Why Do Car Tires Go Flat When Not Used?

Why Do Car Tires Go Flat When Not Used?

Because of the current status of the world, your car is probably sitting inside a garage, wearing its tires and waiting for better days. But some fail to realize that leaving the tires on for too long can cause potential issues, even if you are not driving it. So, how can a tire deteriorate when it is sitting idly? 

Leaving the tires on an unused car can cause flat spots because of the weight of the car. When stationary, the entire weight of the car pushes down on one particular area of each tire. The tires are also not completely airtight, which can lead to pressure loss over a long period. 

Taking care of your tires is essential for reducing the risk of road accidents. And knowing how to store the tires properly is part of that maintenance. That is exactly what we are going to be discussing in this article. 

What Happens When You Leave the Tires on for Too Long? 

Why Do Car Tires Go Flat When Not Used?

On the surface, parking your car in one spot may seem fairly innocuous, especially if it is inside a garage or repair shop. There is no stress that comes with driving, no threat of puncture from debris or obstacles on the road. Yet, you can still end up with a flat tire. And there are a couple of reasons as to why. 

The Weight of the Car 

Cars are extremely heavy pieces of machinery. When you store it in one place, you are not taking apart all of its components and putting them separately. And all of this pressure directly falls onto the tires. 

At any given time, the tire touches the ground in one single spot. And at that exact moment, that one spot feels all of the pressure at once. Now, when you are driving the car, the area of contact is constantly changing. So, the pressure cannot build on one particular area of the tire. 

But when the car sits in one place with the tires one, the pressure does not relent. Typically, car tires have to be incredibly strong and durable. But there is a limit to any device or hardware. And if given enough time, the weight of a stationary car will most likely cause flat spots to appear. 

Of course, if the car is loaded with other materials for storage purposes, that will just add on even more weight. As such, the flat spots will appear much quicker and may even become permanent. 

Sometimes the flat spot is temporary and you can get it fixed by a mechanic. If it is more serious, you may just have to buy a brand new one. 

Loss of Air Pressure 

Car tires are adept at keeping the air inside of them intact. But the rubber on these tires is not airtight. Meaning the tiny air particles can still get out. This happens very gradually so you will not feel its effects any time soon. But it is something that does happen. 

This is a completely natural thing for tires to do. Leave your tires out in the open and it will slowly start to lose air. Tiny bumps and bruises that the tires regularly incur can also fasten this process. 

Now, for the tire to carry the car’s weight properly, it has to be at optimum pressure. So, when it reaches a low enough pressure, the car will simply flatten the tires.  

This is why should inflate your tires as part of regular car maintenance. Or at least check the tire pressure every time you bring it to the shop. 

Why Is a Flat Tire Dangerous? 

Why Do Car Tires Go Flat When Not Used?

 You should never drive a car with a flat tire or even one that is low on pressure. Because both of these can lead to poor handling and road accidents. 

The tires are the things that provide traction between the car and the road. When you operate your steering wheel, you effectively control the movement of the tires to change direction. Without adequate traction, the tires cannot grip the road surface properly. This causes the tires to “slip” and sends the entire car into an uncontrollable motion. 

Now, the capacity of the tires to perform depends largely on the air pressure inside them. If the pressure is too low, you will not be able to steer it properly. And if you lose control of the car in a bad situation, like driving on a highway or taking a steep turn, a fatal accident is almost inevitable. 

Plus, flat tires are often a result of punctures or small bruises. And driving the car with the flat tire still on aggravates the problem further. This can end up damaging the brake lines or suspensions and ultimately end in a car crash. 

So, driving on a flat tire can potentially cost you a lot of money and even your life. 

How to Avoid Flat Tires When Not Driving  

To prevent the flat spots from appearing, you should try to move the car around once a week. Even if it is for a minute, this will still prevent any one spot to become too deflated. 

If you are sure that your car is going to remain unused for a significant time, you should take off the tires and store them separately. Preferably, you should place the tire in a cool, dry area and away from the sun. 

Also, do not pack your cars with excess materials that will only increase their weight. Keep it as light as possible when storing it. 

Make sure that the tires are properly inflated before you hit the road. If you see any visible flat spots or bumps, consider visiting the local repair shop.  


Tires are a vital part when it comes to the safety of you and your vehicle. So, make sure that you maintain them properly, even when you are not driving them.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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