We can already hear you asking, “what’s a valve stem?” Well, it is one of the most important parts of your tires because of it’s function and because it is a big potential problem area. The valve stem is the bit that sticks out that allows you to add or remove air from the tire. So, how often do you check yours?
If you answered, “never,” then you’re probably in the majority of Americans. It is, after all, a very small part that is easy to forget, even if you regularly check your tires. However, it is essential to perform regular checkups on this often overlooked part. Damage to a valve stem usually results in a leaky tire. Cracks can form, especially in especially hot or cold environments, and leak air, making more of a headache for you. If the damage gets worse, it can cause a flat, which is at best an inconvenience, and at worst it could happen on the freeway, which could be fatal.
The really annoying part of a damaged valve stem is that it’s a bit of a trickster; a damaged one will leak, and it can appear like there is a leak elsewhere in the tire. Properly diagnosing a leaky valve stem can be the difference between a $5 part and a $150 pair of new tires.
So, how do you check a valve stem? Well, if you have ever checked a bicycle tube for leaks, you’re already familiar. The easiest way is to make some warm, soapy water and apply it around the valve stem. If it starts blowing bubbles then it’s leaking. They usually develop cracks or small holes around the base, where they connect to the tire, but sometimes the valve itself can fail. In either case, either the soapy water test, or some attentive listening will tell you if there is a problem.
Checking your valve stems is another easy way to make sure that your tires are in peak condition. If you are experiencing a slow leak then give the soapy water test a shot. You might be able to fix the problem for pennies.
Have a leaky valve stem? We can replace them! Pay us a visit and we tell you everything you want to know about this humble part—and make sure that your tires are doing everything they can to give you the best drive possible.