How to Repair a Pinhole Leak in a Tireby Cayden Conor
A pinhole leak in a tire can cause a lot of aggravation. The tire doesn't go flat very fast, so you might not notice the leak -- other than having to air up the tire every three or four days. Pinhole leaks are also difficult to find with the naked eye. If the leak is in the sidewall, it cannot be repaired safely, and the tire should be replaced. The sidewall is flexible, so even a patch might not hold properly.
Put a squirt or two of dish soap in about 2 cups of water. Swish the paintbrush around in it, to make it bubble. Paint the tire with the soapy water and watch for the soap to bubbles to form. The pinhole is located where the soap bubbles.
Turn the wheels, so that you can easily access the pinholes, if it's on one of the front tires. If it's on one of the rear tires, jack up the vehicle, using the floor jack. Support it with a jack stand, and remove the tire, using the lug wrench.
Insert a tire plug into the plug inserter from the tire plug kit. Air up the tire to 10 pounds over the recommended p.s.i., which is located on the side of the tire. Set it aside. Use the tire borer from the kit to make the hole bigger -- this is so the plug will fit into the tire. Ram the borer up and down to make a clean hole. Leave the borer in the tire.
Grab the plug inserter with the plug, and as you pull the borer out of the hole, quickly push the plug inserter with the plug into the hole. Push it in as far as it will go. Pull it out and the plug will be left behind, plugging the pinhole.
Turn the wheels forward if you are working on the front wheel. Check the air pressure in the tire, using the air pressure gauge. Release or add air as needed pursuant to the p.s.i. marking on the side of the tire. Reinstall the wheel, if you removed it. Lower the vehicle off the jack stands.
Things You'll Need
- Dish soap and water
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Compressor or air tank
- Air hose and chuck
- Air pressure gauge
- Tire plug kit
- Tire plug
Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.