Is It Safe To Drive With a Slow Leak In Tire?
It is safe to drive short distances with a slow leak in your tire. HOWEVER, doing this could possibly make the hole on your tire bigger. If it makes your hole bigger this could potentially cause you to have an unrepairable tire. Really your hole should never be bigger than the tire plug itself.
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If you drive to long on the damaged tire, this may force you to buy a new tire. If you’re not careful your tire will leak out all of its air and your tire will go flat while driving. Driving on a flat tire will damage the tire because the rim will grind down the tire. This process could cause you to have a bent rim.
Questions to Answer Before Attempting to Patch Your Tire
There are three ways to go about a leaking tire. You can put your spare on and buy a new tire, keep airing your tire up with a portable tire inflator, or patch the hole. Instead of constantly having to stop and fill your tire with air, the safest option would be to fix your tire with a professional tire plug kit.
But, first you need to determine if your tire is even safe to fix. The questions below will allow you to see if you have unrepairable tires or if you can even fix your leaking tire.
Be able to answer these questions before attempting to stop the slow leak in your tire:
- Does the tire have cupping?
- Does the tire have a separation?
- Is the tire too old to fix?
- Does the tire have sidewall bubbles or is the hole to close sidewall?
- Does the tire have too low of tread depth to fix?
- Do you know how and when to use a professional tire plug kit?
- Has the tire been driven on a long distance while flat?
Making sure your tires won’t lose air is a safety precaution. Order a professional plug kit now! Everyone should have a kit in their car. You may not think you need a tire plug kit, but then bam! Reality strikes. You picked up a nail in your tire.
How to Find a Slow Leak in a Tire
Do you have a punctured tire or a nail in your tire? If you have a slow leak in your tire and are unable to find the tire leak, you should spray your inflated tire with soapy water. After you spray the entire tire, look for any place(s) that are bubbling, this will indicate where the tire leak is coming from.
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If your tire has a puncture on the shoulder or sidewall it can NOT be repaired. This means your tire is now a bad tire and needs to be replaced. Also, if your tire’s puncture hole is larger than 3/8 of an inch in diameter, the repair is NOT possible. Need a new tire?
Sometimes your tire could be leaking from a broken valve stem or defective valve core. Spray the stem and valve core with soapy water to see if either leaks. If one or both is leaking, you will need a new valve stem or a new valve core as well as the tool to pull them out.
Time needed: 5 minutes.
How to find a slow leak in tire.
- Fill Spray Bottle with Soapy Water
The more soap the better.
- Inflate Tire
Tire does not have to be at recommended PSI for test to work.
- Spray Entire Tire with Soapy Water
Tire can remain on vehicle.
- Excess Bubbles Will Form Where Puncture is Located
Bubbles will grow where hole is located.
Removing a Broken Valve Stem or Valve Core
Before you can remove a tire from its rim, you have to let the air out of the tire. Replacing a valve stem is easy. All you need to do is let the air out of your tire, break the top bead of your tire and screw your valve stem remover tool onto the valve stem and pull it out.
If your valve core is leaking all you will need is a valve core remover tool to unscrew it from your valve stem. This is the same method you use to let the air out of your tire(s). Replacing damaged valve cores has never been easier than with Slime’s 4 way valve remover tool!
How Low is Too Low for Tire Pressure
Any tire pressure is too low if it is lower than what the tire pressure sticker says. It’s not going to hurt if your tire pressure is a little low. However, if driven on for too long this can damage your tire.
Riding on low tire pressure will wear out the edges of your tires, while riding on flat tires will destroy your tire. If you are riding on over inflated tires, this will wear out your center tread really fast.
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So, the moral of the story is keep your tires PSI correct. Please be sure to keep your tires inflated with a portable air pump.
Do not let your TPMS light stay on. If you don’t have a TPMS system, be sure to check your tire pressure every time you stop for gas. If you are noticing you constantly have to inflate the same tire, try to figure out why your tire pressure is leaking.
Do I Have a Slow Leak or is it the Weather?
Did you know tire pressure will drop in winter time due to the cold air? On the other hand, in the summer, tire pressure will increase due to the hot air.
Additionally, tire pressure will slightly increase from the start of your drive to the end of your drive no matter the weather conditions. This increase in pressure is due to the expansion of air particles within your tire as they heat up from the constant contact with the road.
In short, having the correct tire pressure is part of car safety, don’t ignore it or else you may be the next one having to buy a new tire.
Check out our tire pressure chart for different tire PSI considering weather conditions. This chart will increase your tire’s life span. (If used properly)
How to Deflate a Tire
In order to deflate a tire, you need a valve core remover tool. Or you can just stab a nail in your tire, I’m just kidding, don’t do that. Stabbing your tire is dangerous and is something you should never do.
A valve core remover is a tiny screwdriver like object that’s specifically made for pulling out the valve core in your valve stem.
They also make a tool that screws on to your valve stem to release the air, this tool presses in your valve core to release air. However, this process is much slower than just pulling the valve core out.
Mechanic Mike Says:
“You will need to make sure you replace the valve core you removed before trying to pump your tires back up to the correct pressure.”
If you don’t want to spend money, you can find something to press in your valve core. Please note, you will be standing there a while letting your tire pressure out if you choose to opt out of purchasing the cheap valve core remover tool.
Symptoms of Slow Leak in Tire
If your tire is leaking you need to watch out for these signs, tire looks low, tire is hissing, nail in your tire or other foreign objects, valve stem looks damaged or old.
These symptoms are the key factors in low tire pressure and a leaky tire. Also, note that colder weather will decrease tire(s) pressure and hotter weather will increase your tire(s) pressure. This is because hot air expands and cold air contracts. The same reason your tire pressure will slightly increase from the start of your drive to the end of your drive.
- Tire looks low
- Tire is hissing
- Nail in your tire or other foreign objects
- Valve stem/core looks damaged or old