How Long Can Tires Be Stored Before They Go Bad?

Have you ever wondered how long it really takes tires to age? How many years tires can exist before they become bad and useless?

Well, you may find the answer to this question from the tire tread life information.

However, what about how long they can be in storage before getting bad? Find out in this article.

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How long can tires sit and still be good?

Car tires age over time because of their construction material – rubber compounds. Naturally, rubber degrades as time goes by and that affects the quality of tires.

Most tire manufacturers specify how long you can use a tire before getting a replacement. But what they don’t mention most times is how long they can sit.

Well, one thing for fact is that: stored tires age faster than regularly used ones. Although, there are various factors responsible for that they eventually wear down.

On average, a tire can sit and be good for up to six years. After that time, it becomes totally useless.

Do unused tires go bad?

Unused tires can last forever if stored under the right condition. In the right condition, it means a climate-controlled location or warehouse.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the standard factory-approved warehouse to store tires forever.

At a point in time, certain factors, especially environmentally-induced start initiating the tire aging process.

And according to the British rubber manufacturers association’s recommended practice, unused tires can only be stored for up to ten years. It also recommends spare tires be available in vehicles all the time.

For those on the road, you have to replace them within six years from the date of manufacture.

One more thing to consider to answer this question is: that every tire has its own shelf life and it varies from one manufacturer to another.

Some tires might get really bad almost immediately they are in storage, while some take some time.

Factors that affect tires longevity 

If you keep new tires in storage, you should expect them to become worse after some time. The reason is that certain factors will affect their longevity.

These factors are either based on environmental conditions or storage conditions.

UV light

Ultraviolet light is one of the environmental factors that affect tires in storage.

On exposure to direct sunlight, the tire’s rubber material starts absorbing UV radiation, leading to its deterioration. This process is called photo degradation.

Most tire companies have tried their best to fight UV radiation by destroying the rubber material with a carbon black finish.

So what it does is that it absorbs sunlight, turning it into heat, buying the tire more time until replacement.

However, if the tire becomes exposed to UV light in storage, it won’t even take much time before it deteriorates.

Ozone exposure

Like UV light, Ozone is another external factor that affects the quality of rubber in a tire.

Ozone shares the same effect as Oxygen particles that break rubber on the inside and outside. As a matter of fact, Oxygen initiates an oxidation process that causes the fast aging of tires.

Luckily, tire manufacturers add unique antioxidants to slow this tire aging process down.

Unlike Oxygen, Ozone is found in the troposphere and stratosphere and consists of pollutants that can destroy rubber.

Likewise, some tire brands add special substances into their tires to reduce ozone damage and make sure they can be used longer.

Ozone exposure is also another factor in this category. Tires stored in places with ozone-producing objects like electric motors, and generators can get damaged.

Heat

When heat meets oxygen, a chemical process of thermo-oxidative degradation occurs and is never good even for a rubber band.

That means tires should never be kept in places with hot climates because their structural integrity will become compromised automatically. Anything above 77 F will affect a tire’s tread.

Storage method

The storage method may also affect a tire’s longevity. Ideally, you shouldn’t store tires in hotter climates above 77 F and coastal climates below 32 F.

Likewise, tires mounted or inflated are a sign of poor storage. If you have to store it, it should be in a vertical position on an elevated plane. By doing this, you will put pressure on the tire which could make it go bad faster.

Suppose you can’t have them properly stored in a vertical way because you are trying to conserve space; you can arrange them in piles no more than 6 feet.

Humidity

Humidity is a storage factor that could affect tire quality.

You could have your tire age quickly if it comes in contact with a water body. You can only imagine what happens when there is excess humidity.

What many people don’t realize is that liquids are also capable of producing ozone which could make tire treads break quicker than expected.

Age

Every tire has an expiration date – it is a function of its age. When it is past the expiration date, you can only expect the tire becomes useless.

Tires expire if they’ve spent more than enough time in storage with little consideration to the standard requirements for storing them.

The reason is that the flexible components in the rubber become less potent, causing the tire to crack inside and outside. And as you have the tires older, the tread depth and steel belts get compromised until final expiration.

Most street tires expire after six years from the date of manufacture. However, properly stored types take up to ten years.

Do tires go bad sitting in storage?

Yes, they do. If you don’t store them properly. However, to prevent tire aging quickly, you should consider doing the following:

  • Cleaning before storing
  • Storing in airtight plastic bags
  • Avoid mounting on a loaded vehicle
  • Only hang when mounted
  • Stack them with reference to their colored parts.

How long can tires sit without dry rotting?

The average tread life of most tires is five years from the production date. And six years from the manufacture date, they become no longer safe to use due to the presence of a hidden hazard.

However, under the right conditions, you can have them sit without dry rotting for extended periods.

What Is the Lifespan of Car Tires?

Original tires from vehicle manufacturers have a life expectancy of ten years from the date of manufacture. However, when it hits the road, it doesn’t get more than six years.

To get accurate information about life expectancy, you should check the owner’s manual.

Most vehicle manufacturers ensure to include the owner’s manual to help drivers whenever they are faced with any situation like this.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Tire Life Estimated?

Most tires have their expiration date stated in the owner’s manual. However, you can determine when you would have expired tires from the mileage.

If the tire has 60,000 mileage, then you can only use up to six years before replacing it.

What are the Top Tire Manufacturers In the Industry?

Most tires on the road are from popular brands like Michelin, Bridgestone, Firestone, Cooper, Dunlop, and Continental.

These brands are specifically identified as being the best options for all seasons, all-terrain, summer, and winter tires.

Can Electric Motors Use Regular Tires?

Technically, they can.

Electric vehicles have their own specially designed tires that can withstand heavyweight and guarantee excellent performance.

However, they can also use regular tires but the performance and comfort will be compromised.

Unfortunately, regular vehicles cannot use Ev tires.

Do You Need to Have Vehicle Tires Promptly Inspected?

Yes, you do.

The service life of your tire is so important that even an inspection should be considered.

This maintenance check will help you know if tires should be replaced or still be active on the road.

Final Thoughts

Storing tires goes beyond keeping them in your garage hoping that they would be useful when you need them.

From infrequent use and poor storage, these tires could get bad, even before the expiration date.

To avoid that from happening, ensure to keep them in a good, climate-controlled location and have the tires checked regularly for deterioration. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

Thanks for reading our article! We've written this article with a lot of thought and care. If you're interested in seeing more of our content, please check out our Tires section and find an answer to your questions!

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