Tire Flat Spots -- How Big Of A Problem Are They?
November 27th, 2016
So you’ve got a project car or a vehicle that doesn’t get driven often…and when you get in and start driving, you immediately feel a bumping, lurching vibration that feels like you’re driving on square wheels. Chances are your tires got “flat-spotted” while the vehicle was parked for a long spell.
Flat spotting occurs when the portion of the tire that’s bearing the vehicle’s weight on the ground becomes softer (or harder) and retains that flat footprint. While it can happen with a variety of tires, flat spotting is more common with low-profile tires that feature a short sidewall, and also with tires that have nylon-reinforced internal construction.
Generally, a flat spot can be “driven out” in a drive of ten or so miles, but it’s going to be a pretty unpleasant drive until the tires warm up and go back to their original shape. Sometimes, however, the flat spots are going to be there permanently, especially if the vehicle has been stored outside in extreme cold. In that case, there may really be nothing else for it but to replace the tires.
It’s been said that parking the vehicle on sandbags, plywood, carpet squares or other surfaces can disperse the vehicle’s weight and prevent flat spotting, but that’s just not true. In the end, the only way to completely prevent flat spots is to keep the vehicle’s weight entirely off the tires. That means jacking the vehicle up and placing it on jack stands, which is pretty inconvenient…but it’s a necessity if the vehicle’s going to be stored for extended periods.
Tire supports are also available for vehicles that may be in storage for long periods. These ingenious devices are simple to use – just drive the car onto the tire supports and they hug the tire’s natural curve, distributing the vehicle’s weight and preventing flat spots. They’re lightweight and designed to not conduct heat or cold, despite the temperature of the concrete surface in a garage.
If you’ve got a project car or a vehicle that doesn’t get driven often, we thought this was something you might find interesting. Is it maybe time for a set of tires for your project car? Make an appointment with us at JBC Tire Complete Car Care in Springfield, MO!