to periodically check the tire pressure to ensure they remain properly inflated. Fluctuations in temperature can affect tire pressure, so it’s a good practice to check them every month or so throughout their storage period.


Maintaining winter tires when not in use is crucial for their longevity and effectiveness. Clean them thoroughly, inspect for damage, and store them in a cool, dry place. Rotate the tires regularly and keep them elevated off the ground. Monitor tire pressure to ensure they remain properly inflated.

By following these maintenance tips, you can extend the lifespan of your winter tires and ensure they are in optimal condition when the next winter season arrives.

Do Winter Tires Degrade If Not Used?

Winter tires are specifically designed to provide better traction and handling in cold weather conditions, including snow and ice. However, if winter tires are not used during the warmer months, they can still degrade over time.

Factors that contribute to winter tire degradation:

  1. Temperature fluctuations: Extreme temperature changes, such as alternating between freezing temperatures and warmer climates, can cause the rubber compounds in winter tires to deteriorate.
  2. UV radiation: Exposure to sunlight and UV rays can accelerate the aging process of the tire’s rubber, leading to cracking and reduced performance.
  3. Moisture and humidity: Moisture can penetrate the tire’s surface and cause corrosion on the metal components, which can weaken the overall structure of the tire.
  4. Tire pressure: Leaving winter tires unused for an extended period can result in gradual loss of air pressure, which can lead to sidewall damage and affect their performance.

How to minimize winter tire degradation:

While winter tires may degrade over time, there are steps you can take to minimize this degradation:

  1. Store your winter tires in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to minimize exposure to UV radiation.
  2. Regularly check the tire pressure and inflate them to the recommended levels to avoid sidewall damage.
  3. Consider using tire covers or bags to protect the tires from moisture and humidity during storage.

“Regularly check the tire pressure and inflate them to the recommended levels to avoid sidewall damage.”

It is also worth noting that winter tires have a limited lifespan even with proper storage. On average, winter tires should be replaced every six years or as advised by the manufacturer.


Winter tires can degrade over time if not used, primarily due to temperature fluctuations, UV radiation, moisture, and improper tire pressure. To minimize degradation, it is important to store them properly and regularly check their tire pressure. While winter tires have a limited lifespan, they still provide enhanced safety and performance during colder weather conditions.

Can I leave winter tires on all year?

When it comes to the safety and performance of your car, choosing the right tires is crucial. In the UK, with its mild climate, many people wonder if they can leave their winter tires on all year. Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding winter tires

Winter tires, also known as snow tires, are designed specifically for cold weather conditions. They have a different tread pattern and rubber compound that provides better traction on icy and snowy roads. However, these tires are not ideal for year-round use in the UK due to the relatively mild winters.

The drawbacks of leaving winter tires on all year

Leaving winter tires on your vehicle throughout the year can result in several issues:

  • Reduced performance: Winter tires are optimized for cold weather conditions, which means they may not perform as well in warmer temperatures. The softer rubber compound can wear out faster, affecting handling and fuel efficiency.
  • Noise and comfort: The aggressive tread pattern of winter tires can generate more noise and decrease ride comfort compared to all-season or summer tires.
  • Increased wear: As winter tires are not designed for warm weather, they may wear out more quickly when used year-round. This can lead to increased costs for replacing tires more frequently.

The importance of proper tire maintenance

To ensure the longevity and performance of your tires, it is essential to follow proper maintenance practices. Regularly check tire pressure, rotate your tires, and perform wheel alignments as recommended by the manufacturer. This will help maximize the lifespan of your tires and ensure optimal performance throughout the year.

“Leaving winter tires on all year can compromise safety and decrease the lifespan of your tires.”

If you want to avoid the hassle of changing tires twice a year, all-season tires can be a suitable alternative. They provide a balance of performance in different weather conditions, including light snowfall. However, they may not offer the same level of traction and grip as dedicated winter tires in severe winter weather.


While it may be tempting to leave your winter tires on all year in the UK, it is not recommended. Winter tires are designed for cold weather conditions and may not perform optimally in warmer temperatures. Additionally, leaving them on year-round can result in increased wear, reduced performance, and decreased comfort.

Investing in a set of all-season tires or switching between winter and summer tires seasonally will provide the best performance, safety, and longevity for your vehicle.