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With winter approaching up here in Canada, I was wondering what steps if any I should take before storing my tubeless bike for winter. I store my bikes in my non-insulated (house attached) garage, so it gets pretty cold in there. Is there any maintenance I should be doing before letting it sit for a few months, regardless of temperature? Should I remove any extra sealant and refill in the spring?

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  • Good question. Stan's sealant is rated to work down to -20F/-29C. I'd expect it's possible that even if it freezes solid, a sealant may be OK once thawed. The thing is I am not sure if it's definitely fine; we know that milk changes its texture irreversibly after defrosting. In case its relevant, what is the minimum temperature you'd expect?
    – Weiwen Ng
    Oct 22 at 15:08
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    Rule #1: Hang the bike somehow so there's no weight on the tires. Oct 22 at 16:56
  • I'm using Muc-off tire sealant. As far as minimum temperature, I'm not sure how cold it gets in the garage. I would estimate as low as -10. It get down to -30 or even colder outside.
    – Kibbee
    Oct 22 at 18:23
  • @WeiwenNg Muc-off sealant is hopefully not based on cow’s milk, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
    – MaplePanda
    Oct 22 at 18:33
  • Yes, hopefully not! The milk example was offered partly in jest, to be honest, but it does show that if some substances freeze, they don't unfreeze well. And to be honest, I've no idea if tubeless sealants have that property. Also, we don't know if they will actually freeze solid at -30F; they are meant to stay liquid at low temps (and this has got to vary by manufacturer)
    – Weiwen Ng
    Oct 22 at 19:10
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This may vary by sealant manufacturer. Here's Orange Seal's advice (from their FAQ):

If you are hanging your tires up for the season, it’s best to open up the tires, rinse them out with a water hose and let them hang dry. When it’s time to ride again, add sealant and go!

There's a good chance that the sealant would dry out over the winter months, so you'd probably want to refill when the weather warms up in any case.

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I would suggest hanging the bike/wheels so there's no weight on the tyres

If they are kept fairly dark they won't degrade much. I would suggest removing the old sealant and rinsing the tyre as you will find some of it dries out and will create a dead weight in the tyre that will be harder to remove in the spring and may leave a section of the tyre heavier. It depends what sealant you use.

If you have the time it always pays to leave everything clean ready for next season.

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I suppose you have a few options:

  1. Just leave it. At such cold temperatures, evaporation will be minimal and the rate of chemical reactions will be very low. There’s a chance you’ll be fine in the summer, perhaps needing just a bit more sealant added.

  2. If you want to save the old sealant, you could suck it out with a syringe or something and then store it in a bottle.

  3. Lastly, you could just rinse it all out and refill in the springtime.

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