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Flat spot on one tire

Our mechanic found multiple flat spots on my daughters car during the last maintenance run. Looking through your FAQ and discussions I noticed a lot of skids and brake locking going on. My daughter doesn’t drive like that…she’s too afraid to. (Giving the benefit of the doubt.) Plus I would figure the flat spots would be on more tires. We queried WalMart (where we bought the tires) if it could be a defective tire. The manager said it was due to bad shocks. Now, I’m no mechanic but that just doesn’t make sense! What do you guys think?

Does your daughter have a boyfriend that she loans her car to?
Has she had to lock up the brakes in order to avoid an accident?


if it’s just one tire I’d suspect the shock or a sticking brake caliper combined with a completely clueless driver who can’t tell when a wheel is locked. My money’s on the shock. Since it’s only one it wouldn’t surprise me if someone driving the car hit a curb or a pothole.

Bad shocks/struts are a perfectly reasonable explanation for uneven tire wear. But if you keep going to WalMart for auto service that will be the least of your worries. Find a good, local, independent mechanic. In this case you might want a local alignment/tire shop.

Well here’s my experience but agree-go someplace else except Walmart. I bought a new 86 Buick Park Ave. It was a special order so never sat on the lot or was driven by anyone except off the truck. At about 30K, the left rear tire was getting some flat spots. I talked to the Goodyear dealer and he said that I needed a four wheel alignment. When I protested that it was brand new he said that transport can throw it off. I drove it a little more until it was more octagon shape than round and conceded to the 4 wheel alignment and put new tires on it. We drove it up to about 120K and never had a problem again. So I’d say have it aligned and also could be the struts.

I had a rear strut go bad on me a few weeks after I had put new tires on. The strut leaked out all the oil in a short time and was completely empty. It flat-spotted that tire in less than 200 miles. I was on the road returning home from a funeral at the time it happened, and was unable to get it fixed until that Mon. The tire was completely ruined by then from all the free spring bouncing.

What year is the car and how many miles does it have on it?
What kind of tires are on it?

Worn out shocks can and do cause “flat spots” to war in tires.

But so can poor balance, as well as poor quality tires (I personally have had problems with Continentals).

And so can worn suspension components.

Go to a good, reputable chassis shop and have them get the car on a lift and take a look. If they too say you need shocks, have them show you why. Have them show you the abnormal wear.

i would suspect that the tire is “cupped” instead of flat spotted. replace the tire or maybe 2 tires. get an alignment done . rotate the tires every 6000 miles. inspect the tires at every oil change on a rack up in the air. look for irregular wear.
do a bounce test on each corner of the car. does it rock like a boat on water or is it stiff and comes back to normal ride height within 1 or 2 oscillations? if it rocks like a boat on water you need shocks. if one is leaking you need shocks.

I have seen many more “raised spots” than flat spots but I have seen a set of Blizzacks (snow tires) develope some pretty odd tread patterns from high speed,high temperature use. Were you actually able to feel the flatspot? I am betting on an issue with the tires composition. What model tire and how many miles on them?

This is just another case of folks using a word and its meaning varies all over the ball park.

What your daughter has is “irregular wear”. The trem “flat spots” or "cupped’ is sometimes used to described this - and unfortunately, those terms will lead folks to a wrong diagnosis.

Irregular wear is usually caused by misalignment and aggravated by insufficient rotation practices and insufficient inflation pressire. So the first thing to do is to get an alignment.

I agree, but I think the semantics in this case are irrelevant. The wear pattern and the chassis need to be looked at by a good chassis shop.