Fixing a slow leak in tire help

Discussion in 'Prime Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by GKL, Oct 10, 2021.

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  1. GKL

    GKL Active Member

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    I'll be busy today but will check back later today for replies.

    I got a slow leak in my right rear tire, loses about 10lbs overnight. This is the first time I've had such a problem with our 2020 Prius Prime XLE.

    With my other vehicles I have been able to successfully plug a tire without even taking it off the car by jacking it up enough to rotate the tire and locate where a plug is needed, I hope to be able to do the same with my Prime tomorrow.

    The problem is the Prime has a scissors jack included but the manual shows how to jack the rear using a floor jack, I am hoping the scissors jack will work the same way it shows for using the floor jack.

    Any replies and suggestions appreciated !
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Scissor jack should work as usual, at the spots on the side rocker panels. Wheel chocks diagonally opposite the flat are good, or at least solidly set the parking brake.

    plug repairs are easier (and safer) if you remove the wheel.
     
    #2 Mendel Leisk, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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  3. burrito

    burrito Member

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    I just want to clarify, since I'm not sure what you mean by this statement. The floor jack and scissor jacks lift the car in different ways, though that should be obvious, and it really doesn't change what you're doing. The most important difference, though, is the jack point. The floor jack is intended to be used along the midline of the car to lift the left and right sides simultaneously, while the scissor jack is intended to be used at one of four specific jack points -- one near each tire (the rectangles in the following picture):
    [​IMG]


    The top of the scissor jack should be placed between the notches at the respective jack point:
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Losing 10 PSI overnight is really not a "slow" leak.
    But actually finding where it is leaking might require removing the wheel.

    As long as you can air it up enough to drive to a "tire shop", many of them will fix a repairable puncture for around $10.
    I've had a couple done at Wal Mart just because they are close.
     
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  5. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Junior Member

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    No it doesn't; your only jacking up a corner of the car. MAKE sure you chock the tires on the ground!! Your transmission parking paw should activate and lock-down the front tires, but it's a good habit to get into when working on heavy equipment. Burrito has good pictures above; a scissor jack is placed in front of the rear tires or behind the front tires. You'll see those body "crimp points" once you put your head down there.

    If I have time; I'll use the car's emergency equipment to do the job. This will let me know where everything is; if I'm missing something; and if I need to add something to the car. So if I have a real flat on the road, I'll be prepared.

    Some of the things I've added is 18 inch 2x4, several garbage bags, highway plug kit with tube of rubber cement, gloves, wheel chocks and a reliable tire infiltrator.

    Hope this helps..
     
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  6. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    My local Discount Tire store fixes leaks for free, but then I have bought lots of tires from them.
     
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  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I should have one of those. I wonder what those tires get up to when I'm not looking.
     
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  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Looking through the Prime Owner's Manual, I see it (summarily) makes no mention of installing a spare tire. Because, well, you'll never need to do that, 'cus you don't have a spare... :rolleyes:

    Anyway, here's an excerpt from the 2016 Prius Owner's Manual (US edition), showing the drill.
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Even if you didn't buy from them, they will demount the tire, examine it from the inside, patch it, remount and balance it for FREE!

    That's why I always go to them first to buy tires.
     
    #9 Georgina Rudkus, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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  10. GKL

    GKL Active Member

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    Just a quick note for now, first thanks for all the replies and info it is very helpful and appreciated !

    After doing more research I am now wondering if I should replace the tire with an exact identical tire.

    The reason I am wondering is that I had not realized I had an uninflated tire from a slow leak until after arriving at our destination after driving roughly about 30 miles on the expressway at about 65-70mph. It was forecast to be a windy day and I thought wind gusts were occasionally causing my car to sway slightly. After I arrived I noticed the tire looked low and checked the pressure, it was somewhere about 15-20 lbs if I remember right. I used my air pump to re-inflate it and got back home without any issue.

    I was just searching the web and read where driving on an inflated tire can damage it beyond repair, so even though it seems to drive fine when properly inflated, should I still replace it or still just fix the slow leak ?

    Any opinions appreciated !
     
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Was there no TPMS warning?:eek:

    upload_2021-10-10_19-4-55.png

    Separately, I don't trust the factory scissors jack to be safe to plug the tire while still bolted on the car. Take it off, don't work within the risk zone of a falling or collapsing jack.
     
    #11 fuzzy1, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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  12. burrito

    burrito Member

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    Driving on a flat tire can definitely damage it, as the metal rim of the car would be squishing the tire against the road (the rims can also be damaged). Driving on an underinflated tire is less worrisome.

    If you take it to a tire place to get it fixed, they can also give it a thorough visual inspection to look for signs of excessive wear.
     
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  13. GKL

    GKL Active Member

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    Actually my wife noticed the TPMS warning and told me after we were already so far into the trip, I was thinking it was just slightly low from the cooler weather at night. We recently had an oil change and tire rotation at the dealership and they said they use different pressures at different times of the year, they told me that after I mentioned how so long after the previous service all 4 tires registered as low as soon as the weather started getting cooler, I thought this was the same thing.

