So your vehicle’s been sitting for a while…you get in it, start the engine and pull out of the driveway when you notice a hard, rough (but very regular) vibration that only gets worse with speed. It doesn’t feel like it’s coming from the driveline or suspension – so what is it?
It could be that the tires have developed flat spots.
With the weight of the vehicle pressing down on the tires for long periods, a section of the rubber and belts can become softer (or harder) than the rest of the tire. This can be exacerbated by cold weather, or just by parking on a cold concrete floor.
Low-profile tires with short sidewalls can be more prone to flat-spotting, as can tires with an H or higher speed rating. In most cases, you can just grit your teeth and drive and the flat spots will work their way out of the tires…but not always. In some severe cases, the flat-spotting is permanent.
So, what can you do?
There are all sorts of old-wives’-tales about parking your vehicle on sheets of plywood or carpeting or sandbags to prevent flat spots. Unfortunately, they are all pure nonsense.
If you’ve got a vehicle that’s going to be stored for a long time, the only way you can avoid flat spots is to have the vehicle up on jack stands at all four corners. That’ll take the weight off the tires completely. Unfortunately, that’s also pretty inconvenient.
The other solution? There’s a product called “FlatStoppers” which supports the tire using a curved shape, distributing the vehicle’s weight evenly and reliably.
It may seem like a lot of trouble, but it beats the alternative…which is a set of tires that are potentially ruined with flat spots that won’t come out again!