Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Wheels & Tires -> Stems
Question from Jeff:
What do people do when hubcaps slide and split the valve stems. This seems to be an ongoing problem amd very inconvenient when I wake up to flats. Any ideas?
The wheel covers shouldn't move that much, but one thing that helps is to have fresh valve stems. Old ones that are dry and brittle are more likely to break when stressed that way. The wheel cover should not be sharp where the valve stem goes through it. You should take a look at the offending wheel cover and see if the edges around the hole are turned in. It would also be advisable to try another wheel cover and do so until you find one that doesn't "slide" on the rim.
Make sure all the prawls on the hubcaps are straight and sharp. Use a pair of pliers to straighten them and even a small triangular file to sharpen if necessary! You can also switch to metal stems, they won't get cut and you can get them long enough to actually get a tire gauge on them without having to pull the hubcaps!
Another trick is to paint the wheels with an epoxy paint if the paint is thin in the area where the caps mount. This will give them something to "bite" into. As also mentioned, new valve stems & or metal valve stems that reach through. You don't want to have to remove the caps any more then absolutely necessary.
Used to happen on my '62. We did something or other to increase the friction with the wheel rim, and my mechanic found some stems (truck ones, maybe?) that were stronger, and had a brass tube under the rubber. Between that and checking them weekly or so, it did the trick.
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