Air leaks from tires for a variety of reasons, but the most common is a faulty valve stem. The valve stem is the part of your tire that sticks out of your wheel rim. That’s where air enters and exits your tire. It’s also very susceptible to road hazards and corrosion since it’s exposed to the elements at all times.
Valve stems can become damaged by a wide range of things, including nails, screws and rocks on the road. If your tire has visible damage, you’ll need to replace it.
Valve stems can also fail because they get corroded or rusted over time—which causes them to leak air just like a broken straw will leak soda when you poke it with your finger. If you have an older car with rusty valve stems, replacing them might be worthwhile since they’re fairly cheap (typically $5-$10) and easy to replace yourself in about 10 minutes each (assuming you already have the tools).
How can you tell if your tires are losing air? If your car pulls to one side and the tire pressure is low, that can indicate a leak.
As mentioned earlier, a car that’s pulling to one side or has low tire pressure may have a leak. Some of the other signs include a slow leak in one particular tire, and low tire pressure (which can be measured using a tire pressure gauge).
Another way to check your tire pressure is by looking at the TPMS light (the Tire Pressure Monitoring System light) during startup. The TPMS is an electronic system that monitors the air in your tires and alerts you if it drops below a certain threshold. If it’s lit up on startup, you may have low air in one or more of your tires.
You can use an air compressor, which will inflate your tires fully in just a few minutes.
Use an air compressor
If you’re in a hurry to get your car on the road, you can use an air compressor to quickly inflate the tires. Some models have built-in compressors that allow you to simply plug it into any standard household outlet (110 volts) and start inflating. Others require a separate air compressor, which is typically more powerful than a built-in one.
Keep in mind that some tire gauge manufacturers recommend using only their own brand of air compressor for proper functionality, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines before purchasing an air compressor or tire gauge separately.
To use an air compressor:
- Make sure your tires are cool before proceeding (see Air Pressure above).
- Insert the end of the nozzle into one of the valve stems on your tires, then turn on the power switch on your air compressor. The tire should begin inflating immediately as indicated by the readings on your pressure gauge monitor (if applicable). If not, check that all hoses are securely fastened to both ends and make sure there is sufficient power from your source (check electrical fuse if applicable). If you have a digital pressure gauge with low voltage warning feature it will automatically reset when power is restored by turning off and then back on again after at least 30 seconds delay between actions (or as recommended in User Manual).
A faulty tire valve causes many problems with tire pressure.
Always check your tire pressure when your car has been sitting for longer than two days. If you find it has been losing air, chances are there’s a faulty tire valve. This can cause air to escape, which means your tires are underinflated.
You may want to consider replacing the valve stems with new ones to fix this problem and prevent future issues with tire pressure. You can either replace the entire set of four at once or replace them one by one until all have been replaced.