Have you noticed any unusual vibrations while driving lately? If your typically smooth ride feels unnaturally jittery, it might be a result of flat spots on one or more of your tyres. There are a couple of reasons as for why your tyres have grown flat spots.
Some of them are common, and others, not so much. Either way, there are specific symptoms to look out for. If you suspect that your tyres might be at risk, you must look out for these symptoms. Read on to learn what exactly tyre spotting is, its most common causes, and the best remedies for it.
Flat spotting on your tyres occur when a flat patch forms on the rubber of your tyre that makes contact with the ground. This surface of your tyre is commonly referred to as the tyre's 'contact patch'. When your car is parked for an extended period, its weight and pressure put a load on all four contact patches of your tyres.
If your vehicle is frequently used, the contact patch changes every time the car is taken out. However, if it remains parked in the same spot for a long time, the contact patch stays the same. As a result, flat spots occur when the contact patch is the same.
Flat spots on your tyre are considered to compromise its integrity. As a result, your tyres get worn out unevenly. This is especially harmful if one area, in particular, gets worn out a lot more than the rest. It's at this stage that some noticeable symptoms show up.
Let's take a look at what some of the most common flat spotting symptoms are for your tyres.
Flat spots that are visible
Let's get the most obvious one out of the way. Flat spots aren't always inconspicuous. Sometimes, you're able to clearly see that there's a flat area on the contact patch of one or more of your tyres. This is especially the case if your car has been idle for a long time.
Having said that, flat spots on your tyre aren't always visible. In such circumstances, you're advised to scrutinise the tyre treads. Have a look at all your tyres carefully and look out for unusual wear patterns.
However, this is obviously no easy feat. Unmounting tyres, placing them side-by-side, and conducting an inspection can only be done by professionals at a garage. If you suspect that your tyres may have flat spots, entrust your car with the tyre experts at Service My Car.
Let's move on to some of the more challenging symptoms. As stated earlier, it's no easy feat to examine your tyre treads individually. However, there are other means to figure out if you have flat spots on your tyres.
Next time you take your car for a spin, watch out for any strong vibrations. This is typically a giveaway that you might have flat spots on your tyres. Depending on what speed you're driving at, you might feel that your tyres have an odd vibration.
Either way, feeling solid vibrations while driving can point to several other issues too. If you suspect any kind of vibration while driving, it's best to get a professional opinion. Go for a full inspection at Service My Car so you can ascertain what issues exist in your car.
Intense thumping sensation or sounds
Another symptom, in particular, is sensing or hearing thumps while you drive. As the flat spot of your tyre makes contact with the road, it emanates a rhythmic thumping sound.
However, like we mentioned earlier about feeling vibrations, thumping can be attributed to a plethora of car issues. If you hear any thumping while driving, get your tyres inspected with a reputed car maintenance solution like Service My Car.
Facing difficulty while steering
This is a symptom that demonstrates the dangers of ignoring flat spots on your tyres. As the flat spotting of your tyres is prolonged, it results in your tyres being imbalanced. This has a direct effect on your steering capabilities.
When you drive with tyres that have flat spots, you might notice that steering your car gets more difficult. If you feel this way, especially at higher driving speeds, then you need to get your wheels aligned and your tyres balanced. Look no further than Service My Car for all your tyre needs.
Now that we're aware of the most common symptoms, let's look at the most common reasons for flat spotting.
The most common reason - parking for too long
As we've already covered multiple times here, this is the most common reason. Long-term parking is never good for your car, with your tyres taking the highest toll.
If you're wondering how long a car can be parked before the tyres start developing flat spots, the answer might be a surprise. Most automotive research hints towards as little as one month. That means you can leave your car idle for a maximum of one month before its tyres start developing flat spots.
Another reason - aggressive and sudden braking
Automotive research has also shown that aggressive or sudden braking also has a hand in causing flat spots to develop on your tyres. This occurs when your brakes cause the tyres to skid across the pavement.
As a result, the friction caused by skidding can prematurely wear out the tyre treads. Frequently deploying hard or sudden brakes can increase the impact of the damage.
Preventive and predictive maintenance is the best way to go when it comes to taking care of your car. If you intend to store your vehicle for a long time, it's best to take the following flat spot preventive measures:
• Inflate your tyres to manufacturer-recommended levels and check the air pressure once a month
• Make arrangements to move your car every couple of weeks if you intend to store it for months
• Take the weight off of the tyres by putting the vehicle on blocks or jack stands
Now that you've read this far, you know that flat spots not only compromise your tyres, but your safety too. If you've spotted some pesky flat spots, it's best to get a professional to look at them.
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We'll identify if your tyres have flat spots, and replace your tyres. You'll also get a few nifty recommendations along the way to help you make the right repair decisions for your car.