How to Store Your Tires to Prevent Flat Spots

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February 26, 2024
Edward Smith

Flat Spots During Tire Storage and How to Avoid Them

Tires are essential to any vehicle but can suffer damage from flat spots when stored improperly for extended periods. This type of problem can lead to uneven wear and compromised performance. Fortunately, with the proper storage techniques, you can prevent damage and prolong the lifespan of your tires. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to store your tires effectively.

Clean and Inspect

Before storing your tires, cleaning them thoroughly is crucial to remove any dirt, debris, or brake dust that may have accumulated. Use soap, water, and a tire brush to clean the surface. Once cleaned, inspect the tires for any signs of damage, such as cuts, punctures, or uneven wear. Address any issues before storing the tires to prevent further deterioration.

Storage in a Proper Location Can Help Avoid Flat Spots

Choose a suitable location for tire storage, preferably indoors, away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and extreme temperature fluctuations. Ideally, the storage area should be cool, dry, and well-ventilated. Avoid storing tires near electric motors, generators, or other equipment that emits ozone, as ozone can accelerate rubber degradation. Exposure to extreme temperatures and sunlight can accelerate tire degradation and increase the risk of flat spots.

Tire Stacking

When storing multiple tires, stack them vertically or hang them on a tire rack to prevent flat spotting. Avoid stacking tires on top of each other horizontally, as this can exert excessive pressure on the bottom tires, leading to deformation over time. If stacking vertically, use cardboard or plywood between each tire to distribute the weight evenly and minimize contact points.

Tire Inflation

Proper tire inflation is crucial for preventing the tire from flattening during storage. Inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure before storing them. It’s essential to periodically check the inflation pressure during storage, as tires may lose air over time. Maintaining the correct pressure helps distribute the weight evenly and minimizes the risk of flat spotting.

If you plan to store your vehicle for a very long time, consider using jacks or specially designed tire cradles to take the weight off the tires. Doing so eliminates the constant pressure on one tire section, preventing them from flattening.

Rotation Helps Prevent Flat Spots

To prevent flat spots from forming in the same area of the tire, rotate the tires periodically during storage. This can be done by moving the tires to a different position in the stack or on the tire rack. Rotating the tires every 1-2 months helps redistribute the weight and ensures that no single spot bears the brunt of the pressure for an extended period.

If the tires remain on the vehicle, move your car slightly every few weeks to change the tire’s contact point with the ground. This simple action can be very effective in preventing flattening. 

Tire Covers

Consider using tire covers to provide an extra layer of protection during storage. Tire covers shield the tires from sunlight, moisture, and dust, helping to preserve their integrity. Choose covers made from breathable materials to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. Alternatively, large plastic bags can also be used to cover individual tires.

Avoid Prolonged Storage to Avoid Flat Spots

While proper storage techniques can help minimize the risk of flat spots, it’s best to avoid prolonged storage whenever possible. If you anticipate not using your vehicle for an extended period, consider removing and storing the tires separately. This reduces the weight load on the tires and minimizes the risk of flat spotting.

Regular Inspection

Even with proper storage practices, inspecting your tires regularly for any signs of flat spotting or other damage is essential. If you notice any abnormalities, such as uneven wear patterns or bulges, address them promptly to prevent further deterioration. Additionally, check the inflation pressure and adjust as needed to maintain optimal tire performance.

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