We all know how significant tires are to any vehicle. They largely contribute to a car’s handling, suspension, and, of course, safety. A tire may look simple at first glance, but it comprises several components. One of them is the tire valve stem.
The valve stem is that small rubber tube protruding from the tire. It is where you attach the air pump head/fitting to inflate the tire or let air escape to reduce pressure.
While there are a few kinds of valve stems, the one used on almost all motor vehicles is the Schrader valve. Let’s familiarize ourselves with its parts for easy reference.
Parts of a Schrader Valve Stem
- Body/Stem — the rubber tube that serves as the passage for air
- Core — the primary sealing device
- Tip — the threaded metal part where the cap is screwed on and off
- Cap — the screw cap that protects the core from dust, debris, and moisture
How It Works
At the heart of a Schrader tire valve stem is the valve core, which has a spring-loaded pin in the center (you can see it from the top). The spring, coupled with the internal tire pressure, helps the pin stop air from escaping. The air passage only opens when the pin is depressed.
To fill air into the tire, simply attach the pump head to the threaded tip of the valve stem (this will push down the center pin) and start pumping. Follow the recommended PSI levels for your vehicle to maintain optimal performance. Under-inflating or over-inflating can have adverse effects such as premature wear on tires and poor fuel economy.
To reduce tire pressure (in case you go above the recommended PSI or drive on dry sand), use your thumbnail or any tool that can fit through the tip’s opening and press down the center pin to let some air out. Use a tire pressure gauge or a tire deflator kit (with a built-in gauge) to check the PSI levels.
How To Maintain the Valve Stem on Your Tires
Unless you’re inflating or deflating your tires, make sure the caps are in place to prevent debris or moisture from accumulating in the valve. Check the stems periodically for holes or cuts, as they can cause a “slow leak.” If they are damaged, have a qualified tire technician check and replace them to save you effort and time.
If you need quality auto tire repair services, reach out to Graham Tire in Lincoln, NE. Our tire experts work by industry standards and deliver excellent customer service.