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tire losing air
Posted by: wurm
Date: August 05, 2010 09:26AM
Lots of info via google, but figured it was worth asking here as well.

All my tires seem to be losing a little air over time..maybe a couple of pounds per week. But one in particular seems to lose several pounds every couple of days. I'm about to check with the soapy water routine, but my guess is that it's slow enough I'm not going to find anything. Let me fire off a few questions;

1. I have alloy wheels that have seen better days. They have a fair amount of curb rash and look their age (100k+ miles). Could that be an obvious cause of losing air and if so is the solution to just get new wheels?

2. I checked the valve stem cores and they are all tight. However it would be cheap enough to replace the cores if you think that could be a cause of air loss.

3. If I want to inflate the tires to the proper PSI, and I've already driven on them so that they're no longer "cold", should I let out a bunch of air first rather than just top off? And if so, how much is enough to let out before I refill?

Thanks for any other thoughts as well. This is my day to mess around with this stuff. If I go to a tire shop they'll invariable convince me I need new wheels and/or tires, so I'd like to try the cheap (or free) solutions first.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: Grumpyguy
Date: August 05, 2010 09:32AM
probably the rims aren't allowing a good seal to form



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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: billb
Date: August 05, 2010 09:39AM
I've had to have all the tires removed from alloy rims and have the bead surface corrosion removed , filed and spit-shined- a year after having new tires put on the rims.
I should probably buy new rims - they are starting to look ragged - but not from whacking curbs.
That was on my truck. And just one showed leakage on the outside rim easily accessible - the other three had to be taken off and wait a while for a bubble to slowly form with the tire on it's side.
A shop will probably want 10-25 bucks a tire for a @#$%&. :-)
Figure that into the cost of new rims.
I'm thinking about plain steel rims and hubcaps and maybe not even bother with hub caps. But then I might need farm plates.

I had to replace all the air valves on my tractor tires - one by one they went bad. Cheap easy fix, but not something i expected to have to do. John Deere must have had a bad batch. A little spit showed they were leaking. ( the inner valves weren't just loose - they didn't move easily like new ones did(do))



EDIT:
Don't forget the spare.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2010 09:40AM by billb.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 05, 2010 09:43AM
Third vote for the rims. Aluminum wheels leak more than good 'ol steel wheels. Tire shops usually know how to fix this sort of thing. It's not, alas, something that most people can do themselves unless they have the tire machine.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: August 05, 2010 09:51AM
You might have a bad strut on the suspension of the wheel that's losing more air than the others. That'll do it, and it'll wear out that tire well before the other three, too.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: billb
Date: August 05, 2010 09:52AM
Quote
wurm


3. If I want to inflate the tires to the proper PSI, and I've already driven on them so that they're no longer "cold", should I let out a bunch of air first rather than just top off? And if so, how much is enough to let out before I refill?
.

I find just highway speeds warm up the tire (and the air inside) enough to make a difference
and add 4-5 PSI to the normal cold pressure. That would be my tires and Season / road temp would make a difference, too.

I'd guess the rubber temp would drive the air temp up anyway, so who knows. Best thing is to check pressures while on a trip and document changes ahead of time. Course you could also get a temperature gauge and get all scientific about it.
I have a air compressor in the garage, so can check mine cold.


If you are on the way home ( air at gas station ? )5 pounds extra and then check them after sitting in the driveway is probably the best bet.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: wurm
Date: August 05, 2010 09:58AM
Thanks for all the quick replies. I've been keeping my eyes open for new rims, and even checked Tire Rack for new steelies and tires. Cost is reasonable, but shipping is a killer. I suppose I could check my Subaru dealer for prices of wheels. Maybe I should keep these alloys and use them with some snow tires, then just get a set of new rims for my 3-season tires.

Any way I look at it, I see dollar signs.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 05, 2010 10:08AM
Without submerging the tires in water or doing the soapy water thing after removing them, it's impossible to rule out damage to the tire.

Alloy wheels will oxidize where they aren't painted and the bead will lose airtight integrity over time. And they are don't hold air nearly as steel rims.

Two pounds per week is a *lot* of air to lose, in my experience. Maybe it's because I'm in the SF/East Bay Area where temperatures aren't extreme.

The odd tire could have damage, or the rim could be damaged. Or it could just need cleaning.



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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: decay
Date: August 05, 2010 10:12AM
try putting your car into uneedapart.com and get some internet quotes for wheels/rims.

i got a pair of used wheels shipped from Ohio to PA for $70.
dealer cost would have been $100 each.



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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: mikebw
Date: August 05, 2010 10:13AM
The original alloys on my 87' Cressida do lose some air over time, one wheel in particular seems to be worse. The last time got new tires the guy mentioned some corrosion and how he brushed it down and used some sealant to help it out, but I suppose it would need to be really polished down to bare metal for the best seal.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: Rolando
Date: August 05, 2010 02:18PM
Get a can of fix a flat. Use it on the tire. Run your car for a while. Then have the air drained and replaced. The fix a flat will form a seal for ya.
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Re: tire losing air
Date: August 05, 2010 07:18PM
Check local shops to see how much it would cost to have the alloy rims powder-coated, that would solve corrosion problems and associated air loss.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: davester
Date: August 05, 2010 07:33PM
I can't believe that some people are suggesting buying rims without first determining the cause of the problem. The high loss tire needs to be dismounted, inflated to maximum, then submerged to find out where the air is leaking. As Ramd@d said, there's no way to tell whether it is a tire or rim problem at this point.




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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: DewGuy
Date: August 05, 2010 08:46PM
I don't have any experience with alloy wheels, but with my experience with steel wheels the following could be the problem:

  • Bent wheel
  • Corrosion on wheel edges
  • Leaking valve stem cap
  • Leaking valve stem
  • Puncture in the tread of the tire (repairable)
  • Puncture in the side wall of the tire (not-repairable)
  • Leaking tire sidewall (with older tires also not-repairable)
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: space-time
Date: August 05, 2010 09:32PM
Quote
wurm
...

Any way I look at it, I see dollar signs.

how about a 12V $20-30 compressor power from the cigarette socket, and keep that in the car at all times? not that I would want to inflate wheels in a cold winter night, but if cost is an issue, that would be the cheapest option... just something else to consider.

YMMV (pun intended!)
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: Plumbking
Date: August 05, 2010 10:15PM
Rims LOL.

Quote
RAMd®d
Two pounds per week is a *lot* of air to lose
agree smiley

Dude, pull the nails out and repair.

Home Depot sells tire repair kits for $5. My fleet has been repaired many times.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: Carm
Date: August 05, 2010 11:12PM
Check your tires for leaks. Take them off and use soap test or dunk them. Soap test works fine for me most of the time. I had a small leak that would lose 2 - 5 lbs a week. I finally found the nail hole, it was well hidden.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: mikebw
Date: August 05, 2010 11:50PM
Quote
space-time
Quote
wurm
...

Any way I look at it, I see dollar signs.

how about a 12V $20-30 compressor power from the cigarette socket, and keep that in the car at all times? not that I would want to inflate wheels in a cold winter night, but if cost is an issue, that would be the cheapest option... just something else to consider.

YMMV (pun intended!)

I keep a nice Goodyear branded air pump in my car all the time. Can never be too sure.
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Re: tire losing air
Posted by: wurm
Date: August 06, 2010 10:07PM
Well, I did order this last week and received it a couple of days ago, so I'm covered for the time being. But I do think it's time for a dunk test.
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