Car tyre valve caps, although not frequently discussed, are an important part of all car tyres. They play an essential role in your tyres, which means that they also require appropriate care. If you don’t look after your valve caps, your tyres may, consequently, lose their quality and safety parameters.

In this article we answer the most common questions about tyre air caps, so you can better understand their vital functions.

Car tyre valve close-up

The influence of tyre valve caps on driving safety

There is a big chance that the influence of your car tyre valves on your safety is much greater than you are expecting, or that you have never even thought about it. 

You are probably aware that the main role of a valve stem cap is to protect the tyre valve from dust, dirt and moisture getting inