Your tire valve stem is attached to your vehicle’s tire and is from where the tire is inflated.
The valve stem has a spring-loaded valve core that seals itself using the air pressure from the tire. As these valves become damaged, they begin to leak air — meaning you’ll need a tire valve stem replacement.
In this article, we’ll show you how to replace a tire valve stem. We’ll also look at valve stem types, how to tell if you have a leaky valve stem and if you can drive with one, the causes of valve stem damage, and replacement costs.
This Article Contains:
- What Are The Different Types Of Tire Valve Stems?
- 13 Steps To A Valve Stem Replacement
- What Causes Valve Stem Damage?
- Symptoms Of A Leaky Valve Stem
- Can I Still Drive If I Need A Valve Stem Replacement?
- How Much Does A Valve Stem Replacement Cost?
Let’s get started.
What Are The Different Types Of Tire Valve Stems?
Valve stems serve the simple purpose of being an airway for tire inflation, but they do come in different varieties. If you’re looking to do a valve stem replacement, you’ll want to know what types there are.
Here are some types of valve stems:
- Tubeless tire rubber snap in valve stem: This rubber valve stem for tubeless tires allows for maximum cold tire inflation and is a relatively standard valve stem.
- Tubeless tire rubber snap in valve stem (high pressure): These rubber valve stems are for medium and heavy-duty vehicles with tubeless tires.
- Metal valve stem: A metal valve stem can be suited to any vehicle and is generally aesthetic. Metal valve stems use a rubber grommet, which seals against the wheel when tightening their retaining nut.
Now let’s see how a valve stem replacement is done.
13 Steps To A Valve Stem Replacement
You can perform a tire valve stem replacement at home as a DIY repair job. But, separating the tire bead from your wheel is difficult to do by yourself.
Instead, it’s best to let professional mechanics or tire dealers handle the repair. Otherwise, you risk injuring yourself or doing more damage to your tire.
With that said, what tools do you need to perform a valve stem replacement?
- An air compressor with a hose
- A metal jack
- Jack stands
- A lug nut wrench
- Needle nose pliers
- A tire iron
- A valve stem tool (valve core tool)
So, here’s how to perform a valve stem replacement:
- First, find the tire that has a defective valve stem.
- Loosen the lug nuts of the wheel that needs a new valve stem.
- Then, using a jack, raise your vehicle onto jack stands.
- Completely unscrew the lug nuts and remove the wheel from your vehicle.
- Set your tire on the ground with the valve stem facing upwards.
- Remove the valve stem cap. Then, using the valve stem tool (valve core tool), remove the old core from the uncapped valve stem to release air, reducing your tire pressure.
- Using a tire iron, separate the tire’s bead from the wheel. Next, use a sledgehammer to break the tire’s bead free from the wheel.
- Work the tire iron around the edge of the wheel until your tire is completely free of the wheel.
- Remove the tire from the wheel.
- Take your new valve stem and insert it into the tire from the inside. Use needle nose pliers to pull your new tire valve stem into place.
- Reinstall your tire onto the wheel by letting the rubber snap over the edge of the wheel.
- Using an air compressor, increase the air pressure and inflate the tire.
- Reinstall the wheel onto your vehicle and secure the lug nuts.
Note: Installing a replacement valve stem is not always possible. Sometimes you will have to get an entirely new tire.
You now understand how to replace a leaky valve stem. Let’s look at some possible causes.
What Causes Valve Stem Damage?
These are some common causes of a defective valve stem:
- Normal wear and tear
- Excessively hot or cold weather
- Salty air
- Debris on the road
How do you know if your valve stem is leaking air?
Symptoms Of A Leaky Valve Stem
A slow leak and a broken valve stem can be difficult to spot.
Luckily, most modern vehicles have a tire pressure monitoring system. Your tire pressure monitoring system will alert you if your tire’s air pressure is too low. If you keep getting a flat tire but can’t see any visible damage, your valve stem could be the culprit.
To test it, pour some soapy water onto your valve stem. If you see tiny bubbles coming from the tip of the stem, it needs replacing.
Alternatively, the tiny bubbles could come from the base of your tire valve stem — also indicating a problem.
Now, let’s look at some possible causes.
At this point, you may wonder if driving is an option with a damaged valve stem.
Can I Still Drive If I Need A Valve Stem Replacement?
If you have a leaky valve stem, you’ll have a slow leak that is difficult to spot. A tire leak can be hazardous while driving. You run the risk of a blowout, which could cause you to lose control while driving.
If you have a defective valve stem, head to a professional tire shop ASAP, or get a mobile mechanic to drop by your driveway and help you out.
Alternatively, if you have a tire leak, you could remove your flat tire and replace it with your spare tire. But you’d probably still want the damaged valve stem on the main tire fixed.
Let’s see how a valve stem replacement is done.
Let’s find out about costs.
How Much Does A Valve Stem Replacement Cost?
Here’s an estimate of how much a tire valve stem replacement will cost:
- Tubeless tire rubber snap-in valve stem (regular): $3 per pack
- Tubeless tire valve rubber snap-in stem (high pressure): $9 per pack
- Metal valve stem: $7 per pack
- Valve cap: $5 per pack
Note: The prices above exclude labor charges which may vary depending on the tire shop.
Your valve stem is an integral part of your tire. If you have a broken valve stem, you risk a blowout, which is incredibly dangerous. A valve stem replacement can be done as a DIY job — just make sure you have the right tools and technique.
If you require any help, reach out to AutoNation Mobile Service.
We’re a mobile auto maintenance and repair solution with competitive and upfront pricing, available 24/7. And you can easily book us online.
Contact us now, and our ASE-certified mechanics will stop past your driveway to repair your faulty valve stem in a jiffy!