Unexplained flat tire

My tire went flat and when I made it to the service station on the donut, they told me that there were no holes or damage to the tire. Is there anything that could have caused it to go flat, or did someone take the air out of it in an act of vengeance? I am a teacher, but I don’t think my students would have done it. I have two possible culprits, but even they seem questionable. The tire is still on the car and hasn’t caused us any trouble since. We drove all the way from DC to Connecticut on it and no problems. Hmm…

My first guess would be that the car was parked against the curb and it caused a leak either at the tyre bead or the valve stem was being flexed causing a leak.

it is possible that the tire was fairly low to begin with and lost air around the bead area. tire pressure should be checked at least once per month

Thanks for the feedback.

“The tire is still on the car and hasn’t caused us any trouble since.”
[list]Did The Service Station remove the tire / wheel assembly, inflate it and put it in a “dunk Tank” filled with water to observe for air bubbles indicating a leak ? [/list]

Rims can develop pinhole leaks and air can escape right through the metal.
[list]Does the car have steel or aluminum wheels ?[/list]

Sometimes rims can corrode at the tire bead area and cause leaks, sometimes the leaks won’t occur unless the tire is not maintained to full pressure as recommended.
[list]Do you frequently check your tire pressure ?[/list]

Really old tires can develop fine cracks that can leak under certain circumstances.
[list]How old is the leaky tire ?[/list]

A common source of leaks comes from defective air valves and these can cause intermittent leaks, depending on many factors. Aged valves can begin leaking and also many were manufactured that didn’t hold up well and were actually recalled.
[list]Did the Service Station employee wiggle the rubber valve stem while under water in the dunk tank ?[/list]

[list]What Model-Year is this mystery Honda Accord ?[/list]


Was the tire flat when you went to the car in the morning? If so, and you park outside, I suspect a prank. It doesn’t have to be any of your students. Random pranks occur; probably more often than doing it to someone on purpose.

Was Any Air Added To The Tire Outside Recently, Prior To The Tire Going Flat ? In Below Freezing Weather, Natural Moisture Content Of Compressed Air Can Freeze In The Tire’s "Shrader Valve."
When this occurs the valve may not seal. When the tire goes to a warm place the ice can freeze and allow the valve to function again.


[b][i]JT, You Seem Almost Too Knowledgeable When It Comes To Flat Tire Pranks. Where Does Your Expertise Come From ?



I install and balance my own tires at home, not because I must but because I can. I have seen a similar situation twice over the years after I installed a new tire; found it flat on the car the next morning for no apparent reason. I added air and the tires did not go flat again. I suspect that it might be a combination of things including a new tire bead that has not quite bedded in to an imperfection on the rim and the imperfection’s rotational location when the car is parked; probably located at the bottom where there is some naturally expected tire sidewall distortion due to the weight of the car.

I remove the small white label that tire makers put directly on the bead. It seems like a risky place to put a label.

It may be witchcraft, alchemy or voodoo but I can offer no better explanation in addition to those posted.


[b]Moi?[/b] Not I! Maybe I am a little paranoid, but heather is the one that mentioned students and pranks.

“I remove the small white label that tire makers put directly on the bead. It seems like a risky place to put a label.”

Many years ago, I had a phantom deflation problem with one tire, and it was finally traced to a paper label that the wheel manufacturer (Pirelli) had placed on the area of the wheel rim that would mate with the tire bead. When the label and its adhesive residue were removed, my phantom tire deflation problem disappeared.

It’s possible to have a wheel with corrosion on the bead and it may not leak a bit unless it’s parked in just the right position. This could be made worse by an aged tire in which the rubber is starting to harden.

At this point I wouldn’t read anything into a flat tire.

Talking about tire leaks; I had one on the front of my ride-on mower until I tracked it down.

I checked all the usual places and possible reasons except the one I needed.

Fortunately, the tire hadn’t separated from the rim yet.

I pumped air into the tire and listened real closely.

After removing the valve cap I still couldn’t hear a leak, so I went one step further and removed the valve…AHA!

A tiny speck of dirt in the bottom of the valve turned out to be the culprit.

Since I removed and thoroughly cleaned the valve there has been no more flat.

It just goes to show that sometimes the smallest thing can cause the biggest problem.

Cheap insurance would be a new valve stem. There has been a number of reports of low quality imports with troubles.

Lots of valid questions.
The service station did say that they inflated and put it in a “dunk tank” and it pumped right up with no problems.

Not sure about the wheels, but they definitely are wheels and not hubcaps.

I have the tire pressure checked every three months or 3,000 miles when I take it for an oil change…usually it is 3 months because I don’t have a far drive to work.

All four tires were just replaced in July of this year.

I would have to call and ask whether they wiggled the valve while under water.

The Honda is a 1998…not sure about the model (EX or LX), but it is a 2-door coupe with a 4-cylinder vtec engine; front wheel drive.

I’m almost positive it wasn’t flat when I went outside, but I do have to park on the street. I drove it about 4 city blocks before I heard the flat.

The next day I did call the police station to find out if there were any other reports of such a prank because a while back there was a rash of random tire slashings (of which we were fortunately not prey to) in the neighborhood. They said there weren’t any.

Sometimes the bead on the wheel can become irregular, from rust and also from road damage. The bead contacts each side of the tire on the circumference of the wheel. It is not at all unusual for a tire mounted onto a wheel with a bad bead to suddenly lose its air. Usually this will happen in the winter, and often overnight when the temperature drops rapidly.
A good tire tech should be able to tell you if the bead is damaged. If it is, you might be able to buy a replacement wheel at a junkyard.

I really don’t think it was one of my students. It was the service guy who put that idea in my head. I have more faith in my students than that - they’re good kids!

Nope. No air added just prior to it going flat. No huge temperature changes either.