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Slow Leak from a tire. Unable to find the cause of the leak

car_noob car_noob
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 01/09
Posted: 01/20/09
01:29 PM

I have a slow leak in one of the tires (7-8 psi over 2 weeks). I've taken the car to 3 different places and everyone said they could not find the leak. They inspected the tire and the valve stem and still found no leak. What else could be the problem? I'm getting tired of having to fill up the air in the tire every 2 weeks now  Frown  Any suggestion would be appreciated!  

waynep712 waynep712
Enthusiast | Posts: 651 | Joined: 10/08
Posted: 01/20/09
01:47 PM

some leaks are really small.... sounds like you have one of those..

wheels can also leak...  through welds,

sometimes you have to have the tire removed and the inside inspected for tiny nails...   have a new stem sure they lube the tire bead when they are taking it off and putting it on...

you did not say what kind of rims...    many steel rims can get rusty..  even on the inside..    aluminum rims can also leak through the aluminum... most are sealed...

try to find a tire shop that has a tire tank large enough to sink the entire tire and wheel into.. some older shops even have a crossbar to keep the tire submerged...

you can spray it with bubble solution or diluted dish soap and watch and wait for bubbles  to emerge..  that slow.. don't expect much...   if you don't find it on the outside...  you may have to take the tire off the car and lay it flat...  front.. then back.. then walk it along.. really slow... while spraying it with the soap...

makes me want to sing.. tiny bubbles...  

dkatnik dkatnik
User | Posts: 74 | Joined: 10/08
Posted: 01/23/09
02:06 PM

If the tire is loosing air, there is a leak.  While alot of shops simply dont want to take the time necessary to to find those very slow, pesty leaks, there is hope. As stated, leaks can come from not only punctures, but from the wheels and valves.  Certain valve stems are currently being recalled for the rubber cracking.  This could be a cause and can be replaced for a couple bucks.  Wheels can leak also weather they are steel or alloy.  Steel wheels typically leak at he seam where they are welded together.  Alloy wheels being a one piece casting (for the most part) can leak from a pinhole (casting defect) or where the tire "bead" meets the wheel.  In colder climates this particular issue gets worse do to the constant freezing and thawing of any water/moisture that might be inside the tire.  Each time you fill your tire with air you are also adding small amounts of moisture.  If this moisture gets between the rim and the bead of the tire, then freezes (and expands) it can interupt the seal created by the tires bead area.  Add more air, the problem gets worse...the cycle continues until the tire is flat.  Lastly, lets not forget about the tire itself. Punctures of a very small object can be really tough to find. Soapy water in a spray bottle is the ticket here. As already mentioned in another post, remove tire and wheel assy from the car.  Lay it flat on the ground and spray it down with the soapy water.  Take your time and examine the tire very slowly for any bubbles.  Do this on one side then flip the assy over and check the other side.  It may be necessary to perform this test at both low pressure (8-10 psi) as well a high pressure (35-45 psi).  Repeat the process with tire standing straight up and spraying it while you slowly roll it.  Dont forget to mark the tire so you know where you started....good luck.  As I stated, the time involved to find a really slow leak is exactally why alot of shops cant find them.  

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