Tires usually leak due to a faulty valve stem which may release small amounts of air, a problem that worsens in cold weather.
If you are confused about what to do in case of air leakage from the valve stem, we’ve conclusively tackled a series of hypothetical situations that may serve your needs.
Air Leaking From Valve Stem Base
Air leakage from the valve stem base is mostly caused by the wearing out of the valve stems. Valve stem damage may result in slow or fast air leaks, which require valve replacement. You can easily replace a leaking valve stem using a valve stem tool with a new valve core.
Read on to learn more on leaking valve stems, how far you can drive with a leaking valve stem, the cost of repairing a valve stem, and much more on the dangers of driving in leaking tires!
What Causes A Leaky Valve Stem?
Valve stem leaks are usually caused by wear and tear or damage to the valve stems. Gradually, the stem valve may become brittle and fractured, increasing the likelihood of air leaks.
Fractures in the valve stem may cause quick loss of air from the tires, and this air loss at highway speeds can lead to tire failure and a loss-of-control crash.
Can You Drive With A Leaky Valve Stem?
You can drive with a leaky valve stem, but this means that you’ll be driving on underinflated tires, and that brings its own set of issues.
Internal tire damage that can reduce its service life by up to a quarter increases consumption of fuel owing to greater rolling resistance: the tire will wear out faster and will take a toll on your energy efficiency.
Your tire’s grip will be lessened, and the car’s cornering stability will be compromised, not excluding the tire’s more noticeable deformation, which will raise its internal temperature, potentially causing it to burst.
Finally, a low tire pressure raises the chance of hydroplaning.
All this is to say that tire pressure is crucial and you shouldn’t drive with a leaky valve stem unless you’re going very slowly to the shop.
How Do You Fix A Leaky Valve Stem?
You can easily fix a leaking valve stem yourself using a valve stem tool. Only a valve core tool and a package of fresh valve cores are required, which are both inexpensive.
It is easy to fix a tire leak. Jack up the wheel. Then, using a valve core tool, remove the old core, screw in a new core (tighten it up – the threads can easily be stripped), and then refill the tire.
However, here are a few pieces of advice: first, put on safety glasses when removing the old valve core. When the air is released, debris or even the old core might strike you in the eyes.
Second, thoroughly examine the old core threads. Using the tap end of the valve core tool, clean the inside threads of the valve stem if they show any signs of rust.
Finally, always use a valve stem cap to keep dirt out! Dirt surrounding the core is most likely what caused the problem.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Leaking Valve Stem?
The cost of replacing a tire valve stem is determined by the specialist you hire and the sort of system your car uses.
Suppose your car has a tire pressure monitoring system (which is standard on all vehicles manufactured after 2007), some of these systems will employ a sensor that is integrated into the valve stem.
This increases the cost of the part by $75 to $125 per wheel if the sensor has to be changed as well.
However, most mechanics and tire shops should be able to do an easy valve replacement without any sensors or computer components for less than $5 to $30 per tire.
Depending on the shop policy, some mechanics may charge a shop minimum, but most are glad to provide a quotation over the phone.
A higher-quality four-pack will cost a little less than $10 if only the components are purchased, and no expert repairs are required.
Can You Replace A Valve Stem Without Removing The Tire?
It is possible to replace the valve stem without removing the tires; however, you have to remove air from the tires and push the tire off the rim, also referred to as breaking the bread.
It’s recommended to break the bead off the vehicle on a tire machine. If the valve stem is made of rubber, cut off the inside portion and pull the stem from the outside.
How Far Can You Drive On A Leaking Tire?
Driving on a slow-leaking tire can be just as dangerous as driving on a flat tire. You will be at high risk of experiencing blowouts or increasingly damaging your wheel.
Tire blowouts may occur anytime for any reason, but a slow leaking tire has a higher likelihood of blowing up than a new tire.
Your tire becomes structurally unstable as a result of the slow leak, greatly increasing the chance of tire failure. Blowouts may result in serious accidents and injuries.
Can A Leaking Tire Explode?
As stated above, there is a high likelihood of tire explosion from a leaking tire.
Slow leaks aren’t always evident, but they may be dangerous. Like any other type of leak, slow leaks cause the tire’s air pressure to drop to dangerously low levels.
If you lose pressure on your tires while driving, the tires will produce more heat than usual.
Excessive heat and friction can cause a blowout by wearing through the rubber unexpectedly. This risk is especially prevalent while traveling at highway speeds.
Wearing out of the valve stem eventually causes valve stem leaks through the gradual development of brittles and fractures on the valve stem.
Driving on a slowly deflating tire is just as risky as driving on a flat tire with high possibilities of tire bursts.
Fortunately, it is possible to repair a leaking valve stem by yourself if you have a valve stem tool and new valve cores.
If you decide to replace the valve stem yourself, buying a packet of valve stem costs $10, while a visit to the mechanic will have you parting with $30.
Air leaks from the valve stem may be slow or fast depending on the damage extent but both will still require valve stem replacement.