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Chrome Wheels on Buicks


My mother has a 2004 Buick LaSabre with the chrome wheels. The low tire pressure warning message frequently is displayed on the dash and annoys her to no end. She just turned 87 and tires of adding air to the tires every week to cancel the low tire pressure warning message.

She has been told the chrome wheels are subject to leaking as they are more porous and over time allows air to leak. The valve stemm internal parts have been replaced and that didn’t solve the problem.

As her oldest son, I could become the favorite again if you can help me solve this problem. If the rims really do leak, isn’t there a product that could be applied to the inside of the rim to seal up an paths for air leakage? Or, do we find some tubes for the tubeless tires.

Thanks for your help and insight. A mopar fan since 1964!

One problem with some chrome wheels is that the chrome begins to peel off in spots, and if those spots are where the bead seals you have a slow leak. It’s not that the chrome is ‘porous’, that would actually be easier to fix. Worst case, you could put a new set of rims on to solve the problem.

GM vehicles do seem to have flaky, leaky aluminum wheels. You could try having a good tire shop take a look at them. I have had success getting them to stop leaking by using a sander to remove corrosion around the bead seating surface and applying bead sealer before remounting the tires. This should either stop the leaks or at least slow them down to a tolerable level.

Not to mention there should be some indication of which wheel it is. 2004 isn’t extremely old, but are all of them low when she puts air in, or is it localized to just one? Could some save time and trouble if you only need to fix one.

You say the valve stem internal parts have been replaced. To me, that means the schrader valve, not the whole valve stem. Is your TPMS system the type that is built into the valve stem? Whether it is or not, the whole valve stem should be replaced, its just that the TPMS type cost more.

You identify the wheels as “chrome”, but are they chrome over steel or alloy wheels? There is a big difference here. If chrome over steel and the chrome is peeling, then a bead sealer should do the trick. If alloy, then the tires will have to be dismounted, the TPMS and valve stems removed and the alloy wheel retreated for its sealer. Some TPMS valve stems use an o-ring or gasket that can be replaced so that the valve stem can be reused.

If this is an aftermarket TPMS system that uses modified valve stems, these valve stems have to be torqued properly or they will leak. Possibly whoever installed these did not do the job properly.

DO NOT put tubes in these tires, that is very dangerous and it will disable the TPMS.

You will need to find a good tire shop that has had training on TPMS systems. I think this technology was rushed to market before the training was put into place.