Having a flat tire is inconvenient, and can be a safety issue if the air leaves the tire while you are driving the car. Blowouts and flats that leave the tire unusable typically mean replacing the tire with a new one, but when you have one that keeps slowly losing air, dealing with tire repair is sometimes more challenging.
Finding The Leak
Before fixing a slow air leak, you have to determine where the air is leaking from. It can be hard to determine what is causing the issue, and taking the vehicle to a tire repair shop is an excellent place to start.
The tire shop tech will check the tire carefully, looking for a sharp object in the tread or a hole along the tire's sidewall. Often slow leaks start around a screw, nail, or another object in the tire tread, and the leak will get worse as the object moves and creates a bigger hole in the tire.
If the tech can find the screw or other object, they can remove it from the tire and repair the puncture with a rubber plug. The plug is forced into the hole and has glue on it that causes the tire plug and the tire to bond, filling the hole and stopping the leak. However, if there is no obvious puncture, the repair can be more challenging, and the tech will need to check other areas of the tire for the cause.
Another common area for tires to develop slow leaks is the area around the inside of the tire where it meets the wheel. This area, called the bead, seals the tire to the wheel, so if a leak develops there, the tire will go flat slowly.
Often a rock or other small debris can get into the bead and create a tiny opening that allows air to pass the rim, and the result is a low tire that requires adding air every few days. If your vehicle has steel wheels, rust can develop around the bead if the tech at the tire repair shop scratched the wheel when mounting the tires.
A leak around the bead often requires breaking down the tire and cleaning the bead surface inside the rim and on the tire, then reinstalling the tire to create a new seal. If the seal still leaks, you may have a wheel with damage to it, and the solution could be to replace the wheel or to add some sealant to the rim and tire just before reinflating the tire.
The sealant may work and last for the tire's lifespan, but if there is wheel damage, it is a good idea to replace the wheel when you can find a new one for your car or truck.
For more information, visit a tire shop near you.Share