Having slow leaks is an irritating and annoying experience for anyone. It drives people crazy; it is actually a nightmare when you are in a hurry. Also, it is always an annoying challenge as you have to repeat the pumping work week after week, even day. Not so surprising that after a few days, your tire lost more than ten psi and become flat.
When you find yourself in this situation, the first thing will come across your mind will be the mechanic. But, hold on, think it back! If the leak is not so serious, you still can fix it yourself and save some good money.
It is always a good thing to learn as this might happen in a remote location and knowing how to fix a slow leak in a car tire is an essential skill for every driver.
Table of Contents
First and foremost: figure out where the leaks are
In order to fix tire leaks, you have to find it first before you can find the way to seal it and to be honest to figure out the leaks is the hardest step.
To examine the tires and find out the leaks really take time and effort. It is not easy to see it by the naked eyes . This is way most people abandon this mission and leave the job for the mechanics .
Do not worry! There are methods to solve this problem, and in most cases, it works. One way is by hearing the sound and feeling air when you inflate the tires, using soap and water or by submerging the tires in water.
Determine the leaks by pumping the tires up
If you want to do this task without water, this method might be suitable for you. Nevertheless, you will need an air compressor to fill the tire with air.
Do not even think about using a bike pump unless you want to lose weight. This action will require you to pump air in the tire for at least 10 minutes. Also, it will make you exhausted soon, as it is labor-extensive.
In order to locate leaks, your tire needs to be full of air; the air pressure will force the air out. That is the main principle for you to locate the leaks on the tires.
One thing you should never forget is to check the recommended pressure which is printed on the tire. What you should not do is to inflate over the maximum recommended pressure.
Next, you can choose to “diagnose” the flat tires visually. Carefully check on the surface and see whether it has small holes, cuts, or bulging object like nails, glasses, screws…
When you pump up your tires, you should select a quiet place! Why? Because in a silent area, you can hear the hissing sound from the leaks.
Some are extremely hard to recognize and the sound might help you detect the leak faster. Once you hear the sound, you should mark that spot as it is the cause of the leaking air. When hissing air disappears, it will be difficult to spot it again.
You might also locate the leaks with your bear hands. Move your hand along the tires, and do it prudently, you might feel the air getting out. Feeling and hearing is really important if you go with this method.
Finding the leaks with water and soap
By using soap water means that you need to create the mixture of soap and water to figure out the place where air escapes.
Also, the necessary tool you will need is a spray bottle to spray on the tire surface. In the case you do not own one, you can slowly pour the mixture manually on the tire. Always ensure to pour out slowly and the moment you see bubbles you have found the troublemaker.
The bubbles which show you the leaks will continuously appear at the leaking spot.
Spraying a layer of soap and water mixture will give you a chance to see the leaks. This method is the easiest and the favorite of many people.
Locating the air leaks by submerging the tire
First you need to gather the stuff to detach the tire, such as a wrench and a car jack/ lift. Also you will need a pool, tub or any water container that fit the size of your tires.
You should find solid ground to do this work, and that area should not have water, grease, oil to avoid any damage. Your jack and your car can fall anytime, especially when you try to take out the tire on a surface that is not solid and quite slippery. This step is really important for your safety.
After jacking your car up, you can remove the wheel out, and this does not take much effort. If you have not loosened the lugs enough, you should grab the impact wrench and try to loosen it more. Consequently, you can pull the wheel out. The rust might make you slow a little bit, however, do not worry too much about it. Sooner or later, you will detach it; that is just the matter of time.
Now, you will need a pool or a bathtub, or anything that can be used. Put your wheel into the water container and submerge it. It is really important that the wheel totally submerges in water or else you might not see the leaks.
You will see the bubbles appear, as the water blocks all the air around the wheel. In the case you just see the bubble from the tire but can not tell exactly where it is, you should turn to the other side of the tire. This will help you figure out where the air comes from.
Many people will not love this method as it takes more time and require more tools. However this method is really effective and you can see if the problem comes from the valve stem or from some other part of the tire.
Examine if you can fix the tires on your own
Just remember that only small leaks can be repaired and in most cases you will need to let the mechanic deal with it. Also side leaks usually are non repairable and you might think about purchasing a new set of tires if advised by the mechanic.
You can only repair the tire if the puncture in the surface is not too big. Well…So how to define the big one? Many people will want to know. The answer is the puncture should not be more than one-fourth of the diameter of the wheel.
Fix the tire by sealing the leaks
To seal the leaks, the easiest way is to use sealant. It is quick and does not require expert skills or any other tools. To find out what quantity of sealant you should put in, read on the product or follow the manufacturer guide.
Unscrew the valve cap, you will need to add the sealant in the tire just like when you pump the tires up. But do not forget to keep the cap in your pocket, you will not want to lose it . The next thing you need to do is to rotate the wheel to make the sealant fill in the leaks and keep the balance on your tire.
Some people complain that their car normal balance was lost after using sealant. You should consider this problem before attaching sealant in your tires. Also always remember that over 70% of slow leak tires problems are caused by a faulty valve and by simply replacing the valve the problem is solved.