If this blog has a theme, that theme is corrosion.  Today is no different.  A guest with a 2007 Toyota 4Runner came in concerned about an air leak from their right front tire.  Upon inspection with soapy water, the technician found the following:

Bead Leak Bubbles

Pictured is the inside of the suspect tire with soapy water poured over where the tire meets the wheel (AKA the tire bead).  The resulting bubbles are from air escaping through the bead and foaming the soapy mixture.  Here’s the cause as seen with the tire off:

Tire bead corrosion

The roughness in the center of the photo is a result of the wheel’s aluminum corroding.  MN roads make this fairly common – your auto mechanic sees this every day.  Cleaning the roughness off takes a bit of elbow grease, the result looking like this:

Wheel Bead Cleaned

The majority of the corrosion has been ground off and the aluminum is now smooth.  The technician applies a special vulcanizing rubber cement to both the inner and outer beads and installs the tire while the cement is still wet.  This helps the tire seal over any remaining irregularities.  The tire is checked for any remaining leaks, balanced, and returned to service.

For all tire installations CARspec inspects for alloy corrosion and cleans/reseals as needed as part of the tire replacement process.