The valve stems on your tires are one of the smallest but most important parts of your vehicle, especially if you have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Just like your tires, your valve stems require regular maintenance for optimum safety.
How valve stems work
Valve stems are those aluminium, steel or black rubber knobs, about the size of a pinkie finger, found on each tires wheel. Air gets into and stays in your tires because of the inner workings of your valve stems.
When you need to inflate your tires, you place the air pump onto the tip of the valve stem. Inside, the valve opens to let air in. Then, when you take the pump off, the valve closes and stays sealed because of pressure or a spring.
Why valve stem maintenance is important
Many valve stems are made of a rubber material that can deteriorate over time from the weather and exposure to sunlight so you’ll want to check to make sure they’re in good shape. If you flex your valve stem, you should be able to see if there are any cracks or leaks.
A crack or a leak in your valve stem can be as big of a problem to your tires and your safety as running over a nail. But perhaps because they’re small, many drivers forget about their tire stems.
When should your valve stems be replaced?
If you happen to be inflating your tires and notice a crack or leak on a valve stem, or if it even looks weathered, take your vehicle into your nearest Kal Tire service centre so you can have it replaced by a professional.
It’s also best to have your valve stems replaced any time you have tire service work done on your vehicle. Valve stems should be replaced while the tire is being removed and replaced on your wheels. This is especially important if your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
TPMS and Your Valve Stems
It’s estimated that at least 70 per cent of new vehicles (model year 2007+) on Canada’s roads are equipped with TPMS. TPMS uses sensors located inside the valve stem to detect and warn drivers when tire pressure is significantly underinflated.
If your vehicle has TPMS, when we install your new tires, we’ll replace your TPMS kit as well as reset and test your TPMS system.
What experiences have you had with your valve stems?