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tire valve stems / weights


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Ever since getting my new tires back in 2002, I have been plagued with this one wheel loosing air slowly in the cold weather. Took the wheel back to Costo several times, and my visit last year, they read in my profile that they will not fix it till I get a new rim. they said there is corrosion around the valve stem that cannot be fixed with the tire adhesive. The guy said they will accept bolt on valve stems. I think the wheels always had the black rubber valve stem. Can I upgrade it for sake of reliability?

The rims have absolutely no scraps, scratches, peeling, etc. on the outside. I don't want to replace it. I am trying to get low profile chrome valve stems. I'm just not sure what it should be made of (aluminum, crome plated etc.) I don't want a metal reaction to occur that either causes a blowout, or damage to the rim. Also, they keep putting those weights on the outside of the tire, & they keep falling off within a few hundred miles. what should I get - balance weights for chrome rims?


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I would certainly think that they could wire wheel any rust to clean it up and then use the sealant like on the bead.

If you are loosing wheel weights, they are using the wrong profile clips for your wheels and you're throwing them. See my thread "Ruby's Vibrator" from a few years ago.

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I believe that you have the same rims that I do (check the photo in my signature block). They are seven-spoke chrome plated aluminum 16-inch by 7-inch wheels.

I had some four-year-old tires begin to seep air and my mechanic couldn't find it. It took the tires, Michelin Pilot Sport A/S, back to where I bought them, which is an NTW outlet. They found a slow leak on the bead, dis-mounted the tire, scrubbed the rim of both the wheel and tire, re-mounted and balanced the tire for free, and we were done.

A new wheel for your car or mine is on the order of $400 if you can find one at this late date. Cardio-Doc in Florida will set you up if you need to go that way. If you need wheel weights that will work on your wheel, a real tire place will have them. I don't like it, but tire places use special weights tapped on to my rims almost like the old steel rim days, but I never see any scratches from old weights, so I guess it's OK. If you don't have hard chrome plated wheels, they regular finish will be more likely to scratch, but my wife's Pontiac Grand Am has these wheels and they aren't scratched up, either. Special weights that stick inside the rim and don't show are available from most large tire dealers but I don't think you really want those unless you are entering a concours or something.

You can detect a slow leak at the valve stem by painting the base of the valve stem with soapy water; use the same stuff that your kid uses to blow bubbles if you have it. After driving the car and with it and the tires hot, jump right out and paint the base of the stem with soapy water. If you don't see it, try it again early on a cold morning; you said that it leaks in the wintertime and that may be when it is leaking. But, my money is on the bead. The most likely place for a bead to leak is the left front, outside, because that bead pulls back on hard right corners and dirt can work its way in there over time.

What you do is your call. My feeling is that what has worked for a car for 12 years or so should be just fine, and I wouldn't want to upgrade the valve stems because you must de-mount and re-mount all four tires as well as install the metal valve stems. This is a bit pricey for metal valve stems, which I don't like anyway because they can be bent and cracked, or knocked off completely, by road hazards or vandals, which is essentially an instant flat tire or blowout. You can fix one valve stem by de-mounting one tire. That's what I would do. Go to a real tire place, not the Costco mechanic area; it may not be free but what Costco wants to do is very expensive.

Bottom line: you need a real tire place.

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I have had a slow leak in one of my wheels and it has taken its toll on the tire, its hard to keep it at the correct air pressure. I need to find out where its leaking from. i was under the impression they could put some 'stick-em' on the bead to stop leaks. Next time I rotate my tires I am going to bring a wire brush and ask them to give me the wheel for me to inspect it.

I always request that the weights be put on the INSIDE of the wheel so as not to damage the visible side of the wheel. I use costco also.

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About tire leaks and weights....

Maybe it's just me... but... I would throw a wall eyed hissy fit if ANYONE ever put clipon weights on my chrome wheels. I insist on the stickon weights that go inside the wheel.

On leaks... check and make sure that the valve CORE is tightened snugly. If it is a tiny bit lose, it will seep air.

Take the valve cap off... wet your finger with a little bit of spit... place it on the top of the valve stem. If it don't stay there for several seconds... you have a leak at the valve CORE... not around the stem.

If it is leaking around the bead... I have seen those leaks fixed with a BIG RUBBER HAMMER. Take the tire off... lay it on the ground... put a generous amount of soapy water around the bead/wheel area. Check both front and back of the wheel.

A bubble indicates a leak. Get a small piece of carpet... lay it on the wheel in that area and give it a few HARD WHACKS with a large rubber hammer. I don't know why that works, but a large percentage of the time it will.

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Just to add to that, I've had very small rim leaks from a rusted wheel at the bead and soapy water did not show it till I pumped the tire to 70 psi. Then it foamed like a mad dog.

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