Question: Dan M. Asks, “Where is the air going in my tires” ?

Well Dan you are definitely losing air from your tires, but where is it going? There are no nails or other objects in your tires causing a leak. Maybe there is someone secretly letting air out of your tires! I can tell you what the problem is and it is a very common condition, especially with aluminum alloy type wheels. Where the tire sealing bead meets the rim is where your problem is, corrosion forms on the rim due to heat and moisture and the sealing surface gets porous. When this happens you will slowly lose air and will be constantly be adding air until the issue is corrected.

Now you may be asking yourself “How does Joe diagnose this condition”? Well the first thing I do is eliminate the possibility of a nail or screw that has punctured the tire. I do this by spraying a mixture of soap and water over the entire tread surface of the tire. Then I make sure that the valve stem or valve stem core is not leaking the same way by spraying soap on it. I will then remove the wheel and tire and lay it on the floor and spray the soapy solution on the tire where the tire and rim meet as shown in the picture above. I will then let the soap set for a few minutes and as you can see the ever so small bubble forming indicating a leak at the tires bead area. Then what?

Corroded rim bead surface

Note area between the arrow points. Bad corrosion causing air loss.

Well now you have to remove the tires from all four rims clean all the corrosion off the rims, replace the valve stems on all four wheels. You the use a bead sealer, remount and balance all four tires. Now keep in mind that if your tires are losing air because of this condition just make sure that your tires are worth the labor to do it. If your tires are nearly worn out you may be better off replacing the tires all together. Otherwise you will end up paying to have it done again later when your tires completely wear out.

polished rim corrosion removed

Green arrow shows polished area where corrosion was once present. This rim is now ready to have the tire re- mounted.

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