Missing Tire Air Cap? Here’s what to Do


Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by Victor Lukasso

A missing tire air cap might not look like a complex issue but it’s important that you put it in place for a long-lasting tire life.

The main reason why car manufacturers put the air cap on the tires is to prevent debris, dust, and tiny harmful particles from getting into your tire valve stem.

A smaller portion of these substances in your valve stem might not cause you much trouble but when they start accumulating in larger proportion, your tire’s overall performance will reduce.

In this article, I’ll further explain what to do if your tire air cap goes missing and how to prevent a missing tire air cap.

What is a tire air cap?

Tire air cap valves are plastic or metallic components fixed to a tire to prevent dust and debris from getting into the system.

Even though rumors have it that a missing tire air cap will cause the tire to lose air but that’s false.

If your tire air cap gets missing, moisture, dust, and dirt will clog the valve stem making it hard for you to inflate your tires.

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This will greatly affect your tire performance and also have an impact on your driving experience, so the best you can do is to make sure your air cap is always intact or replace your tire air cap once you notice they’re missing.

How to Prevent Tire Air Caps from Missing

While it’s advised that you put an eye on your tires and other car components, there are measures you can take to prevent a missing tire air cap.

Here are some tips for you to stop the air cap from missing.

Tighten it correctly

Car owners make the mistake of not correctly tightening the air cap on the tires thereby exposing the valve to damage.

Always take it upon yourself to make sure the tire air cap is tightened correctly after filling with air, or maintenance. Do this process with your hands and avoid over-tightening it to prevent future damage to your valve stem.

Put the air cap in a safe location when filling tires

Removing the air cap/valve is a must during air filling, endeavor to place the air cap in a space where you can easily retrieve it after filling with air.

Also, ensure that the air cap is put back if you’re using the service of a vulcanized as some of them might make the mistake of leaving the valve out after refilling.

Avoid Bumps if Possible

The pressure from climbing, or brushing against bumps or curbs could cause the air cap to fall off, especially when you’re driving at full speed.

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It can also result in damage to the valve stem. The best option is to try as much as possible to pass an alternate route without bumps on the road.

Lost tire air cap? Do this

If you’ve lost your tire air cap then the best thing you can do is to get an air cap replacement.

The replacement process is a do-it-yourself procedure since all you need to do is purchase a $3 – $8 tire valve stem cap and tighten it.

Also, your valve stem doesn’t necessarily go missing before you can replace them, they also wear out just like other car components.

Once you’ve got the tire air caps, you can follow the below guide to install them.

  1. Lift your car and rotate the tire so that the valve is positioned right in front of you
  2. Get rid of the old air cap using a plier or a tire lubricant if it seems a bit hard (this is if the air valve isn’t missing)
  3. Clean the valve stem of accumulated debris and dust using a screwdriver.
  4. Now, to install a new air valve make sure you grease the valve cover to prevent friction
  5. Slowly tighten the air cap into the valve stem until it can’t move any further (don’t use any tool for this procedure)

That’s all you need to do if your tire air cap gets lost or missing or you need to change a worn-out valve.

If the air cap still goes missing after some time then you can seek the help of a vulcanizer or mechanic.

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Can a missing tire cap cause a flat tire?

A missing tire cap doesn’t cause a flat tire, instead, it causes debris and dust to get clogged in the valve stem causing difficulty to inflate tires.

Can I drive with a missing tire air cap?

Yes, it’s possible to drive with a missing tire air cap, however, it’s advised to get a replacement as soon as possible to avoid clogging the valve stem which will further result in difficulties in inflating tires.

Are bike valve caps necessary?

Yes, just like any automobile, bike valve caps are plastic or metallic components fixed to a tire to prevent dust and debris from getting into the system. It’s necessary to have long-lasting tire performance.

Why would someone steal tire caps?

There are motives to every action but the most possible reason why someone would steal tire caps is if you installed a more expensive air cap on your tires.

There are basic air valves that wouldn’t attract the attention of air valve stealers but installing a valve with higher quality will draw their attention since they’re knowledgeable about cars.