Slow Leak from Front Passenger Tire

Over the past few months I’ve noticed that the front passenger side tire has been losing air and bleeding down to about 18 psi, at which point I get it to the nearest air pump and fill it back up. About a year back I hit one of Chicago’s crater sized potholes which seriously bent the lip of my rim. The body shop I go to discouraged me from spending the money to replace the whole wheel and used some kind of sealant. That seemed to have worked for a while, but this recent leak has me concerned. So I guess my question is 3-part: 1) Does anyone have experience with this type of problem? 2) Is it definitely the wheel, or could it be an issue with the tire? And 3) I have a 300 mile trip (600 miles both ways) coming up - should I be additionally concerned with this leak, or will I be alright simply keeping a closer eye on it, and airing up as necessary. Thanks in advance for the help and suggestions.

If the lip of the rim is “seriously bent”, that is more than likely to be the problem.
Another possibility is a defective tire inflation valve, but you can easily test for that problem with some saliva and careful observation.

Truthfully, I find it hard to believe that someone would drive around with an obviously leaking tire for several months, but I guess that my standards are a bit different from yours. I suggest that you go to a tire shop, have them put the tire and wheel into their water tank, and see if they can locate the source of the leak. This really isn’t rocket science!

If it is indeed a bent rim, then the solution is obvious–namely buy a new wheel or a good used one from a junk yard. This will likely be one of the smaller amounts that you will spend over the years on car maintenance, and should be taken care of before your road trip.

A few months may have been an overstatement, and I actually did get it into the shop quickly. However, what they changed was the tire. It sounds like the wheel was (and continues to be) the issue, so it sounds like i need a new wheel along with a new body shop.

Get a shop to look at the tire. The problem could be your rim. But it could also be a nail or screw that you have picked up somewhere. Or it could be a faulty valve stem. Or even a leaky valve. I’ve pulled at least a dozen assorted fasteners out of the tires on our three cars in the past two decades. Every one of the holes has been plugable.

got a bottle of windex around? go spray the entire tire, and rim with windex. look for the bubbles. go away for an hour then come back and look/ respray again. you’ll probably find the culprit.

don’t forget to spray the inside of the tire too. you may have to turn the wheel hard over to be able to see it. and do this twice, and move the car to get the bottom of the tire too.

If you let the tire get that low repeatedly, then you’ve likely damaged the tire, even if it wasn’t damaged at first, so you should plan on a new tire now.

My take on this is to fix the problem. Front tires hurt your control. This will cause tire wear. If a sealant did not work then you gotta fix the wheel. If the tire is toast then I would say get a pump and keep filling the tire until you just get sick of it and fix the problem. You could just get it fixed.

What’s the wheel made out of? If it’s steel, they might be able to repair it rather than having to replace the whole thing.

Otherwise, if it’s a stock wheel, see if you can find one at a junkyard. It’d be much cheaper.

I had a tire that kept losing air pressure. The service station where I traded couldn’t find a leak. This was a slow leak, but after fighting it around town and having an upcoming road trip, I solved the problem by replacing the tire. The last thing I wanted to have happen wss the tire go flat on on the highway.

I’ve had problems like this with aluminum rims. Corrosion builds up between the bead of the tire and the rim. Remove the tire from the rim and have it cleaned out. Clean tire bead and mount it back on. Problem goes away.

Problem is usually worse in cold weather.

Thanks for all the helpful tips and advice. I’ve decided to rent a car for the trip, and will be putting on a new wheel when I get back. Found OEM wheels online, which is nice.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll give this a try when I get home.