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How to Unstick a Tire Valve Cap

by John Walker

Tire valves have caps to protect the internal part of the tire from pressure loss and moisture. The standard valve cap is a plastic unit that screws onto the threads of a valve stem. You have numerous after-market options to replace your stock valve caps. Those options typically are metallic caps or screw-on accessories likes skulls and dice. The after-market options can become difficult to remove if placed on the unit too tightly or the threads of the valve stem have rusted or been damaged.

Step 1

Rotate the wheel so that the valve cap is upside down as you look at it. Spray a small amount of spray lubricant onto the valve so that the lubricant can work into the threads to ease removal.

Step 2

Firmly grasp the base of the valve stem with snub-nosed pliers.

Step 3

Firmly grasp the cap with another set of snub-nosed pliers and twist the unit free.

Use a tire valve repair tool to clean the threads. Spray the threads with a little lubricant if signs of rust or damage are present. The valve repair tool has a corner that screws onto the valve stem. Use this edge to clean and repair the threads by screwing it onto the valve stem repeatedly.


  • After-market valve caps are mostly for aesthetic value and do not perform better than standard plastic caps at creating and maintaining a seal.

Items you will need

  • 2 snub-nosed pliers
  • Tire valve repair tool
  • Spray lubricant

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