Slow-leaking tire (only one)

I bought a 99 Mazda Protege ES two years ago. About eight months ago, i noticed that my rear passenger tire seemed very low. Not flat, but very very low. I filled it back up to 32psi, as recommended in the owner’s manual. Then in June, it seemed low again. I bought a pressure gage, checked all my tires and filled up the one that was low (14psi). Throughout the summer and early fall, I would check my tires once a month and the rear passenger tire would always need air. Now it is the end of October and I’ve had to fill the tire up three times in the past month.

Obviously, I need a new tire. My question is: is there a viable way to fix a slow-leaking tire? Or do a need to buy a new one? Also, can I just buy one tire? I’m very very tight on money, which is why I’ve been gaging/refilling my tire the past eight months rather than buy.

Thanks in advance for advice!

Check your tire pressure more often.

Many tire leaks can be easily & cheaply repaired, but it all starts with having someone who works with tires figure out where/why its leaking. Its not a major ordeal. Just have someone look at it.

If the tire does not have sidewall cracks and has decent tread, then go to a tire store, preferably an independent one, and have them check it over. It may be the valve stem or a bad seal against the rim. On tight money, this is your least expensive option.

Step one
take a closer look. A real detailed look all around the tread an inch at a time. You may find ( as I have more than once ) there’s something stuck in there…and still there. Worn off from driving to the point that it’s not obvious.

Step two
If you dont visually see something stuck in it.
Take it to the tire shop.
They’ll be able to check for bead, wheel, and valve stem leaks.
They can dismount the tire and check inside for anything stuck in the tread.

Remove the tire and over-inflate it. Hold it under water. The stream of small bubbles will reveal the source of the leak.

Triedaq - The tire has ok tread, but it does have sidewall cracks. Does this mean it’s not worth trying to repair? (If it is not, is it ok just to buy a new tire? I definitely cannot afford four.)

How old are the current tires? The best advice will be from a tire professional who can actually inspect the tires. As noted, the best thing is a local (non-corporate chain) tire shop.

You’re better off doing two at a time, leaving the better (in this case new) tires on the rear.

Maorzo–How are your other tires? Sidewall cracks indicate deteriorating tires.
I can certainly understand the tight money situation, but don’t compromise on safety. My son has to watch his pennies. He blew a tire on his way to work about a week ago. He was able to get the car into a parking lot of a business. A friendly police officer saw it happen, gave my son a ride to the school where he teaches and then went back and explained to the business why the car was in their lot. At the end of the school day, my son put on the donut spare and drove to the independent tire shop where he trades. They didn’t have the right size in stock for his 1995 Ford Mustang, but did find a good used tire for him. He got away for $32.
Be certain that you have your best tires on the rear of your car. You can steer the front wheels, but you can’t steer the back wheels. A blowout or sudden loss of air on a rear tire is more difficult to control than a front tire.

“A blow out or sudden loss of air on a rear tire is more difficult to control than a front tire”.

WRONG. I’ve had a blowout on the rear at about 70-75 MPH and couldn’t even tell the tire was flat by the handling, but knew it it was flat from the roaring noise it was making.

Spend 18 bucks take it to a shop and see what they think the problem is. It could be a nail, bad valve stem etc. It is not obvious you need a new tire. Agree with FordMan59, will take a blowout on the rear vs the front any day of the week!

Find out where the leak is coming from first. Slow leaks can be from around the rim-especially if there is some rust on the rim, from the tire valve core or around the valve itself, from a small nail, or even a leak in the wheel itself. Mix a little dishwashing detergent with water and flush the tire looking for bubbles to find the leak. For a slow leak it may take a while for the bubbles to form. On hard to find ones, I’ve pulled the wheel off and flooded everything to find a small leak around a valve. The remedy is new valve, reseating the tire, etc. depending on where the problem is. If the tires are worn though replace them.