Tyre valves are very important for maintaining the right tyre pressure, which in turn affects both driving economy and safety. Read our article and learn more about regular inspection and replacement of valves in car tyres 

What’s a Schrader valve?

Also known as an American valve, a Schrader valve is a type of valve used in almost all car wheels. It consists of three parts: 

  • a rubber or metal casing

  • a metal tube, threaded from the inside 

  • a cap to prevent the ingress of dirt

Its main purpose is to maintain a constant level of pressure in the tyre. It allows for easy inflation and deflation without disturbing the structure of the wheel.

 A defective valve can cause a lot of trouble

While driving, our tyres are subject to many different forces. Due to dynamic acceleration, braking, or manoeuvring, the rubber regularly deforms and returns to its original shape. 

The same forces are applied to the valve, which can immediately deflect by up to 30°. If repeated, this may damage the structure of the valve, exposing our tyre to pressure loss. Even a slightly distorted valve can result in losing 0.2 to 0.7 bar per week. 

Inadequate pressure increases the risk that the tyre may become damaged while driving

Inadequate pressure increases the risk that the tyre may become damaged while driving

Low tyre pressure can cause many problems. It significantly extends the braking distance (by up to 20% on wet surfaces!) and may cause loss of control and impair structural integrity. Insufficient pressure also causes a faster wear of tyres, suspension, and brakes

How often should we change the tyre valve?

The best moment to take care of tyre valves is seasonal tyre change. Tyre shops often include this service in the tyre change package but even if they don’t, you can always ask for changing the valves for an extra fee. It’s definitely worth it.

Various models are available. The most durable ones are reinforced metal valves, which can be replaced every second season; rubber equivalents should preferably be replaced every six months. Sticking to this routine will significantly increase your driving safety.

When replacing tyres, don’t forget about the valves

When replacing tyres, don’t forget about the valves

Replacing the tyre valves isn’t expensive

Regular replacement of tyre valves doesn’t cost much. The service is often included in the cost of tyre replacement.  

Changing tyre valves often comes naturally with other maintenance checks or services so you may be unaware that your tyre valves are regularly replaced. However, you should always make sure that they are.

The valve allows for easy tyre inflation and deflation

The valve allows for easy tyre inflation and deflation

Is it worth investing in hidden tyre valves?

Hidden valves are increasingly popular among drivers. They are often used in cars with alloy wheels or in racing vehicles.

Hidden valves have shorter tubes with an extended structure which doesn’t protrude beyond the edge of the wheel. They are installed using a special cable. Though such valves are more expensive and rather more difficult to replace, they offer increased protection against breakage or premature damage of the valve, as well as better looks.

Hidden valves do not protrude beyond the edge

Hidden valves do not protrude beyond the edge

Little tyre valve caps matter a lot

Tyre valve caps have a greater effect on driving performance and safety than you might think. While driving, contaminants such as dirt or liquids from the road penetrate into valve and settle on its walls. When inflating tyres, such matter is pushed deeper into the valve, causing the valve to clog and lose pressure. This may cause a rapid drop in tyre pressure.

Caps prevent contamination from accumulating inside the valve

Caps prevent contamination from accumulating inside the valve

Caps are the simplest and the best solution to this problem. They prevent dust and soil from getting in, eliminating the risk of system contamination.

Driving without a tyre valve cap

If you’ve driven without valve caps and you’re concerned that the compressor will force dirt into the hole, you’ll have to let out some air before turning on the compressor. To do this, push on the valve slightly with a hard object until you hear a hiss of air. Repeat several times for a better effect. Bear in mind though that however helpful it is, success is not guaranteed. It mostly depends on how much dirt has accumulated.

You can adjust the pressure by yourself according to the information provided by the manufacturer

You can adjust the pressure by yourself according to the information provided by the manufacturer

Regular replacement of valves improves your safety

It’s vital for road safety and operating costs to check tyre pressure regularly. Inadequate tyre pressure can be dangerous.

Replacing valves on a regular basis minimises the risk of pressure loss. It doesn’t cost much and the benefits are priceless. However, also remember about regular checks. Even frequently replaced valves may be damaged due to heavy loads. 

By having your tyres replaced at professional tyre shops, you can be sure of proper installation and quality of service. Don’t forget that – always use the services of reputable shops

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