Aka Car Troubles part 5(?)
About a month ago, I had to go away for a week and the easiest option was to drive there and back. Shortly after pulling onto the main road, the car gave a warning noise and a “check tyre pressure” light came on.
I definitely didn’t have a flat tyre, because I know what that’s like. It could have been a slow puncture (which I’ve also had before) or could it have been that I hadn’t checked the tyres recently and they had all just got low. Thinking it through, the last time I filled the tyres was before Christmas, and I’d driven about a thousand miles since then so it could be that. But my car had also been serviced more recently and I’m sure they check the tyres then. What if the garage had inadvertently done something to the tyres?
Anyway, I turned the car around and headed to the petrol station. I didn’t particularly notice any of the tyres were low when I topped them up, but the car was parked in such a way that I couldn’t see the pressure gauge. This seemed to fix the problem and I drove off on my way. I was however concerned about what would happen if the warning came on again, particularly if I was on the motorway. Fortunately this didn’t happen and I made it home at the end of the week fine (if you count having COVID as being fine).
Fast forward to this week and I had to take the car out again (although only for a local journey this time). The warning light came on again. So this time I decided to take it to my nearby garage.
“Do you know which tyre it is?”
I really didn’t have a clue. “I think it’s the front right. But the pressure should be around 30, except for the dodgy tyre.”
He pulled out his pressure gauge and stuck it on the front right tyre. “19 and a half.”
Clearly my intuition on which tyre was correct. The mechanic looked for punctures but didn’t see anything. He then noticed that pushing on the tyre valve let out a load of air.
Turns out there was a small hole in the valve stem so every time the tyre went round and the valve wobbled, a very small amount of air leaked out. A short time later and a replacement valve stem had been fitted. Much cheaper than a new tyre and the warning light has now gone off. Problem solved!