A flat tire can bring on a feeling of dread and panic, especially if you’re stranded (you don’t have to be, here are directions on how to change a tire). A recurring flat—a tire that keeps going flat repeatedly—can multiply your dread and panic 1,000 times, especially when there is no obvious cause. When the same tire (or tires) goes flat repeatedly, don’t think the problem is just going to go away. Make an appointment with your mechanic or take the appropriate investigative steps to find out the cause of your recurring flat tire.
You have a small leak—and don’t know it.
Sometimes a very small sharp object can get caught in your tire. The good news is that you don’t always need to buy a new tire, because a small hole can be fixed with a tire repair kit. Inspect your tire closely for small nails or pieces of metal. Try filling up your tire with air and listen closely for the sound of air escaping (sometimes you can hear it, sometimes not). If you can’t find any metal debris, spray your tire with soapy water. If you find small bubbles anywhere on your tire, you have a leak.
Your valve stem is bad.
The primary reason why customers usually get new valve stems with a set of tires is that valve stems can go bad over time. If your valve stems are bad, the fix is a very affordable new valve stem. To determine if your valve stem is the cause, spray your valve stem with soapy water and look for bubbles.
Tire bead is shot.
The tire bead is the surface of the tire that comes into contact with the rims. If the tire bead is damaged, usually from corrosion from road chemicals, your tire is going to slowly leak air. Use the spray bottle and soapy water to find out if your tire bead is the source of the leak, and contact your local mechanic about repair or a new set of tires.
Rims are leaking.
Dented or bent tire rims can cause a persistent tire leak, even if you can’t see the rim warping. Bubbles after a good spray of soapy water can tell you if your tire rims are the culprit. Contact your mechanic to confirm your faulty rims and about purchasing new rims.
The weather is cold.
If your tire pressure monitor sensor keeps coming on during the cold months, your flat may have nothing to do with a damaged tire or rims. Cold weather can cause tire pressure to drop, and a quick pound (or several pounds) of air can get you back on the road.