how to locate the tire air leak

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by AndyL, May 10, 2006.

  1. AndyL

    AndyL Guest


    It is minor leak, at most a few PSI per day.
    It is not a valve, changed it for a new one and there is no improvement.
    It is random, one day the tire loses 5PSI, other it stays the same.
    It is temperature changes dependent as it seems that it develops when
    there is a significant weather change.

    And it is annoying :-(

    Any clue how to pinpoint it?

    Thx, Andy
    AndyL, May 10, 2006
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  2. AndyL

    j Guest

    First, the whole process will be infinitely smoother with the wheel of
    the car. Once you've removed the wheel, slowly pour a soapy water
    mixture over the tread as you roll the tire. You will be looking for
    bubbles as air escapes from the wounded tire. If you don't find a leak
    in the tread, pour the soapy water around the area where the wheel/tire
    meet. Sometimes, the bead may not be properly seated. If this still
    fails to identify the source of the leak, and even though you've
    replaced the valve, maybe you should then check the valve stem.

    Good luck!

    j, May 10, 2006
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  3. Good advice.
    I'll just add that I have read of folks who needed an alloy wheel
    'sealed' on the inside due to the pressurized air actually seeping
    through too porous casting!

    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, May 10, 2006
  4. AndyL

    KLS Guest

    This is what my mechanic does when he puts tires on my alloy wheels.
    KLS, May 10, 2006
  5. AndyL

    Edward Hayes Guest

    Really really small leaks can be found by raising the tire pressure to
    the max found on the tire sidewall and then submerging the tire
    completely under water.
    Edward Hayes, May 10, 2006
  6. AndyL

    markansas859 Guest

    happened to me. went to tire store, they put in some kind of sealer, aired
    it up, and ran it on the balancer 3-4 times.... was okay after that
    markansas859, May 10, 2006
  7. AndyL

    Sheldon Guest

    Aside from all the other good posts, if it's a front tire you can turn the
    wheel all the way to one side. If it's a rear tire you will have to get it
    off the car. Slowly rotate the wheel and very carefully look for any nails
    or screws or staples or whatever. Remember, if it's a nail or a screw the
    head may have been ground off by driving the car. If you plan on fixing it
    yourself go for it. If you plan on taking it to someone else to fix it DO
    NOT remove the object. Whatever is in there is plugging the hole to some
    extent allowing you to drive on it.

    BTW, most places don't charge that much to fix a flat, and they have a tank
    to submerge the tire in to look for leaks.

    If, by any chance, the leak is in the sidewall you will need a new tire(s).
    Sheldon, May 10, 2006
  8. This would be a good place to remind folks their tires' circunferences
    should be VERY close to the same. Subaru recommends within 1/4" , So,
    one new tire put on with 3 old tires should be 'shaved' to the same
    cricumference. In some cities only a 'speed shop' will have that
    equipment. The alternative? Buy 4 tires.

    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, May 11, 2006
  9. AndyL

    Ed P Guest

    How old & how many miles on car? My '96 Outback has a chronic problem
    with air leakage at the tire bead-wheel interface. Local tire shop has
    attempted to correct problem but without total success. At present 2 of
    my 4 wheels leak slowly.

    You can best observe this or diagnose any slow leak by taking wheel off
    car, pumping it up to specs or a little above and spraying a soapy
    cleaner on the tire. Even a slow leak will show bubbles forming.

    Ed P
    Ed P, May 11, 2006
  10. AndyL

    pheasant Guest

    I had the same symptoms on a front tire about a year ago; after doing the
    water and soap bit at home, spit on the valve stem, submerging the entire
    thing in a tank to no avail, had it dismounted, and found the tire's inner
    liner/casing whatever it's called had a few cracks in it, so the leak was so
    slow was impossible to diagnose. Replaced the tire, and no more troubles.
    It was a first for me in 30 years.

    In hindsight, a can of that goopy sealer may have taken care of it, but the
    boys at the tire shop tell me how they detest working on tires that have it
    in. Being it's just an around town car, I opted for the better fix.

    Which brings up a question I've pondered, but never acted on. Daughter
    attends a college 400 miles from home, I've oft thought about throwing a can
    of it in each of her tires, but for the same reason as above, never have.
    What's the groups thinking on it's use?

    pheasant, May 11, 2006
  11. Hi,

    I've used it in wheels that tended to "leak" even w/o damaged tires--see
    notes above on porous alloy wheels. It seemed to help. I've also used it
    for "emergencies" when picking up a nail far from home to keep things
    sealed until a tire shop could be found. One thing to remember is the
    life expectancy of at least some brands is around two years. So after a
    couple of years, some mfrs advise putting another tube of "goo" in the
    tire to "refresh" what's in there. I've never had balance problems w/
    just one tube, but I don't know if a second would add enough weight to
    be concerned about.

    On the subject of tire shops hating the stuff: most of these sealers are
    water-based, so I follow the advice my brother-in-law's tire guy gave
    him, "Just tell us the stuff's in there BEFORE we start working on your
    tire. That way we'll know to just wash it out when the tire comes off
    the wheel."

    Rick Courtright, May 11, 2006
  12. I've heard the same as Rick says - if you use it, warn the tire shop.
    Personally, I don't like the stuff. I prefer a plugging kit and 12 volt

    Michael Pardee, May 12, 2006
  13. AndyL

    pheasant Guest

    Me too, but a teenaged girl ain't gonna want to attempt to plug one on the
    side of the road. ;)

    Have to chuckle about the plugging response, I worked my way through school
    30 years ago in a service station; (no self serve back then) and plugging
    was what we did for about 75% of our tire repair. Hoo Boy!! I got flamed
    big time for doing unsafe repairs, (30 years later!) and yet, I don't ever
    remember anyone coming back saying the plug let go on the interstate causing
    a crash, or even in town making it go flat again. My how times/thinking

    I still have a kit in the garage, and have one of Momma's vans tires still
    holding air about 3 years after a home done job. Maybe not the Tire
    Institute's preferred way, but works for me. Ain't gonna sue myself.
    pheasant, May 13, 2006
  14. AndyL

    Sheldon Guest

    I would say you can do all the physics you want, but a "modern" tire plug
    installed correctly is not going to fly out of the tire. However, you
    should probably lower the speed rating of the tire one notch if it's not
    repaired from the inside.
    Sheldon, May 13, 2006
  15. Yup!

    You'll probably remember they were recapping radial tires back then,
    too? When's the last time anyone talked about that?

    Some changes are due to changes in technology, some just marketing,
    others I blame on an education system that turns out so many "brain
    dead" individuals who can't follow instructions and procedures, though
    posts here make it sound like they generally end up at quickie-lube
    places instead of tire shops. And then there are the lawyers...
    NOTHING'S "my fault" or "well, stuff happens" anymore, there's gotta be
    someone to sue whenever life's not "just perfect." Look at the
    Firestone-Explorer debacle a few years back: running 26 psi in a tire on
    a vehicle like that just "doesn't sound right" from the get go, but
    let's assume it IS safe. IF the tire's kept at 26 psi, that is?
    Considering all the "tests" I've seen written up in car mags over the
    years about the percentage of underinflated tires in whatever parking
    lot they chose to check, I wonder how many of those tires that let go
    had really been run at 20 psi or similar low pressures for weeks, maybe
    months, before they failed?

    Yes, it's sad that people died, but as a buddy started teaching his
    daughter at a very early age, "People die from doing stupid stuff." He
    told a story on her when she was around seven or so: she was watching
    the news across the room from where he was working, and the story had to
    do with someone being killed. "Honey, what are they talking about?" "Oh,
    somebody died." "What happened?" "Oh, Daddy, you know. They did
    something stupid!"

    So owner negligence suddenly becomes manufacturer liability? What a

    Hope you get a BIG settlement if you change your mind and sue yourself!

    Rick Courtright, May 13, 2006
  16. AndyL

    AndyL Guest

    thx for all the hints but I have to wait unitl tonight since the car was
    in almost non-stop usage.

    I took off the wheal and poured some soapy water all around the bread
    and the valve. nothin, than I noted that almost in the middle of the
    actual tire there are small boubles comming out. looked closer, indeed
    there is a smal puncture. Will take it to Walmart tommorow.

    thx again, A.
    AndyL, May 23, 2006
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