What Causes Flat Spots In Tires?

Flat spots on a tire are more than just a cosmetic issue. They can make your car unsafe to drive. When you have flat spots, it is important to diagnose why and act. To help you get started, here is what you need to know about flat spots.

Why Do Your Tires Have Flat Spots?

Flat spots typically show up on more than one tire and can be caused by several factors. One of the most common is that the car has been stored for an extended period. As your car sits parked in the same spot for too long, the part that touches the ground can become rough. When you do drive the car eventually, you might notice it vibrating as the rougher part touches the road.

Sometimes, the flat spots are the result of sliding. When your car slides sideways, the tires tend to lock up and grind against the surface of the road. When this happens, it toughens the tire and leaves you with a flat spot on the part that was touching the ground as it slid.

The same thing can occur when your brakes lock up. When your car is moving at a fast rate of speed and it suddenly is forced to stop, the tires can temporarily lock. When the car moves again, the shape of your tires can sometimes be changed, which can mean flat spotting.

What Can You Do?

How you take care of the flat spotting problem depends largely on the cause of it. For instance, if the tires have flat spots because the car has not been driven in a while, the solution is to drive the car. As you drive, the toughen part of the tire will start to relax and the vibrations should start. It is important to note that it could take driving several miles at reduced speeds to clear the flat spots.

If the flat spotting resulted from the tires sliding or the brakes locking up, you might have to replace them. Whether you do largely depends on how much the tires were changed when they were touching the ground. A tire shop technician can inspect the tires and determine if new ones are needed.

In the future, you need to avoid leaving your car in one location for too long. If you need to, consider storing the car on jack stands. You also need to be careful with braking suddenly and try to avoid conditions that would lead you to slide in your car, such as driving on icy roads.  

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