Waking up to a flat tire can be pretty aggravating. Even after taking it to a tire shop for inspection, you find that your perfectly good tire is losing air every day. The time has come to learn how to repair tire valve problems instead of fixing flats. The air valve inside the tire valve inlet may be stuck or broken. Fixing a tyre's air valve can cure nightly tire deflations that ruin good mornings from here on out.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Floor jack
- Jack stand
- Air compressor
- Valve tool
- Valve core
Park the vehicle on a flat surface and jack up the wheel with the leaking air valve. Raise it so the tire is at least two inches off the floor when inflated. Place a jack stand under the axle that has been lifted to support the weight of the vehicle as you repair the leaking tire valve.
Inflate the tire to its correct driving pressure. Listen near the air valve to confirm that in fact it is the valve stem that is leaking. A persistent hissing will signal the air valve needs to be repaired. Let half of the air out of the tire. Use the air valve tool to press the air valve actuator to release air from the tire.
Put the end of a valve tool into the top of the air valve inlet and turn counter-clockwise to retract the air valve out of the stem. Loosen the valve like a screw until it can be pulled free of the stem. Once the valve is free of its threads the remaining air from the tire will be released in a rush. Throw the old air valve out.
Insert a new valve into the stem and screw it into place with the valve tool. Turn the valve into its threads clockwise until snug. Do not over tighten a tire valve to prevent damage during installation. Fill the tire until it is pressurised to the specifications listed on the sidewall of the tire. Inspect the new air valve for leaks by listening for escaping air.
Raise the tire up high enough with the floor jack to remove the jack stand. Lower the tire back onto a flat surface and take the floor jack out from under the vehicle. Drive the vehicle for a few minutes. Inspect the tire to see that it is maintaining air pressure before driving for extended distances.
Tips and warnings
- Pull the valve stem from on side to the other while the tire is inflated. Some cracks can form around the base of the stem that cannot be fixed by replacing an air valve core. Valve stems with cracks must be replaced completely with the tire off and a new valve installed from inside the wheel. Spray the valve with WD40 to lubricate it before an old valve core is removed or a new one is installed.
- Some tires have a valve stem that is monitored by a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensor). Removing air valve stems that are monitored can cause a code to come on in your vehicle computer resulting in a check engine light. These tire air valves are more common in late model vehicles and needs to be confirmed before attempting to repair tire valve problems in equipped vehicles.
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