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How To Fix A Slow Leak In A Car Tire

How To Fix A Slow Leak In A Car Tire? Cause & Signs

A slow leak in a car tire occurs when it loses small amounts of air over a period of time, leading to flat tires and, sometimes, in extreme cases, tire blowouts. Fixing slow leaks is not a big issue, but, to do so, you’ll first need to find the leak.

So, how can you detect a slow leak in your car tire? Finding a slow leak might be hard unless there’s apparent damage to your car tires. Thankfully, most car producers from 2008 started installing tire pressure monitoring systems to notify the driver when the tire pressure drops below 25%. If your car does not have this pressure monitoring system for its tires, you can detect a slow leak by noticing a change in its handling.

This article will help you learn how to find a leak in a car tire and how to go about fixing the slow leak in the car tire. 

Why your tires might have a slow leak?

Why your tires might have a slow leak

Wheel Damage

Wheel damage can be caused by corrosion, hitting speed bumps at high speeds, entering potholes, etc. Corrosion and heavy hits on the wheel cause the tire to pull away from the wheel’s mounting surface over time, resulting in air leaks. 

Valve Stem Damage

Your valve stem keeps the air in your tires from escaping and adds and removes air from your tires when needed. When this valve stem gets damaged or worn out due to time deterioration or exposure to the chemicals on the road, air starts leaking out slowly, resulting in deflated tires. Valve stems could get spoiled from being over-tightened. 

Tire Damage 

Direct damage to the tire does not always immediately result in a flat. When an item like broken glass, nails, or debris gets into the tire, it could remain lodged there for a while, resulting in air leaking out of the tire slowly. 

Recommend Reading: How To Let Air Out Of Tire? Easy Ways To Follow

How to find a leak in a car tire?

How to find a leak in a car tire

The first step in fixing a slow leak will be figuring out the location of the leak itself. So, if you have noticed any signs indicating that your tires are leaking air slowly, how can you find the location the that leak ?

Using your sense of hearing and touch

In simple cases, by simply listening for a leaking sound, you could pinpoint its location. You can keep an ear out for a hissing sound from your tires. The closer you get to the leak, the louder the hissing sound gets. 

Your sense of touch could be used. You do this by feeling your way around the tire, looking for the punctured material, or feeling hot air shooting out of the tire. You can listen for a hissing sound and then feel around the area. The hissing is loudest for hot air too. 

Using soap and water

If you’ve felt around and listened for an air leak without success, your next action should be to use the soap and water method. It’s pretty easy. Just add dish soap and water to a spray bottle. Start by spraying the soap and water mixture onto the valve stem, then the rim’s inner and outer parts. Pour some soapy water mixtures on the tread and sidewalls to see if any damage could be causing a leak you haven’t seen. If bubbles start forming in the sprayed area, that’s an indication air is leaking from the area. 

This process requires patience because the rate at which the bubbles form depends on the leak’s size.

Submerging the tire in water

This is a more drastic measure to find any air leakage from the tire. You do this by removing the tire from the car and submerging it in water. If bubbles are formed, you trace them back to their source to find the leak. If you can’t find any bubbles, flip the tire to its other side and wait for a few minutes.

How to fix a car tire leak?

How to fix a car tire leak

Now that you’ve figured out where the air leak originates and need a way to fix it, what’s your next step? It’s best to seek professional help to diagnose and take care of a leaky tire, but it is possible to fix it yourself. The site of the leak determines its fix and if you’ll be able to fix it personally.

Tire sealants or special plug kits can be used if a puncture causes an air leak in the tire. To use a sealant, you will need a pressure gauge and an air pump. You start by inserting the mouth of the sealant into the hole where the tire is losing air, ensuring the sealant pours right on the inside surface.

The sealant will work as a protective layer in the tire, so when you start pumping air into it, the sealant will get pushed into the puncture and form a rubber-like plug, thereby fixing your tire.

If a spoilt valve causes the air leak, you will need a valve removal tool, a new valve, and a car jack. Using the removal tool, you remove the spoilt valve from the wheel. If there are any signs of corrosion, try to clean the stem before installing the new valve, insert and screw the new valve, and use an air pump to pump the tire up.

If the air leak is caused by a bent or corroded wheel or a pinhole leak in the car, it’ll be best to seek a professional for the job. Do not try to fix the bent wheel by hammering it. You might do more harm than good. 

Avoid using slime to fix a car tire leak permanently. It only serves as a temporary solution. 


When you frequently refill your tires, you might have a slow leak. Contrary to popular belief, not all tire leaks lead to immediate flats. A tire could have a slow leak where it loses air at a slow pace. It’s important to catch these slow leaks early because they could cause unexpected tire blowouts, leading to accidents. 

If you suspect your car tires have a slow leak, diagnosing and fixing it is not a big problem. Just follow the instructions in this article, and if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself, you can seek the help of an expert or professional.

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