Category: Tyres

While drivers may not necessarily strictly adhere to the exact PSI recommendation for their tires, a leaking tire is something that needs to be addressed and repaired immediately for your safety and the safety of other cars on the road. Typically a leak will come from a hole or tear in the tire and can be easily spotted and either patched or replaced depending on the severity. However, much more dangerous is the slow tire leak where the hole or puncture is either extremely small or in some cases completely nonexistent. Finding a slow tire leak can be a difficult process and depending on the cause, can be hard to fix, but knowing what to look for can help make diagnosing a slow tire leak that much easier. These are just a few common causes of a slow tire leak and how to spot them before it gets too bad.
Tire Puncture

Common causes of a slow tire leak

  • Valve Stem Issue– When you purchase new tires, they usually come with new valve stems since the old ones can go bad over time due to use and exposure to chemicals on the road. However, if one of the valves is bad, then there will be a slow and constant leak that comes through the base or body of the valve.
  • Mounting Surface Damage– If the mounting surface of the wheel which is where the bead of the tire seats is damaged by corrosion or through contact on the road like a steep bump or a pothole then there can be a leak without a hole being present on the tire itself.

To diagnose where this issue is coming from, simply fully inflate your tire and then pour a mixture of water and dishwashing soap onto and around the valve stem along with the inside and outside edge of the wheel. If there is a leak, any air leaking out will make bubbles in the soapy water wherever the leak is occurring. With that knowledge you’ll be able to take it to the shop to have it repaired or replaced.

  • Hard to See Punctures– Sometimes if you run over a small nail that can puncture into the tire between the treads making it near impossible to see. Since the nail can still hold air in, it will make any leak extremely slow and any puncture damage harder to spot. To try and find a slow leak caused by a small puncture, use a mixture of water and a dish soap and spray the tire and check for any air bubbles that are produced and note where they appear to quickly patch the hole before taking your vehicle in to be serviced.


Take expert help, if required

If you believe there may be a slow leak in one of your tires, you can also tighten and check every valve and pin on them to make sure they are tight and functioning properly. Also double-check the seal between the tire and the rim to ensure that no air is escaping through a bad seal. Depending on how new your tires air, they should be covered by warranty so you can always have your tires repaired or replaced by the shop you purchased them from or, if you must remove the wheels to inspect for the source of the leak, you’ll want to leave that to experienced professionals unless you’re certain you can manage it.
Auto Mechanic Repairing Car Tire

Is it ok to drive a vehicle with slow tire leak?

Another commonly asked question is if it’s safe to drive a vehicle that has a slow leak in one of the tires, the straightforward answer is of course; no it can be extremely dangerous to drive on a flat tire. If you’re driving on an under inflated or flat tire, the tire will become a blowout hazard. In the event of a blowout, you’ll lose control of the vehicle and it becomes extremely dangerous for you and also other drivers on the road.

Final words

Harder to spot and repair than the obvious holes and tears in a tire, a slow tire leak can be an extremely dangerous condition to drive for a prolonged period of time. Obviously it may take longer to notice that a slow leak may be occurring but once you do, knowing the signs to look for to diagnose the cause and having your tire repair or replaced as fast as possible will minimize the potential damage and hazards for you and other drivers alike.

People are very interested in going green these days and motorists are no exception. These people want to reduce carbon emissions and leave as small a footprint on the ecology as possible. This does not necessarily mean driving electric cars or commuting on roller-skates. What a person should do is look at the ways in which better gas mileage can be achieved. That is going to allow for more efficient use of fuel, with fewer fill ups being required. The tires have always been thought of as a primary influence on miles per gallon (MPG). Traditionally the way to insure good mileage is to make sure that the tires are properly inflated. However, there is a new brand of tire on the market known as a low rolling resistance (LRR) tire. These rubber wheels can improve mileage per gallon considerably.

What is rolling resistance?

Not many people know what rolling resistance is but it has to do with the motion of the tire. Technically speaking, rolling resistance is energy consumed by a tire while the wheel is rolling. The friction generated between tire tread and the road surface creates resistance. Energy is consumed with the tire sidewalls flexing while the tire literally rolls over the road. This seems to be not much more than something for a science class in college, but rolling resistance plays a role in the amount of gasoline being consumed. Believe it or not, research has shown that as much is 15% of your car’s fuel consumption is used in efforts to deal with rolling resistance. Car companies have a government determined requirement to meet certain fuel economy standards in their cars. It is a reason why major models are seeing to it that LRR tires are being placed on the new cars.

Design of LRR tires

Critics will whisper that LRR tires provide a bumpy ride and poor handling. That is not true and Consumer Reports points out that the technology has changed and moved forward when it comes to low resistance tires. Products from Michelin and Bridgestone are all getting very favorable reports as excellent for automobiles. The low resistance in these tires is generated from rubber compounds and the way the sidewalls are being designed. Tread patterns of these tires are intentionally designed to roll with greater freedom on the roads. A car owner who uses LRR tires will experience a better fuel efficiency of as much as 4 miles per gallon. This obviously means that there’s going to be less fuel being consumed and smaller amounts of carbon being released into the atmosphere.

Factors affecting rolling resistance

Other factors are going to influence rolling resistance, but you can control for this by using a few driving habits. It has been observed that driving on the highway with windows down can increase rolling resistance. It is a better idea to drive with the windows up. The temperature outside can affect rolling resistance, depending on the pressure in the tires. A substantial drop in temperature will dramatically increase rolling resistance if tire pressure is not at its best level. Slippage will encourage rolling resistance. It increases as you are spinning your wheels trying to get out of the snow, so accelerating when your car is stuck doesn’t help. Not only are you digger yourself deeper into a hole, but you are also consuming fuel. You can actively look for LRR tires as you are shopping for new ones. Bias-belted tires are well known for having high rolling resistance and perhaps a radial tire would be a better choice. The tire sales associate at the shop can make some recommendations that you can consider for a purchase.

Benefits of having LRR tires

It is always nice to get a little more money in your Gasoline Fill Up Point pocket thanks to better MPG. The LRR tires are also efforts to try to reduce fuel consumption by allowing better gas mileage. That is a serious benefit for anybody who has a commitment to the environment. Automobiles have historically been accused of significant contributions to air pollution. While catalytic converters and different brands of gasoline have helped, there are other possibilities to explore as well. The LRR tires are part of the equation to reduce carbon emission and fuel consumption in United States. Better gas mileage means fewer trips to the pump. Having LRR tires on your car not only is financially sensible, but also environmentally conscious. Using them can be the best of both worlds.

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