What Causes Flat Spots on Tires?

While flat spotting may seem like a very rare occurrence, it actually is not, and people often wonder why they occur, and what to do about them. This article will deal with everything regarding flat spots on tires. But first let’s look at the causes…

The following are the common reasons that cause flat spots, we are also going to discuss them all in detail one by one.

  • Prolonged parking duration
  • Winter season
  • Poor driving habits

Prolonged Duration of Parking

The most common cause of flat spots on tires by far is when a car is parked somewhere for way too long and has not been taken out for a drive.

For example, when you leave your car in a parking lot when going for a vacation, or one of your cars stands stationary in your garage as you wait for a suitable buyer for it.

Even though it might not seem like much, one month is enough time for the tires to develop harsh flat spots.

When the car is parked and left to be, the weight of the vehicle pushes the tires down onto themselves and flattens them.

The tires then harden into these flattened spots as they cool down.

This is why it is important to keep your car moving even if it’s just for a short drive down the street.

As a result, when the car is parked once again, different parts of the tires are in contact with the road than last time.

This is your best bet on preventing flat spots from forming on your tires.

Winter Season

Whenever there is a drop in temperature, especially during the winter season, there is a drop in air pressure as well which leads to a decrease in the pressure within the tires.

This subsequently leads the tures to flatten just like when there is a tire puncture, but the flattening is not as significant as a puncture, therefore it can harden to form flat spots instead.

Vehicles that are parked still for long periods of time are particularly prone to flat spotting in the winter.

Poor Driving Habits

  • Harsh Braking

When brakes are applied harshly and abruptly, it can cause the tires to skid and cause friction against the road.

This causes the tires to wear out quicker than usual and form flat spots as a result.

  • Driving Style

When a vehicle needs to be stopped or turned too hastily, the brake is instantly used which results in skidding.

This can often lead to the wearing of the tire due to the harsh friction incited between the tires and the road and not only causes flat spotting, but also affects the overall lifespan of the tires.

Harsh braking causes previous worn-out spots on the tires to worsen and become flat spots.

 Your tires start to wear out quicker than normal, and before you know it, worn out spots become flat, and you will have to run to the mechanic to get new ones on.

  • Other Factors:

Minor skid marks or punctures from previous accidents should also be closely monitored and taken care of, because if ignored, they will wear out further and form flat spots.

How To Prevent Flat Spotting?

While flat spotting may seem like a dire problem, there’s a solution for everything.

During Prolonged Periods of Parking

  • Increasing the tire pressure by 3 PSI will decrease the risk of flat spotting. The extra pressure will help hold the shape of the tire and will compensate for the lost pressure within the tires over time when the car is parked for a long time. Just make sure to stay within the range and not to exceed the maximum recommended pressure.
  • Another way is tire rotation. This means that you should reposition both the front and the back wheels onto the axle. This will make sure that there is regular rotation between all four tires so that the exhausted weary parts of the tire are equally distributed around the whole tire. This will prolong the life of the tire as it will be at the same level with no irregularities or bumps.

Overcoming Poor Driving Habits

  • You should also avoid locking the wheels of the vehicle while the car is on stand-by.
  • Another thing not to be done is to turn the steering wheel when the vehicle is not moving.

The purpose of both these methods is to minimise friction.

Also make sure of the Following:

  • Get your tires assessed by a professional mechanic at least once a month.
  • Whenever you get your tires inflated, make sure you get it done by a specialist as they know the optimum level of pressure recommended for your car tires.
  • Be wary of the conditions of your tires and check them regularly. Make sure to visit the mechanic if you have any suspicions to steer clear of costly damage.
  • Using a tire rest tool will let your tires rest on a slightly concave surface so that the weight of the car is distributed properly, and the tire stays round without any wears or flat spots.
  • If you are planning to leave your car parked for a long duration, then make sure to drive the car in between to avoid the weight of the vehicle pressing down on one side of the tires. Another way is to park the car on jack stands.
  • If the damage is severe or permanent or it seems hard to recover from the flat spotting, then the only option left is to replace the tire.

Are you sure, its Flat spots on your tire?

Sometimes, flat spotting is visible on the tire and appears as a worn-out patch when compared to the other tires.

However, flat spots are not always visible and there are signs that may help confirm your suspicions of flat spotting.

The flat spot can become rigid over time, and will not allow the tyre to rotate like a ball which can cause the following:  

  • Vibrations

One of the major signs of flat spotting is the sensation of vibrations while driving.

If you are driving and you feel the sense of pulsation at different speeds, then that is a sign of flat spotting.

  • Bumping Noise

Another sign that indicates flat spotting is hearing noises which were not present before. As the flat spots in the tires hit the road, a rhythmic sound is heard.

  • Difficulty in Steering

Due to unevenness in the tires because of flat spotting, the tires become imbalanced, and it can offset the operation of the steering wheel under conditions like when starting the car or driving at high speed.

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