Have you noticed while driving your car that the ride isn’t as smooth as it once was? Does your car jolt or shake the first couple of miles after you haven’t driven it in a few days or weeks?
Don’t worry — the problem probably isn’t as severe as you might think. The issue might result from your car’s tires becoming flat on the bottom where they meet the pavement. This condition, referred to as flat-spotting, could be why your ride is not as smooth.
If you’re experiencing these problems with your vehicle and think your car or truck is a victim of flat-spotting, there is a way to remedy this problem. Here’s everything you need to know about how to fix flat spots on tires.
The Short Answer
Flat spots on tires are usually a temporary matter that may resolve themselves or that you can fix by optimizing tire pressure and not leaving your vehicle sitting in one spot for too long.
What Causes Flat Spots?
Flat spots can be difficult to see, unlike a flat tire, so sometimes people don’t realize why their car thumps while moving.
There are a few things that might cause this issue:
Leaving the Vehicle Parked Too Long
The most common is that your car has stayed parked in the same position for too long. When you leave your vehicle in one spot, the car’s weight pushes down on the tires so that they become flat on the bottom.
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When you brake hard, your tires automatically bear more pressure. While braking hard isn’t always avoidable, you should try not to brake too heavy. Braking too hard can lead to skidding, which is also a culprit of flat-spotting.
The more pressure you put on your tires, the more wear and tear they’ll undergo. It is easier for your tires to become overly worn in one place if you skid to a stop.
The Type of Vehicle and Tires
The type of tires and vehicle also can play a role in your tires having flat spots. For example, heavy-duty vehicles have a higher likelihood of developing flat spots because they weigh more; therefore, they will put more pressure on tires.
Having heavy-duty tires on one of these vehicles can prevent flat spots. Smaller or cheap tires on a heavy-duty vehicle probably won’t last long.
High-performance vehicles might also experience flat-spotting. These vehicles might have “memory” tires, which remember a position they’ve been in for an extended period.
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4 Tips on How to Fix Flat Spots on Tires
There are a few simple tricks you can use for how to fix flat spots on tires:
1. Do Nothing
Some flat spots will fix themselves after your car has been in motion for a little while. The air will redistribute to the rest of the tire, and it will resume its original shape.
Driving your car will help smooth these spots out, but it might take a while for them to go back to normal once they have an indentation.
2. Increase Tire Pressure
Tire pressure plays a critical role in your vehicle’s performance, affecting things like the tread, fuel efficiency, and more.
When you increase your tire pressure, your tires are less likely to sag and give in to pressure from the ground. Try increasing the pressure by 3 psi when you know your vehicle will stay parked in one spot for a while.
3. Be Cautious of Temperature
Rubber stiffens in cold temperatures, making your tires more susceptible to stiffening into a particular position. If the vehicle remains parked for a while, they might harden into a flat shape.
The best thing to do is to store your vehicle inside. If you can’t, the best thing would be to move the vehicle periodically. Driving your car or truck will help ensure that your tires won’t end up with flat spots, no matter the temperature.
4. Don’t Leave Your Vehicle Loaded Down for Too Long
The most common reason tires end up with flat spots is that there’s too much weight on them for too long.
When you leave a large load in a vehicle for extended periods, all the extra weight causes your vehicle to sink. Without your vehicle in motion, the tires will eventually give in to the weight.
While we sometimes have to leave loads on our vehicles due to projects or work, it’s essential to try and keep as much extra weight off of them as possible, especially for an extended time.
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Flat spots in tires are not detrimental to your vehicle, although they can become dangerous if not fixed or prevented. Luckily, the problem is easy to resolve. Using these tips on how to fix flat spots on tires, you can help prevent them and ensure a smoother ride!
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