Two Things to Consider When Buying Valve Stem Caps
If you're having troubles with your car's tires, then you should check its valve stem caps. Though they're small, these caps are very important when it comes to maintaining pressure inside the tires. They do this by containing air inside the tires in case the valve stems are damaged. Aside from this, they also protect the stems from dust, debris, and other corrosion-causing materials. These are the reasons why once they get damaged, they need to be replaced with high-quality caps immediately. So you won't end up buying low-quality replacements, here's a list of the things that you need to consider before buying valve stem caps.
Valve stem cap type
Nowadays, manufacturers make different types of car parts to meet the changing demands of car owners. This is the reason why if you'll browse a car parts catalog, you'll be bombarded by various kinds of stem caps. To help you choose which one is the best, here's a list of the common valve stem caps sold in the market these days and their pros and cons.
- Green: This type of valve stem cap is installed on nitrogen-filled tires. Typically, they are made of high-quality plastic and can be installed on light truck and passenger tires. However, because these caps are used to indicate if tires are filled with nitrogen, they should not be used on cars with compressed air-filled tires.
- Metal: If you're looking for durable stem caps, then buying those that are made of metal is the perfect choice for you. Unlike plastic ones, metal valve stem caps can withstand minor impacts. Moreover, they can guarantee minimal pressure loss because they are installed with rubber sealing rings. However, after some time, these caps become difficult to remove because they tend to stick on the valve stems. Thus, they need to be regularly oiled or sprayed with silicone spray.
- Valve stem caps with TPI: Some stem caps sold nowadays come with tire pressure indicators (TPI). These indicators are used to continuously check tire pressure to avoid over or underinflation. Also, all vehicles manufactured from 2006 onwards are required to have these indicators under the TREAD Act. However, because of the added feature, stem caps with TPIs tend to be more expensive than other caps.
The best brand
Just like other car parts, valve stem caps are now manufactured by different brands. However, if it's your first time to buy replacement caps, you might find it difficult to decide which brand you're going to buy. To avoid this, you will need to read brand reviews first. These reviews enumerate the strengths and weaknesses of different brands, and they are written by experts and car owners. If you will read them, you will know which brands are affordable and trustworthy. Aside from reading reviews, you also need to remember that the best brand does not only sell cheap products-they make high-quality car parts, too.
Valve Step Caps: Checking for Damages and Installing New Ones
If your car's tires are still deflating even after filling them up with air, then you should check the valve stem caps. Typically made of brass or plastic, these caps help maintain tire pressure and protect valve stems from rocks and other kinds of debris. However, after some time, the stem caps wear out. Once this happens, the caps have to be replaced immediately to avoid tire air leaks and tire damage. Fortunately, replacing valve stem caps is very easy. This guide will teach you how you can do it in the safety of your own garage.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you'll need:
- Soapy water
- Replacement valve stem caps
Checking valve stem caps for damages
Step 1: Park your car on level ground.
Step 2: Take a seat beside the first valve stem cap that you're going to check.
Step 3: To check for air leaks, pour some soapy water on to the cap. If the water bubbles, then your car's valve stem cap is damaged.
Step 4: If the water doesn't bubble, remove the cap so you can inspect its threads. If the threads are smooth and dull, the cap should be replaced immediately.
Step 5: In case the threads are still sharp, blow some air to clean debris build up. Sometimes, due to dust and other kinds of debris, the stem cap becomes loose and gets damaged.
Step 6: After cleaning the cap, rethread it to the valve stem again. If the stem cap continues to turn even after bottoming out, it should be replaced because its threads are already stripped.
Installing new valve stem caps
Step 1: With your hand, turn the first damaged valve stem cap counterclockwise to remove it.
Step 2: Attach the new cap to the valve stem. Then, thread it with your hand clockwise. Don't over tighten the cap to avoid damaging the threads.
Step 3: Repeat these steps to replace the other damaged valve stem caps.
Step 4: When you're finished, test drive your vehicle for a few miles to make sure that the stem caps won't fall off.