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Tire slowly losing pressure with TMPS warning ... any gueses?

Dear Ownership,

I've been getting a low tire pressure warning and it says to check my right front tire. Yup, it's low, around 30 PSI. I take out my manual pump, get it back up to about 41 PSI and call it good. About 7 days later, the warning is back and indeed, it is around 30 PSI again.

I was on a road trip today from SLO back to the Bay Area and I packed my pump just in case. Yup, the warning came on and I pumped it back up and got home just fine. Do you think this is a leak in the tire? A faulty/aged valve? The tires are currently aimed for replacement at 30,000 miles, so I would hate to replace just one. I have about 20,000 miles on 21" ContinSilents. Thanks in advance for your guesses!

- K
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
That's typically a nail in your tire. Have a tire shop look. You can probably convince them to pull and patch. Just make sure they know not to lift your car thru the battery pack.

Yep. Had that exact scenario two days ago. I had a tire shop plug and patch after removing the nail.

If you drive in areas where winter road salt is used, it's not uncommon to get some corrosion right where the bead of the tire meets the aluminum rim. That can also cause slow leaks. In that case, you have to remove the tire, clean the edge of the rim and re-mount.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
Mknox, I'm pretty sure there is zero chance of salt on the roads in the Bay Area. :)

Yeah, more of a general comment for those in areas were salt is used :smile: When I first started getting cars with aluminum rims, this slow leak around the bead really threw me. I could find no nails, punctures etc. yet continued to experience slow leaks. I found that it would start occurring around the 2-year point, and removing the tire, grinding/polishing that section of the rim and re-mounting the tires was the cure.
 
I had the same issue a week ago. Took it into the service center and learned I had two bent wheels on my right side. A couple of weeks prior to that I had hit a pothole at night going about 50 mph (roads are bad down here after an extended period of heavy rain). At the time I checked the tires and rims and they looked fine. I was wrong!
 
Yes a slightly bent rim can also be a possible source of slow pressure loss. I have that problem on one of my wheels and will probably need to change the rims because of that.
Bent rims can be repaired pretty easily, as long as they haven't cracked. Check with a local body shop -- the ones I dealt with have an independent contractor who comes in and takes them off site to do the work.
 
Unfortunately what Khatsalano is describing is very consistent with a cracked wheel. Especially on the Tesla 21's this is a common problem. Here's hoping it's a valve stem or a tire issue, although a cracked wheel can be repaired for $100 or so.
 
Well, upon further inspection, I think I found the culprit. I'm amazed there was no difference to drive feel, considering I also did a 500-mile drive this week for work to San Luis Obispo! This has been there for three weeks probably (judging from when the TPMS warning went off) and I've also done some sporty drives to the coast on Skyline 35/Woodside 84 ... lucky it didn't rupture. :)

20151003_090152.jpg
 
UPDATE: This was fixed with a $4 tire patch kit from the local auto parts store and the assistance of a friend who knows how to do this. All good now. I used the kit with the sticky threads and the screwdriver-like tool that does not require taking the tire off the wheel. Just did the repair job at the curb with the front wheel turned out.

- K
 

gavine

Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast
Apr 1, 2014
2,631
2,206
Philadelphia, PA
I have plugged many many tires in my life. Twice on my Tesla Goodyears, I had a slow leak where I couldn't find the nail. The first time, I just kept topping-off the tire until the winter would be over so I can dip the tire in my pool to find the leak. One day I hear a girgling sound in the garage coming from the tire area. As it turned-out, the leak happened to be on the bottom of the tire as it sat in a puddle so I marked the sidewall and found the leak. It was the tiniest of nails.

Second time was over the summer. Same deal. I couldn't find the leak but this time I was able to dip it in the pool. On bubble every two seconds was the rate of leak. Another tiny nail. I fixed that one too. So far, in 23K miles, I have had four nails in my tires (other two were large and easy to find). A much higher rate than any time in the past. Could be a coincidence I suppose or just bad luck.
 
I've had two slow leaks. First was cracked rim on a21" P85. It had hit a pothole. Had to replace wheel. Then a slow leak between the tire bead and rim. I took the wheel off. Made up some soapy water. Put it in the joint betweet wheel and tire. Found many small bubbles. Turned out the previous owner had tires changed and there were tool marks across the rim bead seal area. Tire was remounted using black RTV around the rim bead seal area. Worked OK.
i'm going to 19" wheels and Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 tires. The 21" just seem too flimsy. Curb rash incidents evidently bend the wheels.
 

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