Slow Leaking Tire

I have one tire on my car that has a slow leak. I follow its flattening by watching the tire visually. Then, I fill it up with air–until it slowly flattens again.

It may or may not be related to the actual outside temperature, although it actually did flatten faster when it went from cooler to hotter. Since this is in Wilmington, NC–that could be from 70 oF to 95 oF.

I think there is some seal, or seals, that are leaking.

Is there any real downside to using one of those cannisters that fixes flats to:

1) Fix the flat; and also

2) Seal the the leaking seal(s).

And, leave it alone as long as it stays “unflat [visually]”.

The only “warning” on this cannister is to tell the auto mechanic that you used it so he doesn’t have a spark start a fire or explosion.

How long is this good for??

I don’t recommend those fix-a-flat sealers. A tire store may be able to fix the slow leak for you if it really is the tire that’s leaking.

Sometimes it’s not the tire that leaks, but the wheel itself, usually an alloy wheel. I have two leaking wheels on one of my cars. I just keep a close watch on the inflation pressure. I have to add air about every two weeks.

And, yes, tire pressure changes with air temperature.

Have you taken the car to a tire shop to see what the problem is??

You might have picked up a nail or something.

Don’t use the Fix-a-flat. They don’t work that well…Also when you need to replace the tires the tire place may charge you extra to clean the crap off the rim before they put the new tire one…and it may offset the tire balancing.

Those “fix a flat” cans are, at best, only for emergency use. They’ll gunk up the insides of the tire, stem, and valve. As mentioned above, alloy wheels can leak. Also, valve stems or the valves in them can leak, or there can be a defect in the tire bead.

Don’t wait until the tire is visually “flat”. You’ve lost far too much air by then.

I follow its flattening by watching the tire visually. Then, I fill it up with air–until it slowly flattens again.

By the time you can see it flattening, it is already too low. You need to find the leak and fix it. You have gotten good advice on that. Looking at a tyre is no way to determine if it is low. You need to get a good gauge and check all your tyres on a regular basis.

That is not a slow leak, it is a fast leak. The only thing faster is a blow-out. As other have suggested, take it to a shop or inspect it yourself for nail and other sharp debris.

If you’ve been waiting until you can see the tire is low and you’ve done this repeatedly, you’ve probably driven a lot with the pressure way below the recommended value. This means you’ve probably damaged the tire sidewall, making it unsafe to drive on any more.

I agree that you’ve probably caused improper wear on the tire. Go buy some new tires.

I was thinking the exact same thing as lion9car. Repeated episodes of low pressure have undoubtedly caused damage to the tire’s sidewall. Since this type of damage is the leading cause of tire blow-outs, you are risking your life and the life of your passengers if you drive at highway speeds with that bad tire.

If your vehicle is not AWD, you should be able to replace just that one tire, although I would recommend that you replace the tire on the same axle at the same time, in the interest of predictable, secure handling. If there is a fair amount of wear on all of your tires, then I would suggest replacing all 4. And, don’t buy “bargain” tires. Cheap tires almost always turn out to be something other than a bargain.

Not Rocket Science!

I hate leaking tires. Get it fixed, pleeease!

I think I would break down and buy 2 fron tires before someone gets hurt. How long has this been going on without being checked and how long is she putting air in the tire? It could lead to a serious accident at some point. Please get it fixed.

One downside the the sealants that come in a can is that they can throw a tire off balance. I tried fixing a basketball with a can of tire sealant. It did stop the leak, but the ball was way out of balance and it dribbled like a bowling ball. I had to buy a new basketball. I don’t think an out of balance basketball is life-threatening, but defective tires certainly are. Go to a reputable tire shop and either get the proper fix or replace the tire.

I too recommend against flat sealers. Some shops will not work on a tire that’s had “dix-a-flat” because of the mess it leaves behind.

The best way to find a slow leak (assuming you’ve already looked for nails and checked the valve stem for tightness) is with a slow process. Fill a small child’s plastic pool with water, drop the wheel with tire into the pool, open a cold beer and a chaise lounge, and watch for bubbles.

As mentioned above, I would stay away from the fix a flat in a can unless you’re on the side of a freeway with a flat and it’s raining or dark, or you otherwise fear for you life. When you bring a wheel into a shop with the goo inside the tire, you are now their least favorable customer. I’ve dealt with those tires, and you wouldn’t want to pay me what it would take for me to tear into one of those again. The above posts are mostly correct. I’d find a source of water and put the tire in and real carefully and slowly look for bubbles. Don’t get in a hurry, because they are going to be small bubbles if it is a slow leak. Don’t forget to spray soapy water around the valve stem and the valve core. If you don’t have any hole in the tire, then it might be leaking around the bead where the tire seat on the rim. Either way, it you have a leak, and check it under water, it will show up. Tires do lose pressure through the rubber sidewalls, belts and tread, but at such a slow rate you wouldn’t be filling it up on a regular basis. Good luck. BTW, some of the tire shops around here will fix a flat for free as a PR incentive. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

This Bud’s For You!

“… open a cold beer and a chaise lounge, and watch …”

Will this diagnostic/repair method work with other situations or is it only good for tires? What have you tried it on?

I’m heading out to the driveway right now with a chair and a cold one. I have a battery on trickle charge that needs watching.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll let you know what happens.

Fix-a-flat uses latex paint to seal the hole. It doesn’t throw a tire off balance BTW, it actually helps balance it because latex paint is water based. The water sort of makes up for any imbalances when the tire is spinning. It does however cause the inside of the rim to rust. It will lead to rim failure in a very short time.

If your traveling across country with a loaded car or in bad weather, fix-a-flat is a great product. But as soon as you can, get the tire repaired and the tire and rim cleaned out and dried out.

Best way I’ve found to find a slow leak is to fill a small water bottle, 16oz or so with water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent, shake it and squirt it all over the tire. A couple of minutes later a mound of what appears to be foam will form around the leak. A real slow leak might take ten minutes or so for the foam mound to form.

I’d recommend you watch that battery carefully. You just never know. Since a trickle charger takes time, you may need a cooler with a 6-pack and a roast beef sandwich.