If your tire has a slow air leak and you can't figure out why, it could be time to repair the tire valve. Replacing or repairing a tire valve is inexpensive, quick and easy. Having the work done at a shop could cost you $20 to $30 but you can do it yourself in under 10 minutes of time and for less than $5, here's how.
Before you begin you will need a couple of tools to assist you in the repair. You will need a valve stem tool and a replacement valve core. Both of these should be readily available from any auto parts store. The valve stem tool is shaped like a "+" symbol.
First, you need to determine if your valve stem is leaking or not. You can do this by rubbing a mixture of dish soap and water over the uncapped valve stem with your finger. If bubbles begin to form it means air is escaping and the valve is leaking. If no air escapes you could have another slow leak elsewhere in the tire.
Now that you have determined the valve is bad, you need to deflate the tire. It is best to remove the tire in order to make this repair. While it is possible to make this repair when the tire is attached to the car it is always important to remember safety first. If the vehicle is jacked up, don't wrench on the tire or else you could pull the car off the jack. Once the tire is deflated, use the valve stem tool to unscrew the valve from the tire. It is important to note that the tire needs to be completely deflated before you remove the old core. Any pressure inside the tire will cause the core to shoot out of the damage potentially causing bodily harm. It is a good idea to wear safety glasses just in case. Dispose of the old valve core.
Using the tapered end of the valve core tool clean the valve stem. Make sure you keep the opening clean of debris and dirt and that any obstructions are removed from the area and inside the tire.
Install the new core using the valve stem tool. The same end of the tool that was used to remove the old core should be used to install the new one. Tighten the new valve by hand but be sure not to over tighten it or you could damage your repair, forcing the new valve to leak. Once installed, re-inflate your tire and replace the valve cap.
In 5 simple steps and 10 minutes you have just successfully replaced your tire valve. Some tire dealers will attempt to sell customers new tires when they have slow leaks, potentially costing you a lot of money. Repairing a tire valve is quick and easy and can greatly extend the life of your tires.