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My Tires Won't Hold Air

by Owen E. Richason IV

If you are driving a car with tires that do not hold air, the tires in question are leaking. Most minor tire repairs are simple to fix and do not require much automotive knowledge or a number of repair tools. If the tires have been punctured by a nail, screw or other object on the tread, the tire is generally repairable. However, if there is damage to the wall such as cracking or splitting, the tire should be replaced.

Fill a spray bottle with water. Squeeze some liquid soap into the water-filled spray bottle. Wipe down the tire with a clean, dry rag or cloth.

First listen at the stem or value of the tire for escaping air. Shine a flashlight on the valve or stem and wiggle it from side to side, listening for escaping air and looking for cracks or punctures.

Spray the tire with soapy water. If nothing is detected at the valve stem, wet the entire tire with soapy water. Inspect the tire with the flashlight to find bubbling water, while listening for escaping air whistling to locate the leak.

Place a jack under the car and lift it so the tire is above the ground. Remove the lug nuts and tire from the wheel.

Open your tire repair kit. Using a pair of pliers, remove the penetrating object such as a screw or nail if present. Apply a rasp tool or roughing pad to the hole and immediate surrounding area.

Insert the plug or repair cord into the threader--a device which has a "T" handle at one end and a needle eye at the other end. Plunge the repair cord or plug into the hole. Cut the surplus of the plug or repair chord with scissors. Remount the tire and fill it to the manufacturer's recommended pressure, located on the outside wall.

Tip

  • If the valve is leaking, purchase a valve repair kit and follow its installation instructions which include removing and bleeding the tire completely. Installing the new valve and then re-inflating the tire.

Items you will need

About the Author

Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.

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Photo Credits

  • Heat and flat tire image by Vladimir Jovanovic from Fotolia.com