Do you have a tire that slowly loses air pressure?
Occasionally a customer will drop their vehicle off with a tire that’s slowly losing air pressure over a period of days or weeks. The tire pressure monitor light is glowing and the customer is tired of adding air. Now it’s up to us to find out why.
By placing the tire in a water dunk tank, you can determine the source of the air leak by looking for bubbles. In this case, the problem is not a leaking air valve (Schrader valve) or a nail. The air bubbles are coming from the tire bead.
It is possible that abrasive or corrosive elements have gotten between the tire and wheel and have eaten away at the wheel’s bead seat. The good news is, it can be repaired! In most cases, the damage is not visible from the outside so we remove the tire from the wheel to get a closer look.
Bead seat corrosion is identified by what appears to be blistering of the wheel finish, causing a rough or uneven surface that makes it difficult for the tire to maintain a proper seal.
If the total area of repairable corrosion is more than eight inches (200 mm), replace the wheel. If the corrosion extends up the lip of the flange and would be visible with the tire mounted, we ask the customer if they are okay with the repair before proceeding.
Most vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend the following repair for leaking wheel bead surfaces. We use a clean-up sanding disc to remove the corrosion and any flaking paint or chrome coating. The corrosion is removed back far enough until good clear material is reached for a stable and firm bonding surface for the tire. Only enough material is removed to eliminate the corrosion from the bead seating surface.
Once the corrosion has been eliminated, the repaired area is coated with a specific wheel bead sealant. This sealant is a black rubber-like coating that will permanently fill and seal the resurfaced bead seat.
Other wheel services that are sometimes required are wheel straightening and in some cases welding a cracked wheel to avoid expensive replacement.
After the work is complete, we remount the tire, test it for leaks and install the repaired wheel and tire assembly back onto the vehicle.
The slow leak is fixed and our customer is happy once again!
If you have a slowly leaking tire or any other issue with your vehicle give us a call and let our experts fix it for you!