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How to Seal a Tubeless Tire That is Leaking at the Rim

by John Walker

Tubeless tires create a seal using internal air pressure forcing the sidewall of the tire against the lip of the rim. The seal becomes weakened through impact with road hazards or age. The air pressure inside of the tire generally forces the bead, a ring of metal cord submerged in the lip of the tire used to maintain uniform pressure on the rim, to reseal. However, leaks can still occur. Repairing a bead leak requires first removing the tire from the vehicle and then applying bead sealant. The process takes about 30 minutes to complete properly.

Raise the wheel with a jack placed beneath the axle. Remove the lug nuts with a lug wrench and set to the side. Remove the tire and place it on a flat surface. Remove the valve core using a valve core removal tool to deflate the tire.

Place a pry bar between the rim and the tire's bead once you have deflated the tire. Push the pry bar downward with ample pressure until the bead is pushed back from the rim in the location where the leak was identified.

Apply a liberal amount of bead seal to the impacted bead.

Put air into the tire up to factory specifications using an air pump. Replace the valve core with the removal tool. Spray the entire bead with window cleaner while the tire is lying flat and look for air bubbles as a sign of a leak. Replace the tire if the bead continues to leak as that is a sign of a damaged bead.

Replace the tire onto the vehicle and attach the lug nuts. Lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the lug nuts to factory recommended torque.


  • A damaged bead can result in an explosive blowout. A simple bead leak is not indicative of a damaged bead but if bead seal cannot repair the leak, you should replace the tire immediately to avoid damaging your vehicle.

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