Question for car guru's

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by puckhead193, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #1
    Lately both me and brother have been having tire issues. We both keep on getting flats. When we would go to our local garage to have spare put on and the flat fix, they said it was the rim and that all lexus are experiencing this. The mechanic said that the tire and wheel aren't creating a good seal and that its lexus's fault and he's see's a lot of this. Today i had to bring in my car for a routine service and i spoke to the service rep and complained about our tire issues. He said that its because we have chrome rims and that after a while the salt/sand from winter wears off the chrome finish and causes these issues. Is this true or is he just jerking my chain.
    Thanks
     
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #2
    All the wheels, or just one?

    One of them could be slightly damaged and leaking enough air to cause the bead to break before the tire pressure warning goes off.

    With low profile tires, there really isn't a lot of air in there, so you might go skip the low tire and go quicker to flat.

    With the smaller rims, you probably shouldn't be having an issue unless it is the tires more than the wheels.

    ---

    They can likely spin the wheel without a tire to see how true it is, and if it is a slow leak through the rim you could try a couple few sealing methods on the inside of the wheel.
     
  3. eldy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    The City
    #3
    Both stories are BS.

    An ethical mechanic would not mount new tires on wheels that are known to be damaged and cause leaking.

    It is very possible that your wheels are damaged and are leaking.

    Depending on your budget you will be able to find a replacement wheel or set of wheels much cheaper in the aftermarket or even the junkyard (a bit more risky).
     
  4. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #4
    Without more research, it's hard to say one way or another. One critical piece of information we're missing is the year/model of the cars (and presumably the wheels). Alloy wheels *can* leak air. A friend of mine had a '91 Pontiac Grand Prix with leaky alloys. GM has had several issues with porous alloy wheels over the years. I know nothing about issues with any Lexus though, so you'd have to look around for a technical service bulletin or recall that deals with Lexus alloy wheels.

    However, there are many other possible causes. Improperly installed or damaged tires, or even bad roads can cause tires to lose air. It's possible that you have damaged or defective alloys, but it's also possible that your mechanic is just blowing smoke. Try to get a second opinion at a tire specialist or trustworthy Lexus dealer.
     
  5. puckhead193 thread starter macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #5
    mine is an 04 lexus ES and my brother is an 04 lexus RX.... the rims are from the dealer (lexus brand) not from bobs rims store in the shady part of town.
     
  6. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #6
    Clearly you have no idea what you're talking about. Salt and corrosion can damage rims and cause them to no longer make a good seal. Low-profile tires are particularly bad for this, since there's less rubber making the seal to begin with. Or it could simply be a bad rim design, which is what the mechanic is saying.

    The other possibilities are damage to your rims: if you drive on lots of bad roads, you might find this is the case. Of course, the mechanic probably would have pointed out a badly damaged rim when he pulled the tires off. Alloy wheels are prone to bending or breaking on bad roads - I've bent one of mine in the past. Not fun!

    You could also have a leaky tire. Assuming it's not a hole in the sidewall, that's a pretty cheap and easy fix, but again, something your mechanic should have noticed and acted on. Given that, I'd say it might be time for some new rims. :(

    Where are you located? You mention salt and corrosion, so am I right in guessing you run these alloys in the winter? It's generally recommended to have a different set of wheels for winter use - steel wheels being best - because of the salt on the roads. Steel wheels deal with corrosion better, so they'll last longer.
     
  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #7
    Still doesn't mean the alloy wheels cannot be crap, almost all manufacturers have gotten dud runs of wheels.

    Where the leak is through the wheel and not the tire.

    On a small 17 inch wheel, the leak just means the tire gets low enough to see. The supersized 20 inchers may go from full to flat quicker with the same rate of leak.

    The wheel that leaks should be marked, to see if the problem is on one or more wheels.

    If the chrome or clearcoat is damaged there may be a leak there, or on damaged sections of the bead. Which may be the smoke the tire shop is blowing up your ass.
     
  8. Toppa G's macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    The exurbs, MN
    #8
    I had the same issue with a couple different Chrysler cars with the chrome finish wheels (ran them in the winter, salt caused corrosion) - in both cases, it started occurring when the cars were about 5 years old. Ended up selling one car and replacing with different rims on the other.
     
  9. creator2456 macrumors 68000

    creator2456

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #9
    I have nothing to add. Had multiple windows and posted in the wrong one.

    But it sounds like corrosion is causing the problem.
     
  10. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
  11. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    #11
    I used to sell and install tires and rims

    he is not lying to you
    this is a well known problem with lexus chrome rims, the chrome simply flakes off where the tire bead seats. typically this is a problem on lexus cars from the '90s and early '00s
    you need new rims, however, the tire shop can mitigate the problem by using a wire brush to scrape off the loose chrome and applying bead sealer to the wheel over the flaking chrome before remounting the tire

    when I used to see this problem I would walk the customer back to the tire machine or carry the wheel up to them so that they could see the problem. next time you should ask for this, its simply good customer service.

    p.s. any chance you have used fix-a-flat, it is often part of the problem
     
  12. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #12
    With age (& corrosion), Alloys can start to leak. However, I'd be somewhat surprised for this to start after only 5 years.

    Even so, the remedial action is to simply keep a close eye on the tires and add air...up to 1x/week in the winter.

    One question is what is the local mechanic doing when he "fixes" a flat? If he's charging money, it should be because he's dismounting the tire, buffing the rim, and re-mounting / re-balancing the tire.

    Next, the dealer: it sounds to me that the service rep clearly admitted to a product design (or manufacturing) flaw and is thus probably libel under one warranty or another. In any event, with the rubber forming a hard seal on the rim, how is that "sand" able to get underneath the bead to cause damage?

    In general, the beads of different profile tires don't really vary much. What does vary is that there's not as much (total) air inside a low profile tire, so it takes less time for a small leak to empty a tire.


    -hh
     
  13. puckhead193 thread starter macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #13
    thanks guys/girls some good advice. My local mechanic cleans the rim and remounts etc and make sure that there is nothing wrong with the tire (ie i ran over a nail or something)
    I guess my next action would be to contact my lexus dealer and see about warranty issues. If poopyhead is correct lexus should have done a recall. What sucks is i'm at 65,300 and my warranty ends at 70,000 miles i think.
    I guess it just time to get a new car WITHOUT chrome rims :p
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    You'd replace the entire car because of a small corrosion problem on the rims? Four new rims will cost about one car payment.

    Do they still make inner tubes? That would be a 100% fix to the problem for about $40

    Of course the other 100% fix is to buy a $5 pressure gauge and check the air pressure frequently enough that they never have a chance to get low.
     
  15. LynnW macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #15
    Most manufacturers will not put chromed alloy wheels on their cars for exactly this reason. However, dealers are most happy to send wheels off the a plating shop and sell them to you. If this is what happened, Lexus will not cover them under warranty.
     
  16. eldy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    The City
    #16
    So you're saying low profile tires have smaller beads than higher profile tires?
     
  17. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #17
    Nope. But low-pros are more prone to breaking their seal where a tire with a bigger sidewall would be fine. Less tire, less cushion to absorb shock, which is transferred to the wheel instead and pops the seal. At least, that's my understanding: I've had a bead seal pop for no good reason once, and my tire guy told me it was because low-pros are just a PITA compared to regular tires.
     
  18. eldy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    The City
    #18
    Good job clarifying your stance since your original post.
     
  19. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #19
    Thanks? As a former tire salesman, I should know these things. :D
     

Share This Page