Leaky tire

2008 Honda Civic Coupe with 26K miles. One tire keeps losing air & idiot lite comes on (no, not Tom & Ray!). Can this 1 tire be fixed? Or do I need to buy 2 new tires? (have that old disease: Mafundzalow!) I do know that one tire had a nail in it and was patched, but I’ve lost track of which one it is (if this helps with your suggestions!)

We can’t say if it can be fixed until you know where the leak is. Spray soapy water on the tire (especially the bead and valve areas) and look for bubbles.

With a 3 year old vehicle (I assume aluminum wheels), it’s entirely possible that you have a bead seal leak due to corrosion, or the crush gasket rubber seal around your valve stem TPMS monitor is bad… Or you could have one of those pesky barely visible leaks from a puncture.

Jack your car up, remove your whee/tire. Get a jug of warm water with a small amount of dish soap in it (doesn’t take much… you don’t want a ton of bubbles making the leak hard to see).

  1. Pump up your tire to max PSI, probably 44, just DON’T put it back on without lowering it back to manufacturer spec (probably 32 without looking it up).
  2. Lay tire face up, apply soapy water to the entire bead, checking carefully for bubbles rising from between the wheel and the rubber.
  3. Remove the valve stem cap and apply a small amount of water into the valve stem opening, check for bubbles, stick a dry rag into valve stem to remove water (prevent corrosion)
  4. Lay tire face down (use a piece of cardboard or do it on grass to avoid scratching the face) and repeat #2.
  5. Soak a rag and check ALL of the tread by applying water to all of the tread.

If you have a puncture in the tread, repair it by a one-piece patch/plug, or a lead-wire plug and patch backing if the angle of the puncture is greater than 30 degrees from vertical. I’m a fan of the plain old plug, but you HAVE to keep in mind that they are temporary to get you down the road until a proper repair can be performed, and a patch/plug properly done is a permanent repair that will last the life of the tire.

Tx, W123Benz, your last line gives me comfort about the patch. Will do soap test, but figured if I brought it to a tire place, they’ll do their job & try to sell me new tires. At 26K miles, don’t want to spend the $$ just yet.

“At 26K miles, don’t want to spend the $$ just yet”

The odometer mileage of the car is irrelevant.
What is relevant is keeping your car shod with 4 tires that are safe to drive on.
If you think that your funds are low now, just imagine how low they will be if you cause an accident as a result of driving on an unsafe tire.

Go to a well-reputed tire dealer for repair. If the leak/puncture is not in a location that can be safely repaired, be prepared to buy a comparable replacement tire. As the Michelin commercials say…“There’s a lot riding on your tires”…and that includes the safety of you, your passengers, and everyone with whom you share the road, plus your financial well-being.