Slow Leak in Tire? How to Find and Fix Tire Leaks

Mechanic showing slow leak in tire

If your tire is slowly leaking and tends to drop in 5-10 psi, there are a few different ways to check for leaks. Some of these repairs can also be completed at home. This post covers how to find and repair a slow leak in a tire with some simple methods.

Fix a slow leak in a tire yourself with quality auto parts and tools at 1aauto.com

How to Fix a Slow Leak in a Tire

1. Raise and Secure the Vehicle or Remove the Tire

Raise and secure the vehicle with a jack and jack stands. Spin the tire or remove it for a closer look.

General Steps for Removing a Tire

  1. Loosen the Lug Nuts

    With the tire on the ground, loosen the lug nuts

  2. Raise and Secure the Vehicle

    Raise and secure the vehicle with a jack and jack stands. For more information about different jack point locations for different makes and models, check out 1A Auto’s how-to videos.

  3. Remove the Lug Nuts

    With the vehicle raised, remove the lug nuts

  4. Remove the Tire

    Remove the tire from the wheel hub

If using an air impact wrench, loosen and remove the lug nuts after raising and securing the vehicle.

2. Check for Scuffing and Slicing

Check the outside, inside, and the tread for scuffing or slicing that may have caused the leak.

3. Check for Nails or Metal Objects

Check the tire tread for objects that may have punctured it like nails or metal objects.

If the tire is punctured by an object, commonly nails, it will need to be plugged from the outside or patched from the inside. This how-to video below shows how to plug a slowly leaking tire yourself.

4. Measure the Tire Pressure

Remove the valve cap and check the tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge. If the tire is not flat, the tire should be near the recommended pounds per square inch (psi), which can be found on the door jamb sticker.

If in cold weather all the tires measure at 5-10 psi lower than the recommend pressure range, they may have lost air from the outside temperature and just need to be refilled.

5. Place the Tire Under Water or Spray It with Soapy Water

Place the Tire Under Water

For one method involving water, place the tire under water in a dunk tank and check for bubbles.

Spray the Tire with Soapy Water

Soapy water on a tire indicating no leak
Soapy water on a tire indicating no leak

For an easier method involving water, spray soapy water around the valve stem and the front and backside of the rim of the tire and let it soak. Check for sudsy bubbles growing in size over time, which indicates a leak.

Soapy water on tire treads indicating no leak
Soapy water on tire treads indicating no leak

Spray soapy water on the threads and check for sudsy bubbles growing in size.

Tire seal leak indicated by sudsy bubbles
Tire seal leak indicated by sudsy bubbles

If the tire is leaking near the rim or seal, the rim needs to be removed and cleaned of any corrosion. As the rim corrodes, the gap between it and the tire grows, making a leak. Clean the corrosion from the rim with a wire brush or grinder. Clean the corrosion from the tire with a wire brush.

Apply bead sealer along the rim/mounting surface where the tire mounts to the rim to seal the tire, or clean the tire with soapy water instead if bead sealer is not available. Recheck the tire for slow leaks again with soapy water once the repair is complete.

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Summary
Slow Leak in Tire? How to Find and Fix Tire Leaks
Article Name
Slow Leak in Tire? How to Find and Fix Tire Leaks
Description
This article shares a few methods for how to find a tire leak and fix a slow leak in a tire if yours is usually 5-10 psi below the recommended limit
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Publisher Name
1A Auto
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