It’s easy to tell when one of your tires has a slow air leak: You notice that one of your tires is a little low, so you stop by an air pump and fill it up, only to have it go down again overnight.
The cause of a slow leak is almost always a foreign object like a nail or screw lodged in the tire. Most slow leaks can easily be fixed by the owner as long as he/she has an air compressor or portable air tank with which to re-inflate the tire after the repair has been made. Here’s how:
1 – Purchase a tire repair kit which contains a rasp, a tire plug insertion tool, a number of tire plugs and a tube of cement. These kits are readily available at auto parts stores, Wal-Mart, Kmart or most any retailer that sells automotive related hardware.
2 – Put on a pair of safety goggles.
3 – Remove the leaking tire from the vehicle.
4 – With a pair of heavy-duty pliers and the rasp tool in hand, pour some soapy water over the tire. When you see air bubbles you have found the leak.
5 – Use the pliers to remove the foreign object from the tire and immeditately push the rasp into the hole vacated by the foreign object.
6 – Briskly move the rasp up and down in the hole a few times to clean it out and prepare it for receiving a plug. Leave the rasp in the hole for the time being.
7 – Coat one of the tire plugs from the kit with cement and insert it into the slot in the tip of the insertion tool. Remove the rasp from the hole in the tire, then immediately push the plug insertion tool (with the plug attached) into it. Push the tool into the tire until half of the plug is inside.
8 – In one swift motion, quickly pull the insertion tool out, leaving the plug itself lodged inside the hole.
9 – Clip off the part of the plug that’s sticking out of the tire with a pair of diagonal cutters.
10 – Wait 10 minutes to allow the cement to dry, then re-inflate the tire to the recommended tire pressure and re-install it onto the vehicle.
That’s all there is to it. Even though there are a number of steps involved, the entire process only takes about 15 minutes. And doing it yourself will save you between $10 and $20 every time you run over a nail or screw!
About the author: Carl Kinnison worked in the retail automotive industry for over 20 years before retiring and beginning a very successful second career as a writer and consultant.