Valve Stem Replacement is an easy job to take on. You do not even have to be a mechanic. The cost for a new valve stem is about $10 if you do it yourself but could easily triple if you choose to bring it to the shop. In this article we will discuss all about valve stem replacement, your options for valve stems and the process of how to go about the replacement.
Valve Stem Replacement: What is a Valve Stem?
Let’s press rewind, and figure out what is a valve stem. Is your tire leaking and you're stumped as to why? If you have looked for a nail but haven't found one then look at the valve stem. So what is a valve stem and when are you going to need a valve stem replacement?
A valve stem is a self-contained valve that opens to admit gas to a chamber (such as air to inflate a tire) and then closes and seals automatically (either by spring or by the pressure in the chamber, or both) to prevent the gas from escaping. The valve stem is found in the wheel of a car and is where the tires are inflated. They have a spring-loaded valve center that uses the air pressure inside the tire to seal itself.
Anything on your vehicle that was installed by the manufacturer has a function, no matter how small. A tire valve stem cap is another item you should watch out for. It can seem negligible, but it actually serves a very important function. The valve stem cap is more than just a decorative plastic or metal cap for the valve stem. It's made to secure the Schrader valve, which is a valve stem with a valve stem center that holds air or nitrogen in your tires.
A rubber washer or seal is also found inside metal and some higher-quality hard-plastic valve stem caps to help create an airtight seal. This form of cap keeps dirt and moisture out while also preventing air from escaping from a Schrader valve that is slightly leaking.
Furthermore, the rubber washer or seal acts as a cushion between the cap and the valve stem, preventing the cap from loosening and falling off due to vibrations. Most caps, on the other hand, are made of a softer plastic engineered solely for safety and lack a separate seal.
If your vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), using a valve stem cap to keep moisture and dirt out is even more critical. If the valve core has seized into the stem, you will need to replace your tire pressure monitor sensor when it's time to put on your snow tires or replace your tires, which could cost $60-$80
When Do You Need Valve Stem Replacement
Despite the fact that you use this small part any time you change your tires, get a flat, or check your air pressure, you've probably never considered replacing it. In reality, I'm sure you're wondering right now, “What's the difference?” It's not like it's a part of the tire or something. What might possibly go wrong if I continue to use it?”
Valve stems will break down and grow leaks as they age, much like every other part of your vehicle, which can lead to tire problems. These leaks can cause premature or abnormal wear and flats, as well as damage to the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System).
A valve stem can fail for a variety of reasons, not just age. UV rays, heat, and salt can cause cracks; if wheel covers aren't properly replaced, they can be cut; and scraping against curbs or rocks can break or destroy them.
Valve stems can become old, break, brittle, or leak over time, causing bigger problems with your tire and driving experience. The tire can no longer retain air if the valve stems begin to leak. Depending on the severity of the leak, the tire can slowly leak air or, in more severe cases, not retain air at all, necessitating valve stem replacement.
If it's a slow leak, you'll have to check the air pressure and top up the tire on a regular basis. You could even end up replacing tires that should have lasted longer, either because you think they're the problem or because of underinflation damage! So, if valve stem replacement isn’t done on a regular basis, it can become very expensive.
So when do you need a valve stem replacement?
- Flexing the stem is a good way to check for damage. Replace the rubber if it has damage or fractures, or if it seems to be old and dry.
- It's a good idea to replace the valve stems as well if you're changing your tires. They're only a few bucks, so it's a relatively inexpensive addition to the installation.
How to Choose the Right Valve Stem Replacement
Not all valve stems are the same so you have to choose the right valve stem replacement.
TPMS-equipped or not?
A TPMS-equipped rim would have a different stem than one without. The TPMS units are normally compatible with the system, and come in either a snap-in rubber or an aluminum version.
Metal or Rubber?
Metal and rubber stems are also available. Metal stems aren't always better than rubber stems, but they're more popular for aesthetic reasons. They'll go great with your flashy chrome rims, for example. It's important to note, however, that the stem must be compatible with the valve.
You don't want to use a metal stem with a brass valve because most metal stems are aluminum. As aluminum and brass are combined, a galvanic reaction occurs, resulting in corrosion and valve failure. In most cases, nickel-plated valves are used with aluminum stems.
Valve Stem Length
Stems are available in a variety of sizes to meet a variety of requirements. If you have wheel covers, a valve stem can be used to inspect and refill your tire without having to remove the cover.
Aside from various valve stem lengths, they still make valve stem extenders, so you can always modify the length if you're not ready to replace anything. However, you must be cautious with these because they can fail to seal properly, resulting in leaks or, worse, allowing water and dirt to enter the heart, corroding the valve.