    Thanks for your advice, I agree with your jack logic and think it would be better to be safe, when I did it with other cars in the past though I had the car just barely jacked up enough so the tire would spin freely.

    I was just discussing this with my wife and since we were thinking about getting a full size spare anyhow and a local tire place has a sale we are considering getting 2 new tires to put on the car, and buy a rim, use an old tire off the car (not the one that was under-inflated) as a spare, and not use the one that was under-inflated.
     
  14. GKL

    GKL Active Member

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    Good point, I was wondering if very underinflated but not totally flat made enough of a difference, you can see on the side of the tire where it was worn smooth about 1/2 inch near the upper edge of the side of the tire.

    We are considering getting a couple new tires anyhow, but I can see if they think the under-inflated tire is worth keeping even as an emergency back-up tire if really needed, but I would feel leery driving on it at expressway speeds even though it might be okay to do so, just thinking about erring on the side of caution.
     
  15. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    If it is repairable and repaired correctly, then there should not be anything to worry about driving it on the highway. But, if it is not a repairable type of puncture as in the sidewall or too close to the side, then you may consider buying two tires. If you do that, then you will have at least one non-punctured used tire you can use for a backup. In fact, I had a similar slow leak puncture on my then less than 1-year-old Gen3. I had gone to a tire shop but they told me they could not repair it since it was too close to the sidewall. Ended up buying two new tires, and had them put a non-punctured used tire on a separate cheap steel wheel to use it as a full-size spare. I still have it and using it for my PP as a full-size spare.

    upload_2021-10-10_23-10-16.png
     
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  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    If you didn't promptly take an opportunity to stop and check the pressure, then you are considerably more brave than me. But then I've experienced both medium and fast leaks from road debris punctures during a driving segment, which could have destroyed the tire before the next planned stop. (Actually, the fast one did destroy the tire, but thanks to the alert, I was down the first exit ramp, not up on the too-narrow freeway shoulder between exits.)

    And I already knew from this forum that when it alerts, the tire is already more than just "slightly" low. Unless you play games with the TPMS reset button to raise the alert threshold closer to normal operating pressure, then it should never alert from cooler weather alone.

    If the TPMS alert triggers due to a cooler weather because you haven't checked pressures for too long, without a significant leak (i.e. experiencing just normal seepage and diffusion), then it should initially start this pattern by alerting promptly after a cold start, then the alert will disappear a few miles down the road as the tire warms up and pressure increases. The alert should not be off for the first part of the trip, then turn on after some miles down the road, unless you had it parked in a garage 30+ degrees warmer than outside conditions.
     
    #16 fuzzy1, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  17. GKL

    GKL Active Member

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    Good idea just using an inexpensive rim for the spare, also like the idea of using a tire cover for the spare.

    We would likely only carry the spare when driving out of our local area as we live in a fairly small town.
     
  18. GKL

    GKL Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience !

    Well, after seeing how low that tire was I think I learned my lesson to not assume it's slightly low if we see the TPMS alert again.

    Months back when all 4 tires were low I knew it was highly unlikely it was from all 4 tires having a leak at the same time, I am questioning the dealership's idea of having a different pressure at different times of the year if cooler weather causes all 4 tires to go low enough to set off the TPMS alert.

    When a tire says "max pressure" I wonder if they allow for some pressure increase above that from warmer days ?

    I could be wrong but I'm thinking being slightly over-inflated is better than being under-inflated.
     
  19. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    A lot of members here drive overinflated as a matter of course. Some not even slightly!

    When I first got my Gen 1 I tried out some of the higher pressures I saw suggested here, but after not long I backed down to just a few psi over, which I found a lot more comfortable.

    The brief experiment, however, created squeaks and rattles in my dash that I was never again rid of as long as I had that car.
     
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  20. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    All 4 tires will very slowly lose pressure from diffusion and seepage. When you are lucky, they will even remain matched. But when they start giving low pressure alerts from cool weather, it means that you have gone too long without checking and topping up. Don't wait for regular shop service visits.

    Another member here recently had his shop setting his tires at 32 psi. That might be right for some other cars, even most of them at some era, but it is too low for a Prius with standard wheel-tire size. (Note that other sizes may call for lower pressures.)

    When the seasons change and morning temperatures have dropped substantially, it is time to recheck your tire pressures.
    The "max pressure" marked on the tire sidewall is a cold pressure, in the morning before the vehicle drives any distance. It includes sufficient safety margin for operating warmup on hot pavement, heat waves, climbing mountains (lower ambient atmospheric pressure means higher gauge pressure readings), etc.
    Yes. Use the door-frame label numbers as a minimum, and remember that as being a morning cold minimum, not an end-of-afternoon-trip reading. As for going higher, that triggers religious wars. Some of us prefer higher for several reasons, while others dispute them, though the harsher ride is indisputable. You may dislike rattling your dental fillings!
     
    #20 fuzzy1, Oct 11, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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