low tire pressure light infestation

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friedman
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low tire pressure light infestation

Post by friedman » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:54 am

With new cars having very low aspect ratio tires, it's almost a requirement to have a low tire pressure light because you can't tell those tires are low by looking at them. But I'm infested with them. My daughters are taking turns calling me to check their tire pressures because the lights are coming on, my son buys a used Accord from a dealer and the light comes on two days later and his tires check out OK. Wife gets a nail in our Kia tire, have the nail hole plugged, light comes back on two days later, another slow leak found, new tire purchased and wife says this morning the light is on again. And all this only happens when temps are in the 20s or lower so I can enjoy playing with a crappy gauge in frigid temps. And yes I know pressures go down with lower temps. Reminds me of the check engine light on my Ford Contour which came on so often I just called it the ignition on light.
Carl in Virginia
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by rridge » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:07 pm

There's no "high pressure" tire warning light. Some people add an extra two pounds in each tire on the last warm day of Fall. Also, I've heard that some of us are fortunate enough to have heated garages where we can just pull a car in and work in shirt sleeve temps despite subfreezing outdoors. I''ll bet that those people can check tire pressure temps in comfort.
Richard
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by bartigue » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:02 pm

Ours do this when the seasons change for the colder/dry air. I fill them when dead cold and it seems to make the sensor happy.
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by friedman » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:07 am

Richard, some of us have a dumpster on our driveway blocking access to our heated garages so while I spend all day in just a sweatshirt messing with the X, the real cars are stuck outside for the next week or so. I thought it terribly funny that after I posted, my youngest daughter called to say the check engine light on her car went on and I had to "fix it".

As noted before, this was not a cold weather issue, we have had terribly cold weather for a month now. Maybe we need to go back to the good old days of bias ply tires and with tall shoulders so you can walk around the car, see your rim just about touching the ground and mentally (or verbally) say "yep, looks like that tire is flat, let me get the bumper jack out and hope I don't launch the handle into my neighbor's yard."
Carl in Virginia
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by cyber104 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:39 am

Carl - the low pressure indicators are often RF devices built into the valve stems - they are inside the tire so you can't see them but they are there. They are also prone to seal failure which causes the tire to lose air out the valvestem. It is standard procedure to replace those seals when tires are changed. So, although the tire looks fine (and it is) you can still lose air. I suspect this may be the issue in at least some of your cases.
Chris
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by jseabolt » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:40 am

I hate tire stores.

Awhile back one of the tires on my Chevy van kept loosing air. Which in this case was easy to notice because they are 235 75 15" truck tires.

So I took it to the tire store to have them find the leak. I took this tire to them twice and they still could not fix it. The second time I asked the guy if he found anything in the tread and he insisted the leak was from around the bead. I explained that these tires had been on this van for almost two years. So if a tire leaks from around the bead, it usually happens right after it's mounted. Not two years later. I've never seen a tire start leaking from around the bead months after it's been mounted. 100% of the time when this happens, it's usually from running over something.

So anyway, despite not having a tire changer, I decided to see if I could find the leak myself. So I removed the wheel and sprayed soapy water on the tread. Finally I start seeing bubbles. There didn't seem to be anything actually stuck in the tire. More of a puncture wound.

I really wanted to remove the tire from the rim just in case there was actually something inside the tread but like I said I don't own a tire changer and was feed up with these idiots. I probably should have just marked the hole and taken it to another tire store.

The puncture was so small I ended up having to enlarge the hole with a 1/4" drill bit just to install a plug. Hopefully I didn't push anything through the tread. I didn't want a nail or something bouncing around inside the rim and tire.

Since then this van has been to Washington DC and back (pulling a trailer and my Trabant) and several other places and hasn't require any additional air.

This same tire store also tried to tell me my van needed ball joints, an idler arm, wheel bearing, a tie rod and something else. If the steering components were that bad, wouldn't the van be all over the road? I got underneath the van and had my father work the steering wheel and I couldn't find anything worn. I've also placed a jack handle under each wheel and tried lifting up on it and could never see the wheel/tire move.

Another complaint. Why is it you have to insist tire stores place wheel weights on both sides of the rim (if needed). I've always wonder about this. So I asked a tire store one day. They told me if the wheel is shiny (chrome or polished aluminum), most customers complain when they see weights on the outside of their $1000 rims so by default they automatically DO NOT place weights on the outside of the rim.

So I asked, "Well isn't that half-ass balancing a tire?" So the guy said, "Well yeah".

I had to practically beg one tire store to place weights whenever and however many was necessary on the polished Panasports I have on my Fiat Spider and he was like, "Are you sure, the weights will scratch your rims!". I told him I could polish any scratches or corrosion out with #0000 steel wool and metal polish the next time I replaced the tires. I would rather not have the car shimmy like mad at speeds above 50 mph.

What a bunch of goobers...
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by PhillySpider » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:03 pm

Shops around here charge $6 a wheel to drain and fill with nitrogen, which doesn't expand and contract in temperature ups and downs...$24 well spent IMO.
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by jseabolt » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:13 am

PhillySpider wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:03 pm
Shops around here charge $6 a wheel to drain and fill with nitrogen, which doesn't expand and contract in temperature ups and downs...$24 well spent IMO.

I've always wondered if this stuff is worth it. Since air is mostly nitrogen. The trouble is it's way too easy just to pull up to my garage and stretch out a 50 ft air hose and top my tires off as needed instead of driving down to a tire store and waiting half an hour for someone to inflate my tires. I've never seen nitrogen sold at gas stations. What if it's on a weekend and you need to inflate your tires like right now?

The only benefit I could see to using nitrogen is if does not contain any water like compressed air does. That might be beneficial at preserving the inside of a tire or the rim. But that is only assuming the nitrogen has went through some kind of drying process. Even thought water will settle to the bottom of an air tank, I've seen a fine mist shoot out my air blow off tool in the past.

However I have removed tires from lawnmowers in the past and have never found any water inside them. So I am assuming water can somehow escape from a tire through the rubber? Or perhaps around the bead over a period of time.
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by PhillySpider » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:22 am

That's the point, you won't need to inflate or deflate as the pressure should be constant in any weather. If you have a slow leak that's a different story. You can top off with regular air if you discover a drop, but needing to would indicate you have a leak... one of the other benefits, actually knowing if you have a leak or due to seasonal weather. Knowing everything's good or of you have a leak plus never having to adjust pressure is worth 24 bucks to me. YMMV...
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Re: low tire pressure light infestation

Post by rridge » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:54 am

The only single car accident I was ever involved in was caused by an under-inflated tire coming off its rim. It had been losing small amounts of air for months. I should have gotten to the root cause rather than nursing it along. Experience is a great teacher. Fortunately that lesson only cost me a fender.

Precise and accurate digital air pressure gauges are something we can now take for granted. They make it easy to fill each tire to the same pressure when the tires are cold. When one tire drops relative to the other three, there's a problem. When pressure in all four drops, its the weather.

I've never had a low pressure warning light come on in a car I've owned. Two extra pounds of pressure in late Fall while rotating the tires seems to handle the issue.
Richard
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Rockville, MD
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