A lot of people believe that losing a tire valve stem cap isn’t a big deal. It’s a small piece of plastic, so it can’t be that important, right?
Well, the valve stem cap is actually an important part. Believe it or not, but that tiny cap helps maintain pressure in the tire. There’s a Schrader valve inside the stem, but it’s not completely leakproof. And, if it’s exposed to water and road salt, the seals in the Schrader valve will degrade, and it will leak faster.
When you lose a valve stem cap, you’ll experience a few major issues:
- Lost air pressure in the tires
- Reduced fuel economy
- Poor handling
- Reduced tire life
The Most Common Ways People Lose Their Valve Stem Caps
Even though the valve stem cap should always stay on, it often doesn’t. It’s common for a valve stem cap to go missing. How does that happen? Sometimes it’s because:
- People forget to put the valve stem cap back on after filling a tire with air.
- The threads in plastic valve stem caps get stripped, and then they don’t stay tight.
- Constant vibration can cause the valve stem cap to fall off.
- A rock or another type of road debris can hit the valve stem at high speeds and break the cap in half.
- Mechanics forget to put the caps back on after changing or rotating tires.
How Lost Air Pressure Can Ruin Your Tires
If your tires lose even a couple of pounds of pressure, it can have a big impact on your tire wear rate. When a tire is low, its sidewall flexes much more than it was intended to. The continuous flexing causes the tire to heat up. This effect is amplified at highway speeds, and is when the pavement is hot. This higher temperature and increased flexing can damage the structure of the tire. If the high heat and flexing go on long enough, the tire can self destruct.
Even if the under-inflated tire doesn’t blow out, it may be damaged enough that you should have it replaced. A tire shop can inspect the tire for you. If the tire is damaged beyond repair, then you have to decide how many tires to buy. Depending on how worn your tires are, you might need to replace one, two, or all four tires. Damaging just one tire gets expensive in a hurry if it leads to replacing all four.
How Lost Air Pressure Burns More Gas
If your tires lose a couple of pounds of pressure, your car will burn more gas. This is because your tire patch size increases, which increases the surface-to-ground contact. That creates more resistance and friction between the tire and the road.
Imagine yourself pushing a wheel barrow with 50 pounds of dirt in it. If the tire is properly inflated, you would have no problem pushing the wheelbarrow around. Now, imagine if the tire is under-inflated. You’ll feel some resistance, which makes it harder to push. It’s the same situation with a car. An under-inflated tire on a car makes the car work harder to move. That means you’re wasting fuel.
Various studies conclude that under-inflated tires reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy by 1-2%. That might not sound like much, but it’s several dollars in wasted gas every month.
Replacing A Lost Valve Stem Cap
If you’ve lost a valve stem cap, replace it right away if you want to:
- Keep your tires in good shape
- Save money on fuel
If you’re going to replace a lost cap, why not upgrade to something a little better? At RimBlades USA, we offer stylish heavy duty valve stem caps. They are made of anodized aluminum, and are much stronger than plastic caps. If you tighten a plastic cap just a tiny bit too much, the threads can strip or the cap can crack. That won’t happen with aluminum caps. Here are additional benefits our valve stem caps offer:
- Universal fitment, which means they will fit your valve stems
- Better seal than plastic caps
- Compatibility with TPMS sensors
- Style and functionality
- More secure attachment than plastic caps
- Protection from dirt and moisture
Our valve stem caps come in 8 different colors: red, orange, silver, black, green, blue, dark gray, and purple. They’re a perfect complement to our RimSavers.
Get your own set today!