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I read somewhere that you should let some air out of your tires (on rims) before storing them. Is this important? Thank you. – Bruce B

Honestly, this was news to me as I have never dropped tire pressures when storing tires. Your question and my ignorance on the subject led me to some intense coffee-fuelled research. I did manage to find a couple of dated tire manufacturer documents suggesting that tires should be stored at 15 pounds per square inch to relax the bead of the tire and reduce oxidation. However, most current articles I found don’t mention anything about tire pressure at all. I’m feeling pretty lucky right now, as I have somehow avoided catastrophic tire wear because of my negligence.

Sarcasm aside, here are tire storage tips I offer to my customers.

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  • Keep out of direct sunlight and if possible, use an opaque bag, removing as much of the air as possible;
  • Clean wheels and tires before storing allowing them to dry before bagging. Do not use any tire dressing products;
  • Keep in a cool, dry location;
  • Storage temperatures should never exceed normal room temperatures;
  • Keep away from any machinery that generates ozone;
  • Store tires vertically whenever possible;
  • Place on a piece of wood.

I have a 2016 Golf R with summer tires. The car has 26,000 kilometres and I use winters. I recently damaged the sidewall of one summer tires. The tires are barely worn, but the dealer says all four must be replaced as the four-wheel drive will fail because of the small overall difference in tire diameter. Can’t I just put a new tire on the rear? I’m not an aggressive driver. – Chris H

Considering your tires are only seasonally used, I would think only minimal tire wear has occurred. An exact measurement is required, but I will guess at a less than two-millimetre tread difference between new to old. For example, a car sporting one new tire, mixed with 50 per cent worn tires wear will have a significant size difference and will travel further per revolution. This extended distance will cause the vehicle’s differential to be constantly compensating and may cause premature wear. Yes, true all-wheel-drive (AWD) cars such as an older Audi Quattro or Subaru should get a complete new set of tires when one tire is damaged and has a notable circumference difference. However, your Golf R is not a true full-time AWD. It uses the Haldex Generation V system, which applies power to the rear wheels when front wheel slippage is detected. While this system still uses a legitimate differential, I have to believe that being uncoupled from the front wheels most of the time lessens the impact. Is one or two millimetres enough of difference? I don’t think so, but the dealer will always play it on the safe side.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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