The performance of tires depends on many factors, but one of the most annoying problems a driver may encounter is a poor seal on the tire rim. The slow leak of a tire can take months to find when it’s improperly sealed. In some cases, this problem can also occur after striking a curb with your tire, which bends the rim, breaking the seal in the process. Low tire pressure is caused by slow leaks, which in turn affect your gas mileage and the safety of your vehicle. If you find yourself with a broken seal, here’s what you can do to fix it.
Step 1: Locate the Leak
Spray a soapy mixture of water on any area that appears to be leaking, focusing on the area between the rim and tire. It always works best if the tire has been removed from the vehicle (prior to spraying) and placed on the ground first. As soon as bubbles appear in the soap, you will know you have a leak, and where it is located. In the case of a slow leak in a tire that does not have bubbles around its rim, there is a possibility that it has been damaged elsewhere in the tire.
Step 2: Detach the Tire from the Rim
Remove the tire from the rim. Afterwards, you should clean the tire bead, making sure that there is no rust, dirt or debris left on it. After the tire has been thoroughly cleaned, set it aside.
Step 3: Wash the Rim
Brush the rim with a wire brush to clean it. Inspect the rusted or dirty areas of the tire where it contacted the rim carefully. After the rim has been cleaned, you should inspect the wheel for cracks. In the event of a crack, the wheel will need to be replaced.
Step 4: Replace the Tire on the Rim
Around the rim, apply a thin layer of bead sealer (found at automotive suppliers). Apply the sealer compound with the brush that comes with the compound. Make sure you cover the entire area where the tire will come in contact with the rim. Then, you can apply a thin layer of bead sealer compound around the rim of the tire. When you’re done, remount the tire on the rim.
Step 5: Check the Tire
To maintain the desired pressure, inflate the tire. Put the tire on the ground and spray liberally with the soapy water mixture on the rim and tire to ensure it has been sealed. There is a possibility the rim is bent and will need to be repaired at a mechanic’s shop if the leak persists.