Tires not holding air?

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I have a strange tire problem......
I have a 2011 Ford Fiesta, purchased new in late February of 2011. It is the SE Hatchback (not SFE) with Kumho Solus KH25 185/60-15 tires on alloy
wheels. For the first 5 months I added air to the tires once (and I did check them regualrly). In late July, out of the blue, the low tire pressure warning light came on when I was on the way to work. I was afraid I had a tire going down, but the car drove normally so I continued on to work. As soon as I got to work I looked at the tires and all appeared normal. When I got home and checked, the pressure in all four tires was in the mid-20s. Weird. I reinflated all the tires to 35 psi. All seemed fine for the next 3 weeks or so, until yesterday. The low tire pressure light illuminated on the way to work again. As before when I looked, the tires seemed fine. As before, when I checked the pressure, 3 of the 4 were in the mid 20s, one was in the low 20s. I reinflated the tires to 35 again. I've had a lot of cars and a lot of tires, and never before have I had a set of tires (four tires, not just one) lose 10 pounds of pressure in less than a month.
Any thoughts? My only thought is that I somehow damaged the tires on a mid July trip to Florida. We drove I-95 to South Florida in mid July. The trips were quick (600 miles, <10 hours including stops). Is it possible I somehow damage the tire structures in such a way that all four are now uniformly (more or less) leaking air at a much higher rate than normal? Parts of I-95 are really rough, it was really hot, and the trip to Florida and back was fairly relentless.
Ed
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Some evening (when it's a little cooler out) after driving around for a while until the tires are good and hot, take a small brush and brush a liberal amount of water and dish soap solution around the bead areas and the valve stem (both on the filler valve area and the seal at the rim) and see if any bubbles form. It may take a little while since the leak is very slow. I've had leaks before where the filler valve had worked loose just enough to leak out the way you describe, but I've also seen leaks around the bead area, but usually on older rims than you have.
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SC Tom


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I've had one fail like youu are suggesting.....but all four at the same time?
Ed
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LOL, no, not all four. But maybe with the extreme heat of the Florida trip, maybe the stems loosened some? Those aren't the tires that cam on the Fiesta, are they? Or did it come with Kumho's on it? It would be awfully hard to prove, but maybe some damage from the installer? Still hard to make it all four tires/rims though.
Good luck with it. Let us know whatever the resolution is.
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SC Tom


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Kumhos are the original equipment tires on 2011 SE Fiestas. The car has the Ford valve stem attached style of pressure transducers with the replaceable rubber valve stems. I have had the same style on two other Fords and never had a problem with the stems or tires - but then I never drove back and forth to Florida in 100 degree July weather with those vehicles.
The Kumho tires seem decent. At 15K they still look good, don't bump and seem grippy enough for NC weather (little snow!). But this realtively fast air leaking has be baffled. I guess I need to check them at least weekly (they never have "looked" under inflated).
Ed
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On 08/23/2011 08:51 AM, C. E. White wrote:

there's a very limited number of possible causes, so let's consider:
* tires. they're multi-layer, and there are several features designed to help air retention. one is the bead that contacts the rim. another is the butyl rubber liner that decreases air permeability. if either of those have been cheapened, and if you look, you'll see those tires are made in china, they will indeed lose pressure faster than you're used to.
* valves and valve stems. the mold seam sealing surface is crucial to airtightness, and it's easy to screw up with a poor quality molding machine. same for the seal bands on the valve.
* the rims. while unlikely, rims, especially cheap cast aluminum, can be porous.
you could also of course have a flat - a staple on the freeway will explain the single "flattest" tire but still be hard to spot.
but the reason they're all losing air so fast, for my money is either tires of valves. you can have the latter replaced cheaply enough. if it's the tires, and it's bugging you bad enough, you'll have to replace them. get stuff that's not made in china where they cut corners and use unskilled labor, and you'll be fine.
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nomina rutrum rutrum

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say - the car (and tires)is stil under warranty.
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The Ford warranty covers the tires. The amount covered depends on the mileage. I am past the 12,000 mile mark (100% covered till then), but in theory Ford will cover 60% of the cost of the tires, if the problem is the tires (at least till I hit 24,000). And the tires may have a manufacturer's warranty as well. But, I suppose I'll need a little more history before I try to get Ford to do anything. I'll monitor the tires for a couple of weeks and if they still seem to be losing pressure at an unusal rate, I'll visit the dealer. I can't imagine this will be an easy sell, but you never know.
Ed
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It's /very/ unlikely to be the tires that are leaking unless there's a puncture. And it's even less likely to be a puncture if all four wheels are exhibiting pressure-loss at the same time. Unless there's some kind of obscure manufacturing-defect, of course.
Your most likely culprits are the wheels (porous alloy; poor sealing at rims), or the valve stems (core; at hole where stem goes into wheel).
This is why you get the warranty that came with the car...
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Tegger

