Flat Spots on Tires

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  #1  
Old 01-05-12, 07:36 PM
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Flat Spots on Tires

2000 Ford Taurus LX 170K 12,000 miles on tires

While driving on the Interstate about three weeks ago, I had the good fortune of riding about five seconds behind a car ahead of me that inexplicably slowed to about 20 mph. I had looked away distractedly for a near fateful moment, and when I refocused I slammed on my brakes to prevent a collision. Thankfully, I avoided an accident, but left a good portion of my tires on the pavement and in a cloud of smoke that surrounded my car.

I figured that the spots would wear themselves into round eventually, but now it seems like the vibration caused by the flat spots may be worse than before. The tires are relatively new (<12,000 miles) and of decent quality (BF Goodrich).

Did I do permanent damage? Could I have shaken up belts in all four tires? Is there anything I can do to preserve/save the tires?

Thanks for your advice.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-05-12, 08:05 PM
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I would start by having them re-balanced and see what that might do. Did you buy from a shop that provides free rotation and as required re-balance for the life of the tires? If you didn't have them recently rotated have that done also. Both front straight back to rear and rears cross diagonal to front. With 60 - 70% percent of the braking focused on the front tires these would have taken the most abuse. When the shop re-balances all 4, have them check for any significant out of round also, but you may be still OK and be good to go with just a balance. In this case it is not only about the hard stop, but also the stickiness and hardness or softness of the rubber compound used in the manufacturing process. Every tire model can have a different mix and therefore different performance and durability characteristics.
 
  #3  
Old 01-05-12, 08:07 PM
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Are you saying that your anti lock brakes didnt work and you slid flat spots on your tires? If thats the case you will never "wear" them back round. If you cant find someone with a tire truer you may have to replace them.
 
  #4  
Old 01-05-12, 08:40 PM
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I'd have to pay to have the wheels balanced. I can rotate them myself. The tires are directional, so the only rotation I can do is front to rear. All four tires are the same and were replaced simultaneously. They were rotated last about 6000 miles ago, so they are due for a rotation anyway.

My Taurus is a base model and has only standard brakes. Who would have a tire truer? Tire shops? Mechanics? Truck repair folks?
 
  #5  
Old 01-05-12, 09:08 PM
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Cost or not you may still need to have the tires re-balanced to at least try and get rid of the vibration problems. If not and you drive with vibration the added suspension/steering wear will cost alot more than the attempt to re-balance. I am thinking right or wrong that your tires are still ok, and just need balancing. Only guessing without seeing. These days not often do you hear about tire truing, but a long established tire shop would likely have the equipment to get it done. Having the skill available is another story. Where I live they focus on selling new and getting you in and out the door.
 
  #6  
Old 01-06-12, 07:08 AM
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Take the car to a shop - if you have worn flat spots on the tires, they will need to be replaced. If the tires appear fine, you have a different issue which needs to be addressed and balancing is a good place to start.
 
  #7  
Old 01-06-12, 07:44 AM
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I've seen videos on YouTube of tires being ground down on a machine to remove flat spots. That is the only fix for your problem. Google "flat spot tires" or "grinding flat spots off tires" etc and you'll find the videos.
Yes, the flat spots will vibrate and the vibration will get worse, not better with mileage.
You'll have to balance cost of grinding/rebalancing old tires with cost of replacement.
Good luck.
 
  #8  
Old 01-06-12, 05:52 PM
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I avoided an accident, but left a good portion of my tires on the pavement
I did something similar a few years back on a Ford F-150 pickup. When I had the tires balanced and rotated, the flat spotted tires didn't seem to make any noticeable vibration as long as they were on the rear. At the next rotation those tires came back to the front and the vibration returned.
 
  #9  
Old 01-06-12, 06:48 PM
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As an old timer once said "you can balance a 4x4 block but it wont roll smooth"
 
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