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I just bought a second-hand car, and when I got it home I tried to check the tyre pressures, with a simple mechanical pressure gauge like this, which I've used for years on previous cars with no issue.

It was fine for 3 of the 4 tyres, but I couldn't get a reading for one of them - no matter how hard I pressed the gauge into the valve, or the angle I pressed it in at, it seemed to be unable to press the pin in. Looking closer and comparing it to one of the other tyres, it seemed that the pin was further inside the valve than the other tyre, or maybe the pin itself was shorter?

Is this a common fault, and is it something I should worry about? It's annoying not to be able to read the pressure, but at the same time feels like a very petty complaint to have to go back to the dealer with. It's a Volkswagen main dealer, and we paid 'main dealer' price for it, so I don't feel too bad about being picky, but just want to check if it seems like a reasonable complaint, or if there's maybe something simple I should check first?

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    I'd take it back and have them install a new valve stem. You could try using something to push on the valve to see if it pops back up. – Ben Jun 26 '16 at 21:42
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    I'm wondering if the valve is just screwed too far down into the valve stem, or possibly the valve is smaller (shorter) than what it's supposed to be allowing it to be recessed further into the stem than what it's supposed to be. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jun 26 '16 at 21:45
  • @SteveRacer I'd like to see this question answered. Could you please convert your comment to an answer? Thanks – Zaid Jul 30 '16 at 14:04
  • @Zaid I thought it was weak, but as you wish my liege. Done. – SteveRacer Jul 30 '16 at 19:50
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    Seems completely reasonable to ask the dealer to fix it. As it is the car will be difficult to service and you may also be unable to adjust/maintain tire pressures. – dlu Jul 30 '16 at 19:57
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You could buy a similar length new valve stem (about $1), and swap out the cores to see if that helps the situation. If it doesn't, you'll have to get the valve stem replaced.

Quality control on those mass-produced parts is sometimes spotty, and it sounds as if this one might be internally threaded too deeply. I doubt you can just unscrew the core a bit to bring it out further, as once it's unseated it will leak pretty badly.

  • Accepted as it's a perfectly sensible answer, although I'll be trying to get the dealer to do it, rather than myself :) – DaveyDaveDave Aug 2 '16 at 10:09

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