Driving with a slow leak in your tire is potentially dangerous because it can cause a flat tire. Once the tire becomes flat, it can become a blowout hazard. A blowout can cause you to lose control of the vehicle, putting yourself and others at risk for a car accident. If you notice your tires are not holding air like they are supposed to, or you have to keep putting air in your tire constantly, your tire may have a slow leak. It is best to get the tire looked at by a mechanic so they can diagnose the problem and repair the leak and/or the tire. There are several ways to check for a tire leaking of air.
Here are some things to look for if you feel that one of your tires is slowly leaking:
One way to check for a leak is to listen near the suspect tire. Sometimes you will be able to hear the pressurized air escaping from the small hole in the tire. It will sound like a faint hissing noise. If you hear this, make an appointment with a mechanic to have your tire problem inspected and repaired.
Another way to check if the tire has a leak is to move your hand across the entire area of the tire to feel any air that is leaking out. If you suspect one area, focus putting your hand over the spot to see if you feel any air. Chances are if you have a small hole, you will be able to feel the pressurized air coming out.
A tire with a low psi can cause heat to build up in the tire, which can cause wear and eventually a blowout. If a slow leak is left unattended, the entire tire could be lost and would have to be replaced, where a small patch or plug could have fixed the tire before. A blowout requires a more intensive repair than a relatively simple one if you would have had the leaked checked out when you first suspected it.
Driving with a slow leaking tire is dangerous, especially at higher speeds. The tire should be looked at by a professional as soon as the leak is noticed. If the tire does happen to fail while you are driving, causing a blowout, you may lose control of the vehicle causing injury to yourself and others. If you suspect a leak in your tire, make sure to have it repaired or replaced by a mechanic as soon as possible to prevent experiencing anything worse from occurring.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Tire That Has a Slow Leak? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.