What Is Causing Your Slow Tire Leak?

flat tire

Slow tire leaks can have a variety of causes, but they may creep up on you quickly and compromise your safety on the road. Understanding the causes and diagnosis will help keep you safe. If you believe you have a slow leak in your tire or if your tire is losing air, it’s time to call Big Chief Tire to patch you up at one of our four Jacksonville tire stores. Our tire repair services will keep you rolling. 

What Causes a Slow Leak in a Tire?

Most slow tire leaks are caused by gradual wear and tear on your vehicle from exposure to natural elements. However, there are numerous risks to be aware of to avoid tire damage. 

Tire Puncture

If your tire becomes punctured on the road, you might expect it to go flat immediately. However, in most cases, items that puncture tires remain lodged in the grooves of the tire, allowing air to release very slowly. That’s especially true with small punctures. Therefore, many people don’t realize their tire is leaking air. It is crucial to address tire punctures as soon as they occur, when you notice them, to avoid more costly tire damage down the road. 

Wheel Damage 

Slow tire leaks can also be caused by damage to the wheel. This damage typically takes place in the area where the tire bed contacts the tire rim. It is often caused by hitting curbs, accelerating over speed bumps, or even driving over potholes. These types of impacts on your tires can deform the wheel’s metal surface due to your tire pulling away from the wheel’s surface. 

Valve Stem Damage 

Valve stems are a component of your tire that allows it to inflate and deflate. Due to elements like weather or debris, valve stems can become worn out or damaged. This can result in leaks as your tire loses its ability to retain air. 

How to Find a Leak in a Tire

If your tire is losing air, you need to find the cause and take action as soon as possible. That’s the only way to avoid more severe tire damage or higher repair costs. You can take different measures to help determine if there’s a leak and what the cause may be.

Check the TPMS sensor  

The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) gauges the amount of air in your tires. If your TPMS is lit, it may indicate that one of your tires is deflated. Re-inflate your tires and observe the TPMS sensor for the next week. If the light reappears, you are most likely dealing with a slow leak. 

Use water 

If you aren’t able to read your TPMS sensor, you can simply use water and liquid soap to test. Mix the liquid soap with water in a spray bottle and spray the entirety of the tire. While you do this, look for a spot where bubbles from the soapy water begin forming. This is how you know where the puncture is on the tire. 

Manual pressure readings 

Even if your car has a TPMS sensor, it is still important to manually check your tire pressure weekly. If you consistently notice that one of your tires constantly has lower pressure, you are most likely dealing with a slow leak. 

How to Fix a Slow Leak in a Tire

Once you detect a leak, your next step should be to call your local Jacksonville tire shop. It is important to address the issue immediately to avoid driving in unsafe conditions or putting your vehicle at risk for more severe damage. 

Some vehicles may also require a valve replacement if their leak was caused by valve stem damage. If the puncture is relatively small and caught early, it may be repaired using plugs or patches. Patches are typically used for smaller holes, whereas bigger holes require plug insertion. When performed by a professional, plugs and patches can be permanent solutions. 

In some cases, a patch is only a temporary solution, and tire replacement may be necessary. This is typically recommended if the tire cannot be patched, which is why it is best to solve the issue before the damage worsens. It is recommended that the entire tire be replaced if holes are located near the tire’s sidewall. 

Make an Appointment at Big Chief Tire in Jacksonville, FL

Save time and money at a big box dealership and choose Big Chief Tire for all your vehicle repair needs. Our mechanics will provide you with the perfect tire type and size match for your car so you can drive safely and issue-free on the road. Make an appointment today at one of our four Jacksonville locations.

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