How to Fix a Tire That Is Leaking Air at the Rimby Damon Hildebrand
Tubeless tires hold air better, and last longer, than old fashioned tires with an inner-tube. With the exception of punching a hole in the tire by running over an object, or jumping the curb at the mall, tubeless tires generally hold up well. There are times, however, when a tire develops a leak between the wheel and rim. In this case, remove the tire to reseat the bead and reseal the tire.
Remove the tire from the car and lay it on a flat, hard surface with the valve-stem sticking up.
Fill the tire with air and spray soapy water around the outer edge of the rim where the tire meets it. The area of the leak is indentifiable by bubbles generated from leaking air. If one side of the tire shows no sign of a leak, turn the tire over and repeat the soapy water leak test.
Mark the leaking area of the tire with chalk.
Release the air from the tire by pressing inward on the valve-stem. If a valve-stem removal tool is available, remove the valve-stem needle by unscrewing it from the stem.
Turn the tire so the leaking side of the rim and tire face up.
Place one end of the 2 by 4 board on the rubber part of the tire, right next to the steel rim's edge. While holding the board in position, hit the board with the shop hammer to break the tire's bead loose from the rim. Once the seal breaks, the entire side of the tire will release from the rim.
Press the tire downward, away from the rim. Clean the inside edge of the rim with warm soapy water and a shop rag. Dry the area with a clean shop rag. Also, wipe the inner edge of the tire to clean any loose debris or dirt.
Place the needle back into the valve-stem and begin filling the tire with air. While air is flowing into the tire, pull up aggressively on the sides of the tire to mate the inner edge of the tire back onto the rim. When the tire touches the rim, air will fill the tire and continue seating itself along the rim.
Fill the tire to the desired air pressure. Recheck the tire for leaks with the soapy water.
- "Automotive chassis: brakes, suspension, and steering"; Tim Gilles, Delmar Learing, 2004
- Tire fillers and foam-in-a-can products will make the tire more difficult to repair in the future. Avoid these products if possible.
Things You'll Need
- Piece of 2 by 4 board
- Shop hammer
- Dishwashing liquid
- Shop rags (2)
Damon Hildebrand is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. He has more than 15 years within the oil and gas industry in both technical and managerial positions. Hildebrand has been a technical writer and communicator for the last four years. He is a certified specialists in lubrication and tribology, as well as a certified maintenance and reliability professional.