Can Rims Leak Air?

Can Rims Leak Air?

Yes, it possible for rims to leak air without the tire having a puncture. There are a few reasons why this may happen, and each one has different effects.

The simplest reason why your wheel may leak is the tire was not installed correctly in the first place. When mounted, the tire bead and wheel have to create an airtight seal. If this wasn't achieved, then the wheel can leak air. If this is the case, then your reputable tire shop will likely take the tire off the rim; proceed to clean and polish the part of the rim that seats with the tire bead and remount the tire.

No matter how good you take care of your car, rims are always going to be exposed to the harsh environment. Not everyone has access to a carport or garage, and thus their cars are parked outside. Driving on the street and freeway subjects wheels to dirt, debris, brake dust, and harsh chemicals. Depending on where you live, your wheels may even be heavily exposed to road salts. Exposing your wheels to all these things and combining improper maintenance will lead to wheel corrosion.

When combining road salt and valve stems, it is not uncommon for air leaks to occur. These leaks occur due to corrosion where the valve stem is inserted into the rim. Road salt gets under the rubber stem and begins to corrode the valve hole in the metal. The valve stem itself can also corrode. This is a simple fix, however. The valve stem can be easily replaced at a tire shop.

Road salt and wheels do not mix very well. While driving, it is common for road salt to get wedged between the rim's lip and the tire bead. When aluminum corrodes, it swells and expands. This swelling and expansion can push the tire bead slightly off of the rim. This will subsequently cause a leak. This is also common if you live close to the beach.


To correctly clean and maintain your wheels, start off with the least aggressive method. This will also include water, soap, and a soft-bristled brush. If your wheels are considerably dirty of you see residue left over from road salts, use a wheel cleaner. Wheel cleaners will remove road grime, brake dust, and road salts. Take precaution and do not to leave the product on for longer than recommended. Once the wheels are clean and dried, we recommend you apply a detailing spray or wax. This will add much needed protection from corrosion.

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