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How to Repair a Leaky Chrome Rim

by Dianne Christensen-Herman

Although chrome and alloy wheels may be visually appealing, they can be prone to corrosion problems that cause the tire to seal improperly. This often causes slow leaks and bead leaks on cars and trucks and soft tires. Air can travel through the tiniest of holes when corrosion occurs, and a space can form under the bead. There is a way to repair leaks in chrome rims yourself without taking the tires to a professional.

Determine the location of the leak in the tire. One of the best ways to do this is to inflate the tire with an air pump or other device and completely submerge it in a water bath and watch for air bubbles coming from the tire or wheel.

Break the bead down if air is leaking from this section. Do this with a set of tire irons or a tire machine if you have access to one.

Remove the tire from the wheel and examine the inner and outer bead sealing surfaces for damage or corrosion. If none is present, then check the tire for damage near the beads.

Buff the entire bead sealing surface of the wheel until no corrosion or rust is visible. Use a wire brush or buffing wheel.

Gently buff the tire bead with a wire brush to remove any loose rust or debris that may be present. Be careful not to damage the bead of the tire.

Remove the old stem and replace it with a new one using a valve stem tool. This will resolve any leaks that may have been coming from the stem. Reassemble the tire and wheel. Inflate the tire while watching the beads to make sure they seal properly.

Set the tire and wheel back into the water tank to make sure the bead is sealed and no air is leaking from it. If the bead is still leaking, add sealer to the bead.

Break down the beads before you add the sealer. Do not remove the tire from the wheel to do this. Use the brush that comes with the can to apply paint sealer on the bead sealing surface of the wheel around the entire perimeter.

Put the tire and wheel back together and inflate it, seating the beads. Wait for the sealer to dry for about 5 to 10 minutes. While the tire is inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure, check that the leak has disappeared by submerging the tire again in the water tank. Add more sealer if the leak is still present.

Tips

  • It can be difficult to mount and dismount tires with tire irons, but it is possible. If you are not able to mount or dismount the tires this way and do not have access to a tire machine, it may be necessary to bring the tire to a tire store to have the leak repaired.
  • Use caution when seating the beads on the tire. The high air pressure can cause injury if you have a body part such as a finger in the bead when it pops onto the sealing surface of the well.

Items you will need

About the Author

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