Not that many people know about flat-spotting in car tires, but it's something well worth learning about if you want to avoid unnecessary trips to the mechanic and keep your vehicle riding as smoothly as possible. As such, you'll want to read on to find out what flat-spotting is, which tires are at risk, and what you can do to put the situation right.
What Is Flat-Spotting?
As you drive, your tires are constantly at work, moving between relaxed and loaded states hundreds of times during each mile. This creates heat, and that heat helps keep the tires flexible. However, the tires can develop flat spots when you park for extended periods. Without the constant heat ensuring proper flexibility, they will simply flatten out along the bottom.
The problem here is that riding on flat-spotted tires is going to reduce your control over the vehicle; even if that doesn't result in an accident, it's going to create a very uncomfortable ride. You could also damage the wheel or suspension system by driving on such tires for extended periods. Sometimes the tires will warm up and revert to their proper shape after a few miles, but this isn't always the case.
What Puts Your Vehicle at Risk?
Simply parking your car overnight or even leaving it for a day or two is unlikely to cause any flat-spotting. Instead, certain risk factors increase the likelihood. These include:
What Should You Do About Flat-Spotted Tires?
As stated above, it's perfectly possible for flat-spotted tires to work themselves out naturally, but it's still a good idea to have your vehicle looked over by a professional at a car service, especially if any of the risk factors above apply to you. A professional will be able to check for signs of underlying damage, and they'll have tire shaving machines that can be used to correct the tread. If flat-spotting is permanent, they'll be able to hook you up with a replacement tire.