Most cars these days come fitted with aluminum rims. The option to fit steel rims is expensive. In addition, steel rims are heavier than aluminum ones. Therefore, people prefer the weight and cost-saving alternative: aluminum rims. However, aluminum rims aren’t as strong as steel ones. In most instances of your wheels leaking air, these rims are the culprits. There’s no reason to blame it all on the rubber parts, as most drivers do.
If you’ve been replacing your tires yet don’t see an improvement, you most likely have a leaking rims problem. Here is what you need to know about how to stop aluminum rims from leaking air.
Do Aluminum Car Rims Leak Air?
Sometimes leaks happen because of improper tire installation. The tire bead and wheel have to mesh perfectly and produce an airtight seal during installation. More often than not, therein lies the root of the problem. So, this warrants further action. You’ll most likely need to take the car back to the auto shop to clean the rim and wheels before the next step. Dirt and debris can also interfere with the integrity of the seal.
Aside from that, a dented or corroded rim might also result in a flat tire. Rims are constantly exposed to the harsh environment. Plus, there’s the heat, humidity, cold, potholes, rocks on the road, and general wear and tear. Furthermore, general neglect gives these elements plenty of opportunities to damage the rims. The tires will rust or bend with time, thus breaking the seal necessary to prevent air from leaking.
Therefore, anything that interferes with the structural integrity of the rims is likely to cause leakage.
How Do You Stop Aluminum Rims From Leaking?
You need to fix this issue of leaking aluminum rims as soon as possible, and early detection will save you from hefty repair and replacement costs. Here are some ways to stop the leaking:
When you notice a leak, you need to have the tires removed, and the rims cleaned. There will be a build-up of dirt and corroding deposits on the bead and rim contact points, so start by removing the debris that’s interfering with the seal.
Additionally, you need to ensure that cleaning the rims is part of the regular servicing schedule. Since exposure to the elements means dirt build-up in the rims, you need to regularly remove such build-up to maintain the seal’s integrity.
Yes, you can repair aluminum rims. Scratches and dents are not the ends of the world as long as they don’t progress to cracks or other irreversible damage. You should take your car to a specialty shop with the right equipment to reverse the damage without causing cracks. In addition, check for information on the nickel content of the rims. Rims with a low nickel content tend to be easier to straighten. On the other hand, while more nickel equals stronger rims, the repair process might be lengthier.
3. Applying Sealant
Before applying sealant, you have to locate from where does the air comes from:
- First, check for dirt or corrosion on the seal contact points.
- Next, check to see if there are any bends on the rim.
- You should then fix those issues and clean the rims.
- Additionally, clean the tire bead to ensure no dirt deposits on the rims.
Afterward, you’ll have to reseal the aluminum rims. Start by spreading a thin coat of bead sealant around the seal contact points. The sealant should come with a brush which you can use to spread it thoroughly across the contact section. At the same time, use the brush to apply a sealant to the tire bead. Once you’re done with that, install the tire back on the rim.
To test the integrity of the seal, re-inflate the wheel and apply soapy water all over the seal. Then, look closely for any bubbles forming. If you spot any, that’s where the air escapes from. Hence, double-check the rim for dents.
If you’ve taken all these steps and there’s still a leak, you need to consider replacing the rim. In short, avoid driving in such conditions at all costs, as it may easily result in an accident or you losing control over the vehicle.
See Also: How Do I Know What Rims Fit My Car?
Maintenance: How Do I Stop My Rims From Leaking?
Proper car maintenance is the key to safe driving sessions. In addition, it saves you from so many repair and replacement expenses. Also, make sure to never neglect caring for the wheels too. Failing to do so can set you on a risky path that’s also hard on your pocket. So, it’s best to devote your due diligence and remain on the safe side.
- First, you need to keep the wheels clean. The wheels collect a lot of dirt, almost as much as the front bumper. They are also first in line to taste the outside conditions. So, by keeping them clean, you assure their longevity. On the other hand, you can spot any dents on spotless tires more easily. Similarly, cleaning prevents corrosion inside the rims.
- Second, you need to ensure that your regular car servicing covers the rims. It should include separating the tires, cleaning the rims, and checking the seals. Aside from clean tires, this process might highlight the need to look for a replacement at the right time. Then, ensure you apply a sealant to the seal sections before assembling the wheel.
- Lastly, you need to be gentle while driving and stay away from risky situations. Avoid running over bumps, grazing the curb, or driving into potholes. Such physical abuse is likely to bend or even crack the rims, apart from causing other damage to the car.
The sooner you fix an air leak, the lesser the costs you’ll incur. So, follow our advice on how to perform the necessary steps. It will help you take care of your rims better by way of knowing how to identify the issue as soon as it appears.