One of my tires leaks from 32 psi to down below 25 psi in less than a day and it's not due to a drastic temperature change. I took the wheel off to inspect for nails/screws and couldn't find any. The only things that come to mind are

  1. An existing plug I put in some time ago (after I did have a screw) and
  2. The bead that goes against the rim could have weakened because I used a deadblow hammer to bang the wheel off the rotor as it was stuck.

Could there be something else? How likely is a plug, that worked well for over a year, to go loose and start leaking? Should I take it to a shop to get it re-beaded?

  • Bad valve? Did you put 'spit' across the valve to see if it leaks?
    – Grantly
    Oct 24, 2016 at 20:51

3 Answers 3


You can get a leak from around your bead if there is corrosion on the rim. I've had this happen to me a couple of times. You can also have leakage at the valve stem in the Schreader portion (core) or around the valve stem where it attaches to the rim (less likely if there are tire pressure sensors, but still possible). If installed correctly, I've never had a plug start leaking after installation. The only way I can think of it not being installed correctly is if it was not cut down level with the surface of the tire and it was pulled out, but that would make itself evident at the outset right after installation and running the car down the road.

If you have a large tub which will the tire will fit into, fill it with water and find the leak yourself. With it leaking as much as you are saying, you find it fairly easily. Just don't do it in your bathroom tub as this may torque off your better half. If you don't have this availability, you can take it to a shop and they will be able to find the issue for you using the same method I just described. Having them fix it for you is usually fairly inexpensive as long as it does not involve replacing the whole tire.

  • 1
    The thing is, it is a pickup truck (Tacoma) wheel and it is too big for a tub. I do have a tub I used for mixing concrete but it is only maybe like 7-8 gal and all it can be used for is detect holes in the road touching (threaded) surface of the tire but not deeper. I can try to take it to my local river though ...
    – amphibient
    May 6, 2014 at 17:00
  • 1
    Using still water works the best, though it would definitely be enough water to get the job done. Just don't lose your tire/wheel down the river ;-) It could happen a lot easier than you'd suspect. May 6, 2014 at 17:08
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    As a precaution, consider replacing the valve stems in any case. Cheap to do, and you will be able to eliminate the stems as the cause.
    – Shrinivas
    May 19, 2014 at 12:19
  • @Shrinivas ... agreed, unless they are TPMS units, then not so cheap. Very good point, though. May 19, 2014 at 18:12
  • 1
    You don't need to immerse the entire tire in water to find a leak. Use soapy water in a squirt bottle. Spray it on the tire and watch for bubbles. The advantage is that you need only a small amount of water and you can even do this without removing the tire from the vehicle if you lift the vehicle (e.g. use jack stands) and can freely rotate the wheels.
    – Edward
    Jan 7, 2016 at 16:42

Try spraying mixture of dish soap and water to find the leak

  • 1
    I suspect that the reason that you've received a downvote for this answer is that you aren't addressing the OP's original questions (e.g., could that aging tire plug be the problem?)
    – Bob Cross
    May 18, 2014 at 12:22
  • @BobCross Actually the original question was asking where could the leak be sourcing from. user282649 just suggested a way to find out where. However they also should have commented that it is very important to thoroughly rinse off all traces of the soap afterwards.
    – O.M.Y.
    Jan 7, 2016 at 16:12

While pretty rare, you could have a tiny crack in the wheel rim itself. You did mention using a hammer to free the wheel once upon a time. Try swapping two tires and see if the leak stays with the rubber or the metal component.

  • Might be nearly as expensive as just taking that tire, still on the rim, in to a tire shop.
    – Mathieu K.
    May 18, 2016 at 8:12

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