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If the tires had this problem from new, I'd agree porous wheels could be the problem, but I doubt four wheels developed similar poroisty after 10,000 miles of use. I just don't picture anything I've done with or to the car could increase the porousity of aluminum wheels (Ford OEM).
The valve stems are a possibility. Ford uses TPM sensors that incorporate replaceable rubber valve stems. The same sort of valve stems were used on two other Fords I've owned and never gave a problem. It is certainly possible that the stems are at fault, but it just seems unlikely that all four would fail at about the same time and lead to similar leage rates. I suppose the stress of the trip to Florida could have affect the stems but I think it is more likely to be the tires.
I am focusing on the tires becasue I wonder if the stress of the trip to Florida (hot temperatures, bumpy / lousy I-95 road surface, continuous driving for 9 hours in each direction, etc.) might have damaged the inner structure of all the tires (and since I've never had Kumho tires before, I am suspious of them). I've checked in the Fiesta forum and no one else has reported a similar problem. Googling leaky Kumho tires get no relevant hits, etc. I think going back to the dealer is the samrt move, but I want to monitor the tire pressure for a few days to confirm they are leaking at an unusal rate. I can't imagine what the dealer will want to do to confirm slowly leaking tires or wheels or valve stems....... But whatever, if the problem presists, I'll get the dealer involved.
Ed White
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On Tue, 23 Aug 2011 15:45:10 -0400, "C. E. White"

I had 4 valve stems (without TPM) fail within weeks of each other - they just cracked and let go - all at about 15 months, give or take.I've owned dozens of vehicles - and serviced hundreds more, with "exactly the same valve stems" without ever having one fail (well, the odd one on customer vehicles over the years - but none on mine) - yet with the cheap chinese crap currently on the market i DID have ALL 4 fail in a short period of time (first one on a trip to the east coast, second just after I got home, third in my driveway a week later - and the forth the same day when I checked it to see if it was shot too - just wiggled it a wee bit and the air started leaking.

Take the tires and rims off and throw them in the shallow end of the swimming pool - and watch for a tiny stream of bubbles. Pourous casings were a not uncommon problem not too many years ago on several brands and models of tires - the solution was to install a Michelin Airstop radial tube. (gee, I wonder why THEY were marketed??)

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Consider the other half of my "porous wheels"comment: Poor assembly-line technique that results in rim leaks.

Unless there's a design or assembly fault.

Can't see that being an issue unless the tires were defective. Modern tires are extremely tough, and are highly tolerant of very significant abuse. Tires are old technology: All the bugs were worked out ages ago.

Kumho and Hankook are excellent-quality tires. The Koreans have tires down pat.

What did Ford change for 2011? new designs? new suppliers? new plant? new equipment? new process?

VERY good idea. Keep as accurate records as you can. Remember, engineers will be studying your records, so you must be as precise, as organized, and as detailed as possible.
If you can go into the dealer with substantial and credible evidence, you will be able to help them to help you solve your problem.
And, if this is a brand-new problem, your research may even be able to help cause a TSB to be issued. You'll be famous!
You may even discover...Devil's advocate speaking here...that your original thesis is incorrect, and that the tires are not actually losing any air at all... You never really know, until you have extensive and accurate records to work from.

It involves water. But wonder not: This is their problem, not yours. If Ford is the conscientious automaker they wish buyers to think they are, their engineering staff will have developed numerous techniques to find defects.
Some automakers are wonderfully anal about detecting and correcting faults. You'd hope Ford is one of those.

You paid for that warranty as part of the purchase price of your car. Time to start collecting on what you paid.
--
Tegger

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On 08/23/2011 05:54 PM, Tegger wrote:

theoretically, but manufacturing integrity is just as susceptible to "economies" as it ever was. thinning/omitting the air liner saves money, regardless of "old" or "new" technology.

label engineering and marketing. look at the tire walls for country of origin - most are made in china.

frod is right behind bmw in terms of their relentless pursuit of production and design objectives and quality control. however, the targets they so carefully and rigorously meet are not those you would suppose.
life limitation is, and has for many years, been the hold grail - their largest r&d spend by a considerable margin. it's cheap and easy to make reliable stuff. it's cheap and easy to make unreliable stuff. it's very hard to make cheap stuff that's reliable only for its design period, then reliably and predictably fail. in terms of engineering challenge, this is probably the only thing about the industry that's got any real intellectual horsepower behind it. getting stuff to work? that's century old news.

