Fix a Leaking Tire Valve Stem in 5 Minutes

Updated: Jul. 19, 2022

Five minutes is all the time you need for this quick, easy valve stem fix.

Next Project


Fix a leaky tire valve in five minutes using an inexpensive valve core tool and replacement cores.

Tools Required

  • Valve core tool

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Diagnose and fix a leaky valve stem

Find the leak

Family Handyman

Squirt soapy water into the tire valve stem. If you see bubbles form, you have a slow leak. We’ll show you how to fix a tire leak.

Car Maintenance: Make Your Tires Last

Step 2

Replace the valve core

ReplaceFamily Handyman

A valve core tool is four tools in one. The forked end removes and installs valve cores. The tapping end cleans and restores the interior threads, and the die end cleans and restores the cap threads. It’s an invaluable valve stem tool.

Truck & SUV Tire Buying Guide

Step 3

Close-up of valve core tool

toolFamily Handyman

Both valve core tools and replacement cores are inexpensive. You topped off the air in your tires, but a few days later, you notice that one of them is low again. You may have a hole in the tire, but before you take it in to the garage, first check for a leaky valve stem (Step 1). If the valve stem is leaking, you can easily fix it yourself with a valve stem tool. You only need a valve core tool and a package of new valve cores (both inexpensive).

How to fix a tire leak is simple. Jack up the wheel. Then remove the old core with a valve core tool, screw in a new core (just snug it up; it’s easy to strip the threads), and then refill the tire. But here are a few nuggets of advice. First, be sure to wear safety glasses when you pull out the old valve core. Debris or even the old core could hit you right in the peepers when the air releases. Second, look closely at the old core threads. If they show any sign of corrosion, clean the interior threads of the valve stem with the tap end of the valve core tool. And last, always use a valve stem cap to keep out the dirt! Dirt around the core is probably what caused the problem to begin with.

Change a Tire: Two Jacks Make it Easy