Many cyclists are interested to know how long the bike tires last? It may be the case that one has bought a spare bike tire and hung it on the wall of his garage, now he wants to know if it will be safe in the garage or not. Or how long will it last in storage if it remains unused?
Well, to your question, “how long do bike tires last in storage” the answer is, “If it is placed under the right environmental and storage conditions, it will last more than 4 to 10 years”. So you see, the lifespan of a tire widely depends on what conditions bike tires are stored in.
In this guide, you will not only know what environmental conditions are suitable for your tires and things that can harm them but also how to properly store your bike tires.
Factors the lifespan of the Bike tires depend on
Tires, which have five years of span, are completely safe on the road. However, if you intend to use a tire older than five years, experts suggest you get them checked every coming year to see any crack or wear issues.
Tires are well functioning up to ten or sometimes even 15 years. However, many factors can cause early deterioration of your bike tires.
The unused tires last for four to ten years, and it all depends on
- Environmental conditions
- Storage Conditions
Various environmental factors affect the lifespan of your bike tires in storage. These include;
- Ultraviolet (UV) light
- Heat damage
We shall discuss all these factors in detail here;
Oxygen is the main reason behind the rubber breakdown. Oxygen breaks the rubber from both inside and outside of the tires. That is the reason why special antioxidants compounds are used in rubber. These antioxidants also slow down the aging process of the rubber.
In any conditions, if the polymer of the tire gets altered by oxygen due to rapid oxidation, this will eventually result in;
- Deterioration of the rubber.
- Material getting more rigid and brittle.
- Occasional molecular scission resulting in softening of rubber.
If the temperature is raised, the oxidation process gets doubled. Therefore, tires are kept in garages where there is low temperature, the polymer of the tire remains healthy. This way it lasts longer.
- Ultraviolet (UV) light
Besides oxidation, the bike tires often get irradiated by UV and sunlight. Direct exposure to sunlight causes the tires to absorb UV light automatically. This is due to the free-radical reactions initiated by these ultraviolet radiations.
This process is the same in all the substances making rubber compounds. However, manufacturers have found the solution to this problem in Carbon Black, which absorbs light and transforms it to heat. Thus, Carbon Black increases the span of the tires this way.
However, like every material, with time this shield of Carbon Black loses its ability to stabilize UV rays, exposing the tires to these deteriorating UV rays.
If the bike tires are improperly stored outside, the unprotected rubber will take about two weeks to get Ozone cracked.
Although the ozone concentration is very low in the environment, it is still very harmful to elastomers – that are used widely for tire manufacturing.
Ozone forms cracks on the surface of the tire. These cracks may also go inside the material, causing the new material to go under further attack.
Ozone cracking potentially destroys the sidewalls of the bike tires. Therefore, you must carefully hang your bike tires inside the garage with little sun exposure and ambient temperature to keep your tires for a longer period.
- Heat damage
At high temperatures, rubber undergoes profound changes when in storage. When combined with oxygen, the increased heat causes thermo-oxidative degradation, which means the rubber aging process is accelerated.
In places with hotter climates, the tires last for less time. They fail pretty early, no matter if they are used or new.
Many storage conditions also affect the lifespan of bike tires. These conditions are;
- Temperature and light
- Ozone exposure
- Temperature and Light
People will advise you to store your bike tires in a relatively cooler place, a place where the temperature is not more than 77 F, and the down temperature is not less than 32 F.
The storage place should not have direct exposure to sunlight or artificial light since both can cause UV rays.
The storage room should not have a water source, as it creates moisture or humidity on the surface. If the tires get exposed to moisture or humidity, their lifespan gets shortened.
Liquids are the potential sources of ozone which is fatal for the rubber.
Ensure that the storage place is dry enough and there is no water source nearby, which causes humidity.
- Ozone Exposure
The storage place should not have any equipment that is producing ozone. These ozone-producing pieces of equipment include electric motors, fluorescent lamps, generators, etc.
Things that can make electric discharges should not be placed in the storage room. This is because when there is excess ozone in the atmosphere of the storage place, it may cause cracking of the rubber when the pressure is applied.
Tires should be stored vertically on a slightly elevated surface. The least amount of pressure is applied to the tire in this position. If the storage room is out of space, make sure you are not placing the tire higher than 6 feet.
In this way, there’s no unnecessary stress that is put on the sidewalls of the bottom tire. Wrenched tires will not retrieve their form when pressurized.
3 Best Tips to Store Bike Tires
Properly storing your bike tires undoubtedly increases the lifespan of your tires and keeps them safe.
These three tips will help you do so.
1. Prepare bike tires for storage.
Go through these steps to make sure that your tires are ready for storage;
- Thoroughly clean your bike tires before storing them. Ensure all the dirt and gravel are appropriately washed, and nothing is stuck in the tread.
- Carefully inspect your bike to see if any crack or wear is visible.
- Make sure the tires are completely dry.
- Try to wrap the tires in an airtight plastic bag. This will protect tires from UV rays and humidity as well.
2. Selective methods of storing bike tires
Professionals approach different methods of storing bike tires. You can go either way;
Stacking bike tires
Laying bike tires facedown on their side and separating them with cardboard sheets is enough.
However, this may put pressure on the tires if left for months.
For a tire with a fiber bead, you have to unfold it. However, professionals demonstrate that re-folding your tires at the end of a season is perfectly fine.
However, folding a tire will cause the rubber to weaken over time. Therefore, it will not be ideal for a lengthy period.
Hanging Bike tires
Hanging your bike tires on the rim is the best storage approach as it will help eliminate stress and maintain their shape.
3. Adding Protectant before storing your bike tires
Many professionals apply 303 Protectant before hanging their bike tires on rims. They do so even before stacking them flat and unmounted.
However, many instruct that cyclists shouldn’t use any chemicals when cleaning or storing their tires.
When the rubber age is completed, the tire may stop working properly. Also, stored tires stay for a limited amount of time. This is because when they are used, they get greased regularly. And this greasing is good for the tires.
However, you can easily use the tires even if they’re ten years old. Many cyclists are even using bike tires that are 15 years old. These tires are working fine.
But, it is recommended not to use a tire older than ten years. We hope this article answers your question of how long do bike tires last.