Aaron Widmar
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All You Ever Wanted to Know About Tire Valve Stem Caps

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Tire valve stem cap blue dice fancy wheel accessory

Most of us don’t give those plastic caps on our car’s tires a second glance after filling them with air, but even the smallest parts of a car serve a purpose — and can be gaudily tricked out. If you’d like to know more about valve stem caps, these are the most commonly asked questions.

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What function do tire valve stem caps serve?

That plastic screw-on cap on the tip of that knob protruding from the tire is a valve stem cap. It keeps dirt, moisture, and small debris from entering into the tire. It protects the Schrader valve, which is what keeps the air or nitrogen in your tires.

What happens if I lose a tire valve stem cap?

Because valve stem caps aren’t designed to keep air in the tire, losing one won’t result in that tire deflating. However, it may cause internal damage to the tire if the exposed Schrader valve gets damaged. Luckily, it is not an expensive part to replace, as most stem caps are one-size-fits-all, and you can pick a pack up online for a couple bucks.

Can I make my car’s valve stem caps trendier?

The standard valve stem cap is a boring plastic cone, but you’d be amazed at the numerous varieties of decorative caps you can purchase. With selections ranging from dice to bullets to crowns to rhinestone-encrusted studs, there’s a cap for your style. Just be aware that the nicer the are, the more of a target they’ll be for thieves.

What should I do if I can’t get the cap off?

Sometimes, your valve stem caps may fuse to the stem, especially if they’re made of a low-quality metal that rusted. If lubricants don’t loosen it, you can cut the top and sides of the cap with a hacksaw and carefully avoid cutting into the valve itself. This should loosen it enough for you to pry it off.

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Sources: BlueStar, It Still Runs