Can't find source of leak

I have a 2006 Toyota Highlander with steel winter rims that I store indoors. I pulled out the winter rims/tires today and noticed all were at 28 psi except for one (10psi) after being stored all summer. I used soap/water to find the leak. I checked the inside and outside of the rim flanges, the valve stem and the treads and sidewalls, but no luck finding any leak. Any suggestions? Thanks

Looks foamy at the rim, top of photo.

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Soak the entire steel wheel in soapy water to see if there’s a pin hole leak.


That’s one rusty wheel. Wouldn’t surprise me if the bead was leaking. I would have a tire shop put it in the dunk tank.


Wouldn’t surprise me if the bead was leaking. I would have a tire shop put it in the dunk tank.

Agree with asemaster.
You can use your bathtub if you want to it yourself.

On closer look, that white area along the bead may be a reflection, but there are definitely bubbles at the valve stem.

What air pressure did you use when you tested with the soapy water?

How old are those tires?

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Plus 1. the valve stem is leaking.

I have to differ w/my esteemed colleagues, I’m seeing no clear evidence of a bead or valve stem leak. When I’ve had a bead leak, it looks different. The bubbles are noticeably larger in the leak area compared to the surrounding area. Not saying there’s no bead leak, but the soapy area isn’t where it is located. The best method to check for bead leaks imo is to shim the wheel so it is perfectly level, then apply the soapy water with a paint brush 360 deg around the bead. If there’s a leak it may not immediately be apparent, but after 30 minutes it will be.

If I had the same problem I’d start by buying a used wheel that isn’t so rusty.

The wheels are 4 years old, the rims…I have no idea. I know the rims look bad, but that picture was taken before I took a wire wheel to them. It was just the old paint/rust on the surface. They’re ready to be primed/painted now.
I’m going to call a tire shop and give an update when possible.

Where did these bubbles come from?

Looks to me like just the bubbles found in ordinary soapy water.

I presume you mean the tires are 4 years old. My comment above about purchasing a used wheel, was referring to the rim.

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It could be a very slow leak. Why not monitor it for a while.