Flat spots are the bane of every car enthusiast's existence. They're an ugly reminder of the damage inflicted upon our cherished rides by unfavorable conditions, like prolonged periods of parking on a hard surface, or extended periods of storage. It doesn't take long for flat spots to occur on a tire left stationary for prolonged periods. In fact, according to Edmunds, "...if conditions are right, a month of being stationary might be enough to cause problems." Therefore, classic car owners need to prepare their vehicles carefully before storing them for the winter.
As winter approaches, many classic car owners must face the task of storing their beloved vehicles until spring. However, storing a car for an extended period can cause a variety of issues, especially when it comes to the tires. Flat spots on tires can occur when the vehicle rests on a flat surface for too long, causing the integrity of the tire to be compromised. Here, we'll discuss some general tips on storing your classic car for the winter with a focus on preventing flat spots on your tires.
What Preventative Measures Can I Take to Prevent Flat Spots?
1. Move Your Vehicle Often
One simple (though not very convenient) way to prevent flat spots is by moving your vehicle routinely throughout the storage period, preferably every couple of weeks. The upside is that it is always available to use without having to do much. Downsides: Remembering to move the car. Having to move the car.
2. Put Your Car Up On Blocks or Jacks
The upside of using blocks or jacks to save your tires from flat spots is clear and simple; it works. By lifting your car up, you remove the pressure that's been exerted on the same spot for weeks or months on end, preventing flat spots from “locking in” and causing further damage. This technique has been used by car enthusiasts for decades, and it's a proven way to keep your tires in tip-top shape.
Downsides: For one: inconvenience of using blocks or jacks.
Unless you're lucky enough to have a car hoist or lift in your garage, lifting your car up requires a bit of effort. You need to find the right location for the blocks or jacks, and then you need to carefully and accurately raise the vehicle onto them. For many of us, this process can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience that takes away from the joy of owning a classic car.
Two: Risk of damage.
If you don't properly locate the blocks or jacks or if you use ones that are wrong for your vehicle, you could damage the car's frame or suspension (YIKES!), or worse, cause it to fall off the jacks, which could lead to serious injury or even death (BIGGER YIKES!). So, before attempting to lift your car up, make sure you know what you're doing, or seek the help of a professional who can show you the ropes.
Three: A HASSLE
It's such a hassle when you have a sudden burst of inspiration and decide you want to take your car out for a spin, you'll have to remove the blocks or jacks, and then store them, taking up valuable garage space. This can be a hassle, especially if you're pressed for time.
Once you've put your car up on blocks or jacks, it becomes less stable. If you or someone else accidentally bumps into your car, or if there's an earthquake or other external force, the car could fall off its support structure, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Although using blocks or jacks to save your tires from flat spots is an excellent way to keep your car's wheels in good condition, it can be a hassle, and sometimes dangerous, process. So, before you decide to lift your car up onto blocks or jacks, consider the inconvenience that it causes, the risk of damage to your car, and the stability that it offers.
3. Inflate Your Tires to the Recommended Levels and Check Tire Pressure Often
Regardless of how you store your car, keep an eye on the tire pressure. To ensure tire pressure is not compromised during storage, inflate your tires according to the manufacturer's recommendation before storage. Additionally, check the tire pressure often to avoid overinflation or underinflation that can cause flat spots if stored on a flat surface. Flat spots can occur due to underinflation or overinflation because the structure of the tire is affected, causing them to develop flat spots.
4. Wash Your Tires to Remove Harmful Elements
Before storing your classic car, ensure you wash the tires to remove any harmful elements. Harmful elements like dirt, mud, and road salt can eat away at the tires' rubber, causing it to be brittle and making flat spots more likely. A wash with tire cleaner will help to remove these contaminants, keeping the tires in better condition throughout the storage period.
5. Cover Your Tires with UV-Protectant Covers
Keeping your classic car stored in a covered area is best, but it's not always enough to prevent flat spots on your tires. To keep your tires protected from harmful UV rays, it's essential to use a UV-protectant cover, particularly if stored outside. These covers will also prevent moisture from getting to the tires, which reduces the chances of flat spots occurring. This is also true of keeping moisture from seeping up through the concrete garage floor into the tires, so using tire ramps can also prevent moisture from the bottom up.
6. Use High-Quality Tire Savers
Tire savers cradle your tires to prevent flat spots from forming. Upsides: Very convenient – your car is ready to roll up and over the ramp and take you on a ride. Always there when you need it. Small and inexpensive compared to other options.
Downside: Not all tire savers are created equal. Here’s what to look for when buying tire savers and the benefits of investing in high-quality tire ramps:
Durability: When investing in tire ramps, the first thing to consider is durability. Avoid products made of plastic that can crack with weight, particularly those that are not solid through and through. Often, you can see on the underside of these products that they are made with plastic and are not solid on the bottom. This leads to problems, particularly with the weight of a vehicle sitting on top of cheap plastic. Instead, opt for ramps made of heavy-duty material that won't crush, crack, warp, or slip. If they really are durable, the manufacturer should provide a Lifetime Warranty.
Material: It's also important to consider the material of the tire ramps. Rubber ramps may seem like a good option at first, but they can break down over time just like tires that fade and crack. Look for ramps made of high-quality plastics or metals that are built to last.
Ease of Use: Another factor to keep in mind is ease of use. Some tire savers have a single ramp on one side with a high side on the other, which makes it impossible to drive up and over with all four wheels. Look for ramps that have a flat and even surface on both sides, so you can drive up and over with ease.
Traction: Finally, the underside of the tire ramps should be solid and have a mechanism to prevent sliding when driving up on them. The unique ribbed design on both the top and bottom of high-quality tire ramps prevents them from sliding on the floor and provides traction for the tire. When it comes to protecting your investment, investing in high-quality tire ramps is a small but important step.
By preventing flat spots from forming on your tires during long-term storage, you can help ensure that your classic car is ready to roll when you are. Remember: ENJOY THE RIDE!
You can check out our Park Smart Tire Saver™ for car storage to protect your investment and prevent flat spots from forming during long-term storage. The unique ribbed design on both the top and the bottom prevent the tire ramps from sliding on the floor and provides traction for the tire. The Tire Savers are made of one, solid heavy duty vinyl, are durable and come with a Lifetime Warranty. Save your tires!