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Does Your Wheel Have A Leak? Here's How You Figure It Out.

Did you know that alloy wheels can leak? In some cases, the tire is fine, but the wheel is letting out air. Also called a rim leak, a wheel leak can eventually lead to a flat tire. So if you suspect you have a wheel leak, you don’t need to bring your VW to a shop. You can diagnose the issue right at home. We’ll show you how.

How Does A Wheel Spring A Leak?

There are several different issues that can lead to a wheel springing a leak:

  • Manufacturing defect: Sometimes when aluminum is poured into a mold, the process doesn’t always work the way it should. This may cause tiny fractures that lead to air leaking out.
  • Incorrect tire installation: When you mount a tire, the tire bead and the wheel must create an airtight seal. Sometimes this doesn’t happen. In such a case, there will be an opening for air to leak out. This can happen if area on the wheel that seats with the tire bead isn’t clean enough.
  • Corrosion: Wheels are always exposed to harsh elements. Moisture, road salt, road debris, harsh chemicals, etc. can corrode your wheels. If there’s corrosion around the valve stems and/or the area that seats with the tire bead, the wheel can start leaking air.

The Dangers Of Having A Wheel Leak

A wheel leak is as dangerous as a tire leak. It eventually leads to a flat tire. This usually happens when it is cold and raining or snowing. But the dangerous part here is when a tire loses enough air when you’re driving, you can face dire consequences. It can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, especially if you’re traveling at a high speed.

So if you see the air pressure dropping in one of your tires, fill it up with air ASAP and then find out where the leak is.


Check out: Should I Replace One OEM Wheel Or Buy A Set Of Aftermarket Wheels?

How To Confirm A Wheel Leak

Image Credit: WhoCanFixMyCar

You may want to check the tire first. If the tire looks fine, then the leak is most likely coming from the wheel. To confirm that the wheel is leaking, take these steps:

  1. Make sure that the tire is filled with air. If it’s not, fill it up with air.
  2. Lift your VW and then remove the wheel from the vehicle.
  3. Mix soap and water in a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the soap/water mixture all over the wheel. Spray along the lip of the rim, behind the wheel, and so on. Spray every surface.
  5. Look for any bubbles. If a bubble forms, then air is leaking out of that area.

You may find a bubble at the bead or the lip of the rim. If you don’t see any obvious damage on the wheel, there are two things you can do:

  1. If you have the means to remove the tire, do so. Mark the area on the rim first. With the tire removed, inspect that area closely for any damage.
  2. If you don’t have the means to remove the tire, mark the area on the rim, and take it to a tire shop.

Once you confirm that there’s a wheel leak, you have two options:

  1. Repair the wheel. Either by yourself, or some tire shops will do this.
  2. Replace the wheel

This guide will help you decide which option is better for you.