Common Causes And Useful Solutions For A Leaky Tire

by IndianAuto Team | 05/02/2019
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There are many irritating issues that can lead you to road rage, and a leaky tire is one of them. Knowing the causes and solutions of this tricky and annoying problem can save you a lot of time and strength. Therefore, IndianAuto would like to give you useful information about how to locate and treat flat or leaky tires.

Also readHow To Choose Tyres For Your Car Wisely

Possible causes that make a tire slowly leak

Wheel Issues

a car valve stem

You should frequently check your car's valve stem

There are two main problems in term of wheels:

Bad valve stem

  • Valve stems degrade and cause air leak overtime because they are exposed to a lot of environmental chemical substances. When a tire cannot hold its inner air and starts to leak 1-3 psi per month, it’s time to change a new one. Besides, tightening the valve cores too much might also result in the leak.

  • Damaged or bent wheels.
    Because of corrosion or road accidents, a car wheel can be bent and loses its round shape, which may lead to air leak. If the damage is around the valve or the rim, the situation may be worse. What is more, serious bent wheels will make the vehicle unbalanced, do harm to the tires’ beads, and, of course, contribute more to the air leaks.

Whenever you face these issues, try to visit a mechanic and check whether you can fix the damaged wheel/valve or purchase a new one.

Tire Damage

damaged tires

Damaged tires can loose air easily

Besides wheel issues, punctured tires can be very tricky and irritating:

  • Damaged by Nails/Needles
    These things are the main causes of your sudden flat tires on the road. How do you know your tires are punctured? Simply, when you start to feel unbalanced and your car cannot accelerate as fast as usual, all you have to do is to check whether there is a needle (or if you’re unlucky, many needles) on your car’s wheels. If the nails are too small, they won’t make your tires flat immediately, but they will cause the air leak at the rate of 2-3 psi per day. However, nothing is more severe than knowing there is a needle on one of your tire and leave it there. This will result in more holes on the tire as the wheel keeps rolling, and you have to replace it rather than repair it.

  • Bead damage
    The rubber part of a tire that connects it and the metal rim of a wheel is called bead and it can be worn out together with the tire because of time. Consequently, when this ageing process of the tire occurs long enough, the bead will be torn and tiny debris enters into the worn-out part and worsens the condition. As time passes by, the bead starts opening windows for the air inside the tire to slowly leak out.

  • Damaged by road hazards
    Driving over curbs or large potholes in India may bend the tire and make it lose air. Luckily enough, if there is no harm to the wheel, you can re-inflate the tire and continue driving. However, unfortunately, if there is damage like a puncture or a bent rim, inflating won’t help.

Sometimes, inflating will help you prolong the leaky issue so that you can get to a mechanic for an inspect. However, if the condition is too problematic and severe, try to stop and call a mechanic.

Temperature Change

a vector thermometer

Changes in temperature can wear out tires gradually

As a matter of fact, a tire loses approximately 2% of its air volume by every 10°F drop and vice versa. Therefore, depending on the sizes of the tires, the losing volume will vary. To be more specific, small family cars will lose or gain 1 psi while that figure on buses may increase to 2 psi every 10°F drop. If you let your car outside for a cold night and observe slightly soft tires, don’t be rushed into inflating them as they may gain back their volume when the temperature starts to increase in the afternoon. However, if you store your car in the garage for too long, you may want to re-inflate it as air can leak very slowly through the space between the rubber molecules.

Fortunately enough, there are some solutions to this problem.

Finding the air leaks

soapy water on a tire's side

Using soapy water is an excellent way to find a leak

Fortunately, you can locate the air leaks in some ways.

  • Use your senses
    Your senses can do a lot! If there is a hole caused by nails on your tire, you can focus to hear the hissing sound of the air coming from the inside of the tire. Then, use your multifunctional hand to feel the exact holes! Keep in mind that the leaky holes are usually a bit hotter than the rest of the tires.

  • Use soapy water
    Spray soapy water on the tire and its rim’s edge will help, too. But first, apply it on the valve stem then spray around the edges of the rim, tread, and sidewalls. Magically, bubbles will appear wherever the leak is! Nevertheless, this hack may need up to 5 minutes to locate a leak.

  • Press the wheel into the water
    Like the traditional method of finding leaky holes on motorcycle wheels, you just need to remove the re-inflated wheel out of your car and press it into the water! The leaky holes will begin to release tiny magical bubbles and accidentally reveal themselves. For the best result, wait for a couple minutes to find all the leaks and then turn to the other side.

Also readAll you need to know about car tyre maintenance

Maintaining Appropriate Inflation

a man is inflating a car tire

Make sure you keep your tire properly inflated

  • Check your car’s tires routinely
    Check the air pressure/volume in the tires once or twice a week to ensure whether there are any leaky tires.

  • Check the tire depending on the temperature
    As stated above, your tires’ air volumes change according to temperature shifts. Therefore, check them when the weather is cold or when you let it under the sun for more than 2 hours.

  • You can purchase a calibrated pressure gauge to precisely determine the condition of your tires’ pressure.

All in all, keeping your tires full of air will ensure your safety on the road and we hope you get useful tips in this article. Besides, stay tuned! There are more interesting articles like this if you click here!

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