Flat-spotting can become an issue quicker than most people realize.
Are you driving less during these difficult times? You’re certainly not alone, and if you’re reading this article, you’re probably at least somewhat interested in cars. Letting your ride sit in a garage or driveway isn’t necessarily the best way for it to pass the time, and as our friend Jonathan Benson from Tyre Reviews points out in his latest video, tires are especially susceptible to long periods of inactivity.
He compiled a list of six tips to help keep your tires – and the car – on the up-and-up so it’s ready to tackle the open roads once the Coronavirus pandemic passes. Some of the tips such as cleaning and inspecting for damage are common sense, but other suggestions aren't as obvious.
This biggest issue with extended parking is arguably flat spots on the tires. It doesn’t take long for tires to flatten just a bit from sitting still, and that can certainly be an annoyance when you start driving again. At worst, the tires could get permanently flat-spotted, but as the video explains, there are some measures you can take to prevent this.
Gallery: Tire Care Tips During Coronavirus
Putting the car on a lift or jack stands is the best option, as that takes the pressure off the tires completely. If that’s not an option, simply overinflating the tires can give them more support, making them less susceptible to flat spotting. Just be sure you don’t inflate the tires beyond the manufacturer's recommended settings on the sidewall.
A slightly more creative way to avoid flat spots is to simply move the car every now and then. Here’s the thing though – you don’t want to start the car for just 30 seconds to move it back and forth in the driveway. Not letting the engine warm-up can do more harm than good for internal components, never mind the moisture build-up in the exhaust system that can rot pipes from the inside out.
Instead, Benson proposes a solution for two problems. Get your lazy bum off the sofa, take the car out of gear, and push it backwards and forwards for a bit. The tires stay nice and round, and the exercise prevents you from getting nice and round.
The video offers additional tips on tire care, vehicle care, and special attention that should fall to your brakes as well. It’s a good primer to keep your automotive passions burning bright until the warmer days ahead when we can all get back on the road.