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Slow leak due to flaking chrome

I have a 2002 Dodge Caravan with 17" chrome wheels. One tire has a slow leak. My mechanic says the problem is the chrome is flaking off and he can’t get the tire to make a good seal. He tried sanding the wheel without success and he tried using some glue. Any suggestions short of getting a new wheel (apparently there are not many 17" wheels and it would be expensive

There are bead sealer ‘glues’ that do a good job sealing the tire to the rim. Has the rim been dipped with the tire mounted and inflated to make certain that the rim/bead is the problem and not a crack in the rim. I have seen rims splitting at the bead.

I think my mechanic tried to get a seal using glue. I will double check with him. Thank you.

Might be time to take it to a second [good] shop and a fresh pair of eyes.

A permanent fix is a new wheel, a set would cost $400-$600 or so (painted, not chromed). That’s a problem with chrome, if not done well it eventually starts to come off. Are these factory wheels? Have you searched ebay for a replacement?

You might consider having the rims re-chromed, but in many cases, it is cheaper and takes much less time to buy new ones than wait for them to be re-chromed in a batch.

When you consider this is a minivan we are talking about, have you considered switching to inexpensive steel rims? After all, it isn’t like we are talking about a sport car.

The problem is common with GM (junk) rims. The flaking chrome plating on the inside of the rim prevents a good seal even when the tire is glued to the rim. Any experienced tire shop knows of this problem. The solution: have your mechanic grind out this chrome plating (a cheap easy job) and your problems are over, and which is another reason I will never buy GM again!

I thought this was a Dodge van.

FRAN SECO…I have never had a problem with GM chrome or alloy wheels in over 40 years. I think your thinking is flawed. By the way, the Caravan is manufactured by Dodge…not GM.

You might also consider that GM, Chrysler, Ford, etc. likely buy their rims from a supplier and don’t make their own rims. I suppose everyone’s gotten a bad batch now and again.

Flaking chrome is not necessarily the sign of poor workmanship. Brushing the rim against a curb or the degree of roughness used in mounting new tires can get the problem started.

Try a recycle yard. Get one or two cheap and have the tire shop check them out. Or maybe the recycler can check the used rim for you.

First, make sure the rim is not cracked.

A product that should seal the rim quickly is called “The Right Stuff”. It is a thiotropic paste made by Permatex and it seals very quickly. I have used silicone sealant like the Permatex Ultra Black on a badly pitted steel rim once, but you have to wait about a day before you pressurize the tire. You have to seat the bead, then let the pressure out while the sealant cures.

The Right Stuff can take the pressure within one minute. Locktite has a similar product, its either 5510 or 5900, can’t remember which, but it is silicone based and a lot more expensive. The Right Stuff runs about $16 in a “cheeze whiz” dispenser at AutoZone where the Loctite product runs about $40 from MSC.