Tire Pressure Mystery

I drive a 2005 Acura RL. The right front tire loses pressure, as measured by the vehicle’s sensors and as verified by my manually checking it, thus eliminating the possibility of a bad sensor. This right front tire may lose up to 6-7 psi per week if the car just sits in the garage, undriven, or as little as 2-4 psi if driven during the week. (The other three tires maintain the correct pressure almost indefinitely.) I thought it might be the tire itself, or perhaps a wheel being slightly out of round, leading to a less than perfect seal. However, the condition occurs even if the tires are rotated - it’s always the right front losing significant pressure, which would seem to rule out my two possible explanations. Anyone else seen this phenomenon, or have any suggestions as to what might be going on?

The only suggestion I can think of is to have all four tires remounted (beads broken and reseated) with new valves. I know this isn’t specific, but it’s all I can think of.

I can think of no reason the right front location would cause a tire to leak, after rotating tires/wheels. Only possibility is some gross misalignment, but you’d see that with badly worn tires.

couple of ideas:

-neighborhood kid/family member playing a prank on you?
-whomever you asked to rotate the tires not actually doing it, or messing it up?
-you keep blocks of ice in your garage next to the right front tire?

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This is a great guess.


+1. -----------

Spray soapy water on the tire and valve. If you’re losing that much air, you should see bubbles pretty quickly.

Thanks. I’ll be putting new tires on all around in a few months, so I’ll not only get them to seat them properly, but I’ll also ask them to do a TIR check on each of the wheels, just in case. BTW, my very reputable Acura dealer does all the maintenance, and I have no reason to believe that they aren’t rotating the tires as requested.

Dealer just did that - no sign of any bubbling indicating an air leak. That’s why this is such a mystery!

You have at least one reason to believe they are not doing it. There are only two possible explanations why the right front would be the only tire losing air before or after a rotation.

Either your tire is not being rotated or someone is letting air out of your right front.

Is your car parked where you can see someone on the left side and not the right?

I understand the need for a good, reputable shop, but there really isn’t much reason to go to the Acura Dealer for work on your 12 year old car. Unless you have some amazing contacts or coupons, find an independent shop to do work on your car.

in the meantime, go to a tire shop and get that tire looked at. Discount Tire will check it and fix it for free, as long as it isn’t the wheel leaking.

I had a frustrating slow leak and the only way I finally found it was to dunk the tire in a swimming pool and wait, and wait for a small bubble to finally come out around the valve stem. I’m going to discount the idea that the other tires hold air until put on the right front. Makes no sense at all unless for some reason the seal on the rims are lousy and steering stress causes some separation, but I’m not buying this whole thing. You do mark your tires, right, so you can tell which tire is which when they are rotated?

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A thought…you don’t happen to snug that tire against a curb regularly, do you?

I’m inclined to suspect that you’re being charged for rotations that aren’t being done, but for future reference one way to find a slow leak is to buy a kid’s pool, fill it with water, drop the wheel into it, sit back with a lemonade, and watch for the bubbles.

[quote=“the_same_mountainbik, post:14, topic:100531, full:true”]
I’m inclined to suspect that you’re being charged for rotations that aren’t being done, but for future reference one way to find a slow leak is to buy a kid’s pool, fill it with water, drop the wheel into it, sit back with a lemonade, and watch for the bubbles.
[/quote]I don’t really care for lemonade. Would a diet soda, or even better, a beer, work just as well.


Yup. I used to say “beer”, but I’m trying to clean up my act. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Other than smacking into a lot of mean potholes & curbs with that tire on a regular basis, and not the others as much, I can’t come up with anything to explain that symptom. But if it happened to me the first thing I’d do is remove that blasted wheel and plop it in a horizontal orientation on the driveway, level, and use a paintbrush to apply some soapy water to it everywhere I could, especially on the bead area and the valve stem. Then turn I’d it over and do the same thing. Then I’d orient it vertical and apply soapy water to the entire running surface while turning the tire to expose new running surface. Finally I’d apply soapy water to the rim surfaces, to see if there’s some porosity in the metal. All that seems like a lot of work but it would only take 1/2 hour or so, and then at least you’ve have something definite to base further action on.

Before your next ‘rotation’, take some sidewalk chalk and put LF, LR, RF, RR on the inside of the tires. Not saying it didn’t get rotated, but this would let you know if they have indeed been moved.


Thank you all for your thoughts/suggestions. Here’s some more information: This problem has been going on for some time, and I have had the tires rotated (as well as other repair work done) both by an independent mechanic, highly rated by Car Talk, who is also a personal friend, and by the dealer. Problem remains the same - loss of pressure in the right front almost immediately. Also, while some of you might find the idea of a trustworthy car dealer either ludicrous or perhaps oxymoronic, they do exist and I do business with one. Example: Yesterday I called them, as my moonroof was not working in automatic mode. Rather than schedule me in for a possible expensive repair, the service manager walked me through a procedure to “re-teach” the system, and it solved the problem. I’ll re-post something later, after I replace the tires later this spring, with the hope that that may solve the problem.

Any chance that the right front tire or valve stem is periodically parked against something?