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4 Reasons Your Tire is Losing Pressure

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filling tires with air checking pressure

Although I am aware that my driver’s side tire has a slow leak, it is still frustrating to see the tire pressure warning light pop up on my dashboard. That little light seems to only come on when I’m running late. I know I have to take time to pull out the air compressor and pump up my tire to its recommended psi. If I’m already late, a few extra minutes really aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of things. Getting stranded with a flat tire, though, would be much worse. I’ve examined the tire, and there is no visible damage or indication of a tear, crack, bulge, or bump. So, why is my tire pressure falling?

Car Care: How to maintain your tires

Reader’s Digest writer, Robert Lacivita explains there are several possibilities to explain why a tire loses air.

1. Puncture

According to Lacivita, a sharp object can impact a tire and fall out. The damage has been done, but the visible culprit is gone.

2. Aging components

Even if tires “look” fine, age has a significant effect on how a tire works.

“Made from rubber, valve stems can deteriorate over time. They also can be damaged from hitting a curb or even from an automatic car wash brush,” warns Lacivita. “Keep your valve stems clean and always replace the valve cap, but don’t overtighten it.”

Another component to check out is the rim. Air will leak out if the connection between the rim and tire bead is corroded. According to Lacivita, rims made of magnesium alloy or die-cast aluminum are magnets for corrosion.

“Be sure your tire technician inspects the area where the wheel and bead seal before installing new tires. As well as being unsafe, even a new tire will never properly seal to a badly corroded wheel,” he advises.

3. Sidewall tears

A tear or hole in the tread isn’t the only place air can escape. A tear or rip in the sidewall can be the cause of lost tire pressure, as well.

Maintenance Check: Idle car care tips

4. Too much air

Too much air is just as dangerous as too little air. Tires should be inflated to their recommended psi.

Maintaining tires is essential to driving safety. When in doubt about the health of your tires, seek out the advice of an automotive professional.