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Can flat spots on tires just happen?

I just took my car in for a check-up - and was told by the dealership that the tires has developed "flat spots". They said this can happen when the car is parked for a long time. But I've never parked the car for more than 10 hours - I drive the car every day, about 250 miles/week. Weather has been mild, between 30 and 65 degrees. The dealership is suggesting buying new tires. The tires that are on are "kumho" and were put on -new- by another dealership in August. Any idea how the tires could have gotten "flat spots" - or is this dealer just trying to sell me new tires?

Comments

  • edited November 2009
    Do you notice any thumping? Modern tires don't flat spot, especially after less than a few days. And ABS systems would prevent the skidding that causes flat spotting from jamming the brakes on too hard. You don't have a teen driver, do you?
  • edited November 2009
    Did the dealer show you the flat spots? If you're concerned, get a second opinion. I would avoid this dealer in the future though. I prefer a local mechanic to a dealer. I'm fortunate enough to have a good one.

    Ed B.
  • edited November 2009
    No teenage drivers-just me, and I haven't had to slam on the brakes. Haven't noticed any thumping either. Any ideas?
  • edited November 2009
    No, but I have to go back on Friday, so I can ask to see them then. Do they have to jack the car up in order to see them? This might sound silly, but, what does a flat spot look like? How will I know?
  • edited November 2009
    I've never seen one, they are normally diagnosed by tires thumping, normally would go away when the tire warmed up. This is really an odd, puzzling thing for them to say, if you haven't noticed anything. Makes me wonder what they're really talking about.
  • edited November 2009
    If you have actual flat spots, you can feel them with your hand when you run it up and down the tire. Be careful not to cut yourself on the fender. The flat spots could be imaginary and some salesmen can't be trusted at all. Money in your pocket does him no good at all.
  • edited November 2009
    If your tires were "flat spotted" you'd hear it and feel it as you drove. If you don't notice anything out of the ordinary, forget about it. They're just trying to sell you something you don't need.

    In more than 40 years of driving I've never had a tire that developed a permanent flat spot.
  • edited November 2009
    I did have a tire develop a flat spot, just last Summer ('99 Escort). It did have the tell-tale (small) thump that led me to keep taking it back to the trusted independent mechanic. The flat spot was just about invisible, and hard to detect by touch, but when the tire was replaced the thump went away.
  • edited November 2009
    Perhaps the term "flat spot" is being used to describe any irregularity that produces a thump as the tire rotates. It might be a bulge rather than a flat spot. Belt separation or some failure in the carcass leading to bulging can have the same symptoms as a "flat spot" except it usually doesn't dissipate much as they warm up. Flat spotting from sitting is mostly associated with the old bias ply tires. I have lots of radials that sit for many months and ride like new when taken out for a spin. One of my boat trailers has bias plys and they can thump a bit until they warm up if they have sat idle for a month or so. But it's nothing like some of the nylon corded bias plys back "in the day".

    This sounds to me like the dealer is on a fishing mission. Flat spotting from sitting would be obvious to the user, not something that could only be discerned by a mechanic inspection.
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