--
nomina rutrum rutrum

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decent to CRAP. The experience I had with Hankook tires a few years ago soured me on even their Korean tires. Apparently they have gotten better - the ones I had experience with had "corners" on them instead of being round - if you know what I mean.
I won't TOUCH a chinese tire. Perhaps Taiwanese, but never mainland china - and I'm not partial to VietNamese or Philipino tires either.
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I have bought Humho and they have performed very well. Probably better than some American brands. I had no complaints at all.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in

The Red Chinese produce quality work provided the West (or a free country like South Korea) does their design and QC for them.

I've had Hankooks for the last several years. They have been, and remain, excellent.
Of course, mine have been competently mounted, something you can't say for 95% of tires out there...

Poor mounting technique. So distressingly common. It wasn't the tires, believe me.

If they're being sold under a major brand, they're fine. The point of branding is to assure your clients that the final product is good, regardless of where made.
Tires, and people's rate of satisfaction with them, are 100% tied to competent mounting. But, unfortunately, competent mounting is extremely rare.
Few tires are bad, but most tires are badly mounted. And the tires get blamed.
--
Tegger

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On 08/24/2011 05:17 PM, Tegger wrote:

i know you don't like people disagreeing with you dude, but i have to take issue on this. tire quality is very much at issue here, and it can't be solved by "mounting".
example: when a tire casing is made, the fibers used have to be of sufficient quality, laid right, and with even tension. same for the tread bands - the circumferential nylon and steel layers. now we come to the rubbers - these are obviously critical. incorrectly formulated, poorly mixed, incorrectly applied and inadequately vulcanized, these, just like all the other individual components, are critical quality concerns. iow, there are many different components and processes that can get screwed up by poor material quality assembled by unskilled labor and inexperience.
but even all those don't hold a candle to the #1 cause of chinese product problems: corner cutting. if a company is outsourcing to china, they're doing so for economic reasons, not technical. and they want to minimize costs. so how does a chinese manufacturer manage to produce something for seemingly the same cost or even /less/ than the open market cost of materials and energy input? cut corners and reduce those input costs that nobody else dare do! because let's face it - are you /really/ going to try to file a lawsuit against a chinese contractor in a chinese court of law? if you're entertaining the idea that you could, you'd better see a psychiatrist for the delusional fantasies you're experiencing.
bottom line: don't buy chinese tires. ever since the usa started to allow chinese tire imports, [and also relax the rules on the tire quality that you can have on a big rig's trailer - because chinese tires couldn't meet quality standards any other way] our freeways have been strewn with outrageous quantities of blown tire debris. it's an absolute scandal. do /you/ want to be hit with 5lb, 10lb or even 30lb chunks of tire casing from these things as they disintegrate? i had one of my door mirrors knocked off by one recently. i'm lucky it didn't come through my windshield or hit my elbow that happened to be in my open window. [big thick chunks of rubber like that don't bounce btw - they're like chunks of flying concrete.]
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Who said that? Disagree all you want. There's nothing I can do either way.

It can, and it does. I have abundant personal experience with this, as I've stated and detailed numerous times.
Most tires judged as defective actually suffer from bad mounting technique. Most wheels judged as "bent" are actually within spec, but are declared "bent" by tire monkeys who are stumped as to why they can't make vibrations go away.
<snip>
There's nothing at all wrong with Chinese product sold under major brand- names.
--
Tegger

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On 08/24/2011 11:37 PM, Tegger wrote:

then you've been outstandingly lucky and have not had to witness abysmal tire quality with visibly lumpy side walls, visibly lumpy treads, rubber cracking and spalling, etc.

sub-standard materials, unskilled labor and corner cutting affect quality. that's just fact. and you don't manufacture in china so you can save on labor but spend more on materials quality, you do it so you can cut costs all across the board. that's just fact too.
--
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wrote:

and the rim. Just because a rim is "within manufacturers tolerance" does NOT mean it is not "bent", and no matter how you mount a "turd" it's still a "turd". Can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
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