Will Flat Spot On Tire Correct Itself? Most Probably Yes, But.

Tire Flat Spot

Flat spots on tires are a concern for many drivers, as they can cause discomfort and even pose safety risks. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes of tire flat spotting, discuss whether a flat spot can correct itself over time, and provide valuable tips for prevention and care.

Understanding Flat Spots On Tires

Flat spots on tires occur when the tire comes into prolonged contact with the ground, causing a portion of its round shape to flatten. This can happen for various reasons, such as long-term parking or storage of a vehicle or exposure to cold weather conditions. Heavy braking and low tire pressure can also contribute to flat spotting.

Will Flat Spot On Tire Correct Itself Over Time?

If you are wondering if a flat spot on your tire can correct itself over time, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that permanent flat spots cannot be corrected without replacing the tire; however, temporary flat spots can often repair themselves.

Temporary Flat Spots

Temporary flat spots are common occurrences when a vehicle has been stationary for a few days or weeks, causing the tire to develop an irregular shape due to the weight of the car pressing on one section.

These flat spots tend to be less severe than permanent ones and often resolve themselves as the tires warm up during driving. The heat generated from friction helps soften and redistribute the rubber back into its original rounded form.

Semi-Permanent Flat Spots

Semi-Permanent Tire Flat Spot

Semi-permanent flat spots occur when vehicles are parked for extended periods of a month or more.

The long standing times, especially in tandem with low tire pressure, can result in more severe flat-spotting that normal driving won’t remedy.

If you suspect that your tires have semi-permanent flat-spotting, you should contact your local tire specialist and they’ll guide you through the options on how to fix it.

Permanent Flat Spots

Aggressive Brakes That Causes Permanent Flat Spots

Permanent flat spots on tires are a result of aggressive braking with locked-up wheels.

These types of flat spots cannot be repaired or corrected by any means and require the replacement of the tire. 

Related Reading: How To Prevent Flat Spots During Storage?

How to Get Rid of Flat Spots

Driving the vehicle is one of the most effective ways to get rid of flat spots on tires. Taking the car for a spin can help distribute the weight evenly across the tire and encourage it to regain its round shape.

It is recommended to drive the vehicle at a slow speed, preferably below 25 mph, for several miles to warm up the tires.

Timeframe For Self-Correction

The timeframe for the self-correction of a flat spot on a tire depends on various factors. Temporary flat spots can often correct themselves within the first few miles of driving.

Factors That Affect The Correction Process

Several factors can affect the correction process of flat spots on tires. These include:

  • Severity of the Flat Spot: The severity of the flat spot can affect its ability to correct itself. Temporary flat spots or those caused by short-term parking may be corrected more easily than permanent ones.
  • Tire Rubber Compound: The material of the tire can also affect how quickly it recovers from a flat spot. Harder compounds may take longer to recover than softer compounds.
  • Ambient Temperature: The temperature of the environment in which the tire is stored or parked can also affect its ability to recover from a flat spot. Warmer temperatures may aid in recovery, while colder temperatures may hinder it.
  • Duration of Flat Spot: The length of time that the tire has been flattened can also impact whether it will correct itself or require replacement.
  • Vehicle Weight: Heavier vehicles place more stress on tires, making them more prone to developing flat spots and potentially prolonging their recovery time.
  • Inflation Pressure: Proper inflation pressure is crucial for correcting and preventing flat spots on tires. Underinflated tires are more likely to develop permanent flat spots and may take longer to recover if they do.
  • Driving Habits: Frequent use and regular driving can help correct temporary flat spots faster by encouraging natural wear and tear on the tire’s surface.

Signs That A Flat Spot May Correct Itself

Tire Flat Spot

There are some signs to look out for that indicate the flat spot may correct itself over time. One such sign is if the tire still looks round, with no visible deformation or bulging.

Another sign to look out for is whether or not the tire gradually improves its driving performance as it heats up from driving. Increased heat in tires causes them to expand and return to their normal shape, so if your vehicle’s ride feels smoother after a few miles of use, then your tire could fix itself over time.

Is It Safe to Drive on a Tire with a Flat Spot?

It is not safe to drive on a tire with a flat spot as it can cause dangerous vibrations while driving and affect the vehicle's performance. 

What Causes Flat Spots on Tires?

Flat spots are typically caused by long-term parking or storage, as well as cold weather that causes the tire to develop a temporary flat spot when it sits for an extended period.

Long-Term Parking

Leaving your vehicle parked or stored for an extended period can lead to flat spots on tires. This is because the weight of the car presses down on the tire’s contact patch, causing it to flatten out in that spot.

Cold Weather

Cold weather can be a major cause of flat spots on tires. When temperatures drop, the rubber in your tires hardens and becomes less flexible, which makes it more likely to develop flat spots.

For a more in-depth study on the causes of tire flat spots, please check the Firestone article.

How Long Can Tires Sit before They Get a Flat Spot?

Flat spots on tires can occur from sitting for a few days or even just overnight, but the length of time it takes for them to develop depends on various factors such as tire type, weather conditions, and vehicle weight. 
  • Tire Type: The type of tire is a critical factor when it comes to flat spotting. For example, high-performance tires are more susceptible to developing flat spots. They have softer rubber compounds that provide better grip but also tend to flatten out quicker when stationary for extended periods.
  • Vehicle Weight: The weight of a vehicle can also affect how long tires can sit before getting flat spots. Heavy vehicles exert more pressure on the tires, which can cause the rubber to compress over time and develop flat spots.
  • Tire Pressure: Underinflated tires can cause the tire to deform and develop flat spots faster.
  • Weather: Cold weather can have a significant impact on how fast a flat spot can occur. When temperatures drop, the air inside the tires contracts, causing them to flatten out in spots where they were resting for extended periods.

Risks And Dangers Of Driving On A Tire With A Flat Spot

Flat spots on tires can have a significant impact on the performance of your vehicle.

  • The most notable effect of flat spots is vibration, which can be felt through the steering wheel and throughout the car. This vibration can become more pronounced at high speeds and can lead to an uncomfortable ride that’s far from smooth.
  • In addition to vibrations, flat spots can also cause uneven wear on your tires, leading to a reduced tire lifespan.
  • Furthermore, flat spots reduce friction and grip, affecting handling and safety while driving. This loss of friction means that braking distances may increase significantly as there is less traction on the road surface with the decreased contact patch of flattened areas of tread.

Preventing Flat Spots On Tires

  • Drive the vehicle at least once a week to keep the tires rotating and avoid extended periods of parking.
  • If your vehicle will be parked for an extended period, consider investing in tire cradles or dollies to protect the tires from developing flat spots.
  • Make sure that you are using the manufacturer-recommended tire pressure and check it regularly to ensure that it stays at normal levels.

Conclusion And Additional Tips For Tire Care

In conclusion, flat spots on tires can be a serious issue that affects your vehicle’s performance and safety. Whether it is caused by long-term parking or storage, cold weather, or other factors, it is important to address the problem promptly.

While temporary flat spots may correct themselves over time with proper care and use, permanent damage requires tire replacement.

To prevent flat spotting from occurring in the first place, it is crucial to properly maintain your tires. This includes regular inspection for wear and tear, maintaining proper air pressure, and storing them correctly when not in use.