It’s always a strange feeling to open up the garage door, look at your car, and wonder: hey, wait – is it leaning to the side? Has the tire always looked like that? Or worse, you wake up in the morning to find that one of your tires is completely flat even though it looked normal the night before. Tire air leaks can be notoriously hard to find, especially when they’re small, but they can cause big problems if left unrepaired. Here’s how to find an air leak in a tire.
How to Find an Air Leak in a Tire
Before you grab your flashlight and search for the air leak in your tire, you’ll need to grab some materials. Some of these are optional, but they can help you find tricky air leaks faster.
You will need:
- Spray bottle or sponge and bucket
- Optional: Marker or chalk
- Optional: Tools to remove the wheel from your car (eg. Jack stand and tire iron)
- Optional: Flashlight
- Time and patience
- Inflate your tire. It’s easier to find your air leak, especially if your tire is very deflated.
- Fully inspect your tire. If you can, take the tire off your vehicle so that you can see the interior of the tire. Look at it under good light, and enlist a friend or family member to double-check you. Two sets of eyes is better than one! Some leaks, like gashes, big holes, or a nail in the tire are obvious. Other problems aren’t as obvious, such as hairline cracks or issues with the wheel or valve stem.
- Mix a solution of water and dish detergent and pour the mixture onto your tire. You can do this step with either a sponge and bucket or by using a spray bottle to spritz the tire. When you see bubbles continue to form, that’s where your leak is located. Dry and mark the area with chalk or a marker and check the entire tire, since there could be more than one leak.
Depending on the size of the leak, you can temporarily plug the hole with a tire plug or a home tire repair kit. For larger leaks, you may want to take the vehicle to a tire service center and get an interior patch to prolong the life of the tire. You may want to consider replacing the tire if the tire is old or in bad condition.
And that’s it. Finding a tire air leak takes some time and patience, but most of the time, you’ll be able to pinpoint the source of the problem.
Sometimes, though, despite your best efforts, it may not be apparent why the tire is losing air. In these cases, the problem could be the valve stem or the wheel itself. In these cases, getting your tire looked at by a professional is the only way to stop an air leak.
Why You Should Get an Air Leak Fixed
It’s important to fix an air leak promptly after noticing that your tire is losing air. Why? A small air leak is easy enough to fill up every couple of weeks at the gas station, right?
In addition to the costs of refilling your tire, here are our top reasons for why you should get an air leak fixed:
- The air leak won’t fix itself and will only get worse.
- The uneven wear and tear on your tires will put your vehicle out of alignment faster.
- You will have to replace your other tires more frequently due to the uneven tread wear on your other tires.
- In a worst-case scenario, the low psi in your tire can cause heat to build up in the tire as you drive. This can lead to tire failure or blowout while you’re on the road.
Getting your air leak fixed is important to avoid the potential damage to your car, an accident caused by a blowout, or injury to yourself or to other people.
Fast and Convenient Wheel Realignment at T3 Atlanta
Although T3 Atlanta doesn’t do tire service, we can realign wheels caused by a leaking tire, making sure your ride is as smooth and comfortable as possible. We’re your go-to Nissan, Lexus, Infiniti, and Toyota experts with convenient metro Atlanta service in Smyrna and Decatur. Give us a call to make an appointment today!