Car tires are like your favorite sweater; you are not going very far without them. Sadly, neither of them is meant to last forever and will eventually be put through wear and tear. When this happens, you need to consider tire repairing or replacing.
When it comes to tires, you may feel out of your comfort zone. On occasion, you’ll face a tire rim leak. This issue is caused when water makes its way into the wheel and sits just where the tire and rim meet. This will cause the metal to corrode slowly. You know you have a leak when the air pressure starts gradually decreasing.
How to fix a tire rim leak? We’ll cover this and more within this guide.
The process of fixing a tire rim leak may feel daunting. However, it’s fairly simple. Begin by identifying the leak, releasing the air from the tire, removing it from the rim, and cleaning the inside. Then, realign the seal, double-check for any remaining leaks, and fill back up with air. Read on for a more in-depth guide.
This brief guide will teach you how to fix a tire rim leak like a true professional.
1. Identify the Leak
The first thing that you want to do is identify the location of the leak. To do so, remove the tire from your vehicle and place it on a flat surface with the air valve facing upwards.
Then, apply soapy water around the rim. The soap will allow you to identify the exact location of the leak while you slowly fill the tire with more air. You’ll notice bubbles forming. If a rim leak cannot be identified, then you should flip the tire over and repeat this process.
After you have found the location of the leak, mark it with something easy to wash away like chalk. This will prevent you from losing the leak in the process of fixing it.
2. Release the Air
Release the air from the tire by pressing on the valve stem or by using a valve-stem removal tool. You should release enough air so that the tire can separate from the rim.
3. Remove From the Rim
The tire and the rim are held together with a seal that only tightens with the air inside it. So, for this step, you will need something a bit heavier to get the job done. Fortunately, a trusty hammer and a wooden plank will do the job just fine.
With the leak side facing up, hold one end of the plank between the edge of the rim and tire. Using a hammer, hit the other end of the wood until the rubber and the rim begin to separate. The force from each hit will slowly release the seal until both the rim and the tire are fully separated.
4. Clean the Inside
This is the one step you don’t want to skip and perhaps the most important. It’s likely there is a lot of dirt and grime that has accumulated between the tire and the rim. This grime is actually what causes leaks in the first place, so you want to make sure you eliminate it. You can do so by cleaning it thoroughly.
For this process, you will need warm water, soap, and a rag. Dip the rag in the soapy water and clean the inside of the rim. Afterward, dry the rim using a clean rag. This will help prevent rust — another culprit of rim leaks.
5. Realign the Seal
Place the needle back into the valve stem and fill the tire back up with air. While you are refilling, you should aggressively pull on the edges of the tire to realign the seal. When the tire touches the rim, the air will help it seat itself back on the rim.
6. Double Check for Remaining Leaks
Now, before placing the tire back on your car, you should double-check for any remaining leaks by repeating the soapy water process you used to identify the first leak. If you find a leak, repeat this process. If you have zero luck fixing the leak, it’s time to reach out to a professional.
7. Refill With Air
Once you determine there are no other leaks, you can refill the tire with air and place it back onto your car.
And there you have it! You now know how to fix a tire rim leak. Instead of taking your vehicle to your nearest mechanic, save yourself time and money and do it yourself.
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