Exploring Automotive Electrical Faults

3 Common Causes Of Tire Flat Spotting

Tires are the only source of contact your vehicle has with the surface of a road. Without quality tires, the safety and maneuverability of your vehicle will be compromised.

Drivers are aware of many different types of tire damage, including dry rot and punctures. Flat spotting is a type of damage that might be unfamiliar to modern drivers.

Tires that are affected by flat spots can make thumping sounds while driving, make your vehicle difficult to steer, and create excessive vibrations when your vehicle is in motion.

You should study the common causes of flat spotting so that you can take action to prevent and treat this type of tire damage in the future.

1. Cold Weather

If you live in a colder climate, your vehicle's tires could be more susceptible to flat spotting. Low temperatures have a direct impact on the air pressure inside vehicle tires. Whenever the thermostat drops, tire pressure drops as well.

A reduction in tire pressure leaves your vehicle without the support it needs. The weight of your vehicle will press down on the tires, and the low air pressure will allow the rubber of the tires to expand. The result is a flat area that develops where the tire touches the ground.

Storing your vehicle indoors or using specialized winter tires that are designed to withstand temperature fluctuations can help you avoid any flat spotting that is caused by cold weather.

2. Aggressive Braking

Your personal driving style can increase the potential for flat spotting in your tires. Drivers who tend to brake aggressively are at risk of having their tires develop flat spots.

Aggressive braking is often accompanied by some skidding. As your tires skid across the surface of the road, some of the tread is worn away. Skidding can also generate heat, which can cause the rubber used to construct tires to become brittle.

Worn tread and brittle rubber can open the door for flat spots to develop in your tires.

You should always maintain a safe following distance so that you don't have to slam on your brakes repeatedly if you want to protect your tires against flat spotting. Regular alignment services can also help prevent any flat spotting caused by aggressive driving.

3. Sitting Idle

Vehicles are not meant to sit idle for extended periods of time. A vehicle that stays in one place for too long can develop a number of issues. Water can begin to condense inside the gas tank, the battery terminals could go bad, and tires can develop flat spots.

The weight of the vehicle and the quality of the tires will each play a role in determining how long it takes for flat spots to appear.

A vehicle's weight rests entirely on a single section of rubber when the car or truck remains parked for an extended period of time. This constant pressure causes the rubber that is in contact with the ground to form to the ground's contours and harden.

Some flat spots that are created due to inactivity can be corrected by driving the vehicle for several miles. Severe flat spotting cannot be repaired and you will need to replace the affected tires to restore the safety and performance of your vehicle.

Proper storage techniques can prevent flat spots from developing while a vehicle is idle. Make sure all tires are filled to the manufacturer's recommended air pressure, then lift the car on stabilizing jacks. The jacks will help prevent the weight of the vehicle from flattening out the rubber in your tires.

The ability to recognize some of the common causes of flat spotting will allow you to repair and prevent this type of tire damage in the future.