COVID-19: Can tyres go flat from sitting?

By Julia Freeman

The chances are that during the COVID-19 lockdown, your car has spent most of the past few months being parked outside your home. Without going out to work or popping out on a trip, there have been few reasons to get in and drive. But the next time you drive, you might find that the smooth ride you’re expecting is actually all bumps, thumps, and bad vibrations.

car flat tyre

What might have caused this? The likelihood is that your car tyres have developed flat spots. This happens when the weight of your vehicle has pushed the tyres flat at the point of contact with the ground. The rubber will have stiffened, making the flat spots on the tyres hard and flat as you’ve tried to drive away.

What should you do about flat spots?

Fixing most flat spots is really easy. They can simply be driven away. As you drive, your tyres will become warmer and more flexible, so they’ll be round again within about fifteen minutes of driving. However, flat spots can become permanent. This can happen when you leave a heavy vehicle parked on a hard surface for an extended period of time.

How can I avoid flat spots?

If you’re concerned about developing flat spots, there are a number of things you can do to keep your tyres in good condition.

  • Keep your tyres at the correct air pressure. If your tyres are low on air, the weight of your car will cause more damage to them.

  • Make sure that you haven’t overloaded your car. A heavily loaded car will cause more damage to your wheels, so make sure you’ve emptied it of everything unnecessary.

Are my tyres likely to develop flat spots?

Surprisingly, it’s not cheaper tyres that are more likely to develop flat spots when cars are left idle. The most modern tyre compounds are amongst those that are more vulnerable. High-performance tyres are more prone to developing flat spots because they are softer compounds than other tyre brands. They are formed of rather more flexible rubber materials that can better grip the road so that they can corner at very high speeds. This makes them flatten more readily when parked. The stiffer and shorter sidewalls of low-profile high-performance tyres don’t flex to the same degree when underweight, so the tread and outer edge of the tyre will take the brunt of the flattening effect when left on a hard surface.
Don’t worry too much, however. Keep checking the air in the tyres, monitor the condition of your car tyres regularly, and if you feel a flat spot when you first drive your car, just keep going. It should go away soon.

Book with Protyre

If you want advice on keeping your tyres in their best condition, our tyre professionals have years of experience and are there to help at any of our one hundred and fifty local garages across the country. Check our website to see our range of same-day services or contact us to find out more about how we can help. We supply tyres from premium brands such as Pirelli and Sumitomo through to various mid and budget ranges.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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