If you are here reading this article then you most likely have parked your car for a period of time, come back and find that your tire or tires are flat. Now you are wondering, ‘Why did this happen? Those tires were in good shape.’
Well, I am glad you are here. We are going to answer the question, ‘Why car tires go flat when not used?’ The answer is very interesting.
Even though a car tire looks solid, It’s important to remember how porous rubber is at a molecular level. A tire doesn’t form a completely airtight seal, so some air molecules escape through microscopic passages in the rubber; other molecules escape in the space between the tire and rim.
Quick list of why tires go flat when not used
- Rubber is porous, air natural leaks out
- Constant compression and expansion leads to microscopic areas where air can leak out.(i.e. where the tire meets the rim, valve stem)
- Forgien object penatrates the tire
In addition to this, when a person drives a car, the tires increase in temperature and as a result, they expand. The air inside also increases in volume as the temperature rises.
This expanding and contracting allows dirt and dust molecules to accumulate around areas that are not sealed. Such as where the tire meets the rim and around the valve stem, and even in the valve stem; if there is no cap on it.
When the vehicle sits idle for an extended period of time (such as when parked), the tire cools down and shrinks back to its original size making additional space for water and dirt to enter through these small but porous areas.
This does not even take into account any foreign object that may be penetrating your tire. The entrance point for this dirt and water mixture into an under-inflated tire can cause corrosion that eats away at metal components such as nails, screws that hold patches together before eventually leading to holes in tires which cause them to leak and deflate over time.
How long can a car sit before the tires get flat spots?
There is no set measurement for how long a car can be parked before its tires start to flatten. It depends on the type of tire, the condition of the tire when it was last inflated, and the weather.
Typically, it takes three weeks or more for this type of damage to appear. When you notice your tires are low, check them immediately to avoid too much pressure loss.
Tires may flatten in only a few days if you live in an area with a lot of heat. They can take weeks to deflate completely when it’s cold outside. However, a sudden drop in temperature can cause your tires to lose some air pressure.
I know that this is an ‘it depends’ answer, but it takes into account several factors that affect a tire’s air pressure when it is sitting.
This is why checking your tire pressure every month is recommended; it is also recommended to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or sooner if you see uneven wear indicators on the tire—such as bulges and irregular-looking areas on the sidewalls.
These small steps will help to prevent flat spots from forming on your tires.
Do Car Tires Go Bad If Not Used?
YES! Absolutely. It’s important to use your tires periodically for several reasons or if you are not going to be using them; to store them properly.
First, there are all the safety-related reasons for keeping your tires air, strong, and in shape—crossing railroad tracks, icy patches, or other possible road hazards.
Second (in addition to this), not using your tires will create flat spots because of pressure shifts caused by heat cycles within the rubber; it also leads to decreased wear on the tire itself.
Third, tires will dry rot when not used. This means the tire is literally disintegrating. A tire with dry rot is unsafe to use.
Lastly, tires have an expiration date. No matter how well you take care of your tires; eventually they are no longer safe. And it’s time to get a new set of tires.
If you are looking for a new set of tires; try SimpleTire. They have an incredible selection and easy to order website, go check them out and you get free shipping with the link below.
If you are driving your vehicle on a regular basis, it’s important to check the state of your tires. Not only do they need to be aired up, but also rotated every 5,000 miles or sooner if uneven wear indicators appear on the tire sidewalls.
If you are not going to use them for an extended period of time (such as during winter), keep in mind that flat spots may develop because air pressure equalizes with atmospheric pressure over time, and rot can occur when left unused.
It is best practice to store these items inside where temperatures will remain more constant than outside storage spaces like garages or sheds which fluctuate between hot days and cold nights.