When you think about winter trailer storage, there are many considerations … from its interior to seals and seams to water and faucets and more. It’s easy to overlook tire winterization. But Kenda’s Martin Wheel Division says tires are very important because taking a few minutes to set up your tires for storage may save you valuable time and money later. What’s more, winterization – along with post-storage re-inflation before putting them back in service – could extend tire life.
As Kenda’s North American distribution arm for tires, wheels and assemblies, Martin Wheel has a few tire winterization best practice reminders, whether storing for the short-term or the long:
- Visually inspect the tires before putting them into storage and again when getting the trailer out of storage before the tires are back on the road. Look for any irregularities and differences or foreign materials in the tread that should be removed such as stones or other types of debris.
- Store the trailer in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight if possible.
- If storing the trailer outdoors, place a surface barrier like a thin piece of wood or metal under the tires to separate them from the ground. This will help protect the tires from the elements while stationary over long periods of time. It also will help them not to sink with the weight of the trailer as the ground freezes and thaws.
- If possible, lift the stored trailer up off the ground to take the load off the tires. Jack stands, or lightweight trailer axle lift blocks, are great for this task.
- Cover tires to reduce exposure to sunlight and ozone. White coverings will reflect the sun and keep the tires cooler than darker covers. Specially designed tire covers work best for this task, but so can white plastic trash bags.
- Keep in mind that stored tires can lose air pressure and in two ways:
- Temperature: No matter the brand, tires can lose ~3.3% of air pressure per 10°C with temperature changes. (which is about 1.5% per 10°F.) Tires are subject to the “Ideal Gas Law” which simply means that as the temperature changes, so does air pressure within the tire – in other words cold air contracts while warm air expands. So, it’s vital to check tire inflation when the tires are cold prior to use and re-inflate tires to their proper pressure as per the placard on your RV (or your original paperwork) before putting them back into service.
- Sitting static: Tires lose about 3% inflation pressure per month while sitting around inflated and not running (at constant temperature). Again, re-inflate the tires to proper pressures before putting them back into use.
It takes a little extra time and care, but it’s more than worthwhile to include the tires in your trailer winterization program.
Source: Martin Engelhardt, Manager of Materials Dept., Kenda American Technology Center. A chemist and polymer scientist, he is a published author in prestigious journals including Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Journal of Biological Chemistry and Rubber and Plastics News, among others.