The choice of tire racks may seem to be among the most mundane of decisions a tire dealer must make. Nevertheless, proper selection can improve access to tire inventory and also enhance safety, productivity and shop appearance. A variety of sturdy rack, stack or pallet options exist. Boltless racks allow for quick assembly with just a few taps of a rubber mallet. Adjustments can be made with similar ease.
Both passenger and truck tires can be stored and displayed vertically, with 24 to 48 20×7-inch unmounted tires fitting on three or four levels. Single-entry racks attach to a wall for access from one side, while double-entry racks join two units to form an aisle in between.
These steel units are very affordable, with many costing less than $200 for a starter unit that includes two upright rack ends, tie bars and a set of horizontal beams. Add-on units comprised of additional tie bars and beams plus a rack end can easily extend the rack length for more storage. Some desirable features include horizontal beams adjustable at 2-inch or smaller height increments, additional cross bracing, floor anchors and powder-coated finishes. Robust models made with welded 12- and 14-gauge steel can support up to 4,000 lbs. per level, according to one manufacturer.
Gaining in popularity are tire storage pallet systems. These can barrel-stack tires or store tires vertically. One brand includes crossbars to secure up to six standard tires or four large tires in an upright position. A front restraining gate opens as a ramp to let the user roll tires on and off the pallet. Once a pallet has been loaded, the system’s integral forklift picks it up and places it in a vertical storage bay. The pallet lets customers store more tires in less space than conventional tire racks, the manufacturer says, and makes storing and retrieving the tires easier while using less aisle width than a traditional forklift.
A few manufacturers offer an integrated storage solution not only for tires, but also for automotive parts. The goal is to provide quick access, greater storage density and safer, less labor-intensive stock handling. Solutions include bulk storage bins for small parts, muffler and tail pipe hanger racks, racks optimized for car batteries to deliver stock on a first-in, first-out basis, and sloped trays for holding and picking quart bottles of motor oil.
A few manufacturers also offer warehouse planning to determine optimal aisle widths and rack arrangements to store a maximum number of tires per square foot. Sophisticated 3-D modeling can help customers maximize cube utilization in their buildings, and solutions can include mezzanines, cantilever or multi-level storage.
Portable showroom display racks on wheels can perform double-duty for storage and special promotions. Available in all-weather baked enamel or bright zinc-plated finishes, these “merchandisers” roll to convenient locations between service bay doors, on walkways and islands, or on the showroom floor. A variety of swinging or stand-up sign kits complete the package. The bottom line for tire storage solutions: Better space utilization can let dealerships add additional services, thereby increasing their overall sales and profitability.