Another thing you need to consider when doing valve stem replacement is the hole specification. Wheels with a.453-inch stem hole do not have sufficiently coined or machined area around the stem hole in some cases. The coined area on this sort of wheel must be at least.125 inch larger in diameter than the valve hole.
Never readily conclude the stem on the tire/wheel assembly you're working on for a customer is the right one. Someone who previously serviced the tire/wheel assembly may have made a mistake or failed to match the valve stem to the hole size, air pressure, or application. On a multi-piece wheel, installing the correct stem is just as critical as matching the wheel components.
Keep an eye out for zippers.
Zipper ruptures in steel cord radial truck tires are another issue that has emerged as a result of incorrect valve stem selection and application. Rather than the fabric sidewall plies used in the past, more commercial light trucks are being built with all-steel radial tires.
Zippers aren't just for long-haul medium truck tires. They're just as risky on smaller tires as they are on bigger ones. When steel cord tires are run underinflated, there's always the risk of zipper failure. When mounting or inflating these tires, don't take any risks. If the sidewall of a small light truck tire breaks, it can be just as deadly as a larger truck tire. Whatever type of stem you use, you can use an air pressure gauge to fit it. You have to make sure you are doing it properly.
How to Do Valve Stem Replacement
Taking it to a tire shop and having them cut the tire and replace the valve stem with the help of a tire machine is usually the quickest way to replace a valve stem. But again, replacing or repairing a tire valve is inexpensive, convenient, and simple. Here’s how:
- Make sure you have the right equipment before you start replacing it. You'll also need a replacement valve core and a valve stem tool when you get your new valve stem. A plus sign is the shape of a valve stem tool. Both of these items should be available at any auto parts store. The valve stem tool has a “+” sign on it.
- The next step is to check if your valve stem is leaking or not. You can do this by running your finger over the uncapped valve stem with a combination of dish soap and water. If bubbles start to form, the valve is leaking and air is escaping. If no air escapes, another slow leak may develop elsewhere in the tire.
- You'll need to deflate the tire now that you've determined the valve is bad. To make this repair, it is best to remove the tire. Although this repair can be done while the tire is still attached to the vehicle, it is still necessary to note that safety comes first. If the car is jacked up, don't wiggle the tire or you'll risk pulling the car off the jack. After the tire has been deflated, unscrew the valve from the tire with the valve stem tool.
It's important to keep in mind that the tire must be totally deflated before the old core can be removed. Any pressure inside the tire can cause the center to blast out, posing a risk of bodily injury. Wearing protective glasses is a smart idea just in case. Remove the old valve center and dispose of it.
- Clean the valve stem with the tapered end of the valve core tool. Make sure the gap is free of debris and gravel, and that any obstructions in the area and inside the tires are removed.
- Using the valve stem tool, install the new core. Installing the new core can be done with the same end of the method that was used to uninstall the old one. Tighten the new valve by hand, but don't over tighten it or your repair will be harmed, causing the new valve to leak. Adjust the valve cap and re-inflate the tire after it's been mounted.
Valve Stem Replacement Frequently Asked Questions
Can you replace a valve stem without removing a tire?
Yes, there is a valve stem removal tool that pries the stem out, but replacing the stem gives access from the inside, so you'd have to remove the tire anyway for easy access.
Do I need to buy valve stems with new rims?
You don't need to supply your own unless you want something unique (like metal sleeves). In most cases, no; however, if you want fancy chrome ones, you can have to supply them yourself. Valve stem replacement is a common part of every new tire installation.
Do tire shops have valve stems?
Valve stems are not included with tires that are not pre-mounted on a rim or wheel, but they are available separately. The valves are used in pre-mounted tires that are sold with a rim or wheel.
Are valve stem caps universal?
So what happens if you lose the cap on the tire valve stem? Valve stem caps aren't built to hold air in the tire, so if you lose one, the tire won't deflate. Also fortunately, it is not an expensive component to replace, since most stem caps are one-size-fits-all and can be purchased in bulk online for a few dollars.
What happens if you lose the cap to your tire?
The valve stem is exposed when the cap is removed, and it may become clogged with road dirt, grease, or ice. It could be difficult to inflate the tire as a result of this. A missing valve cap can also cause a slow air leak on your tires, which can eventually result in a flat tire.
When customers have slow leaks, some tire dealers will want to sell them new tires, potentially costing them a lot of money. Valve stem replacement is simple and convenient, and it can greatly extend the life of your tires. And it might be just what you need instead of completely new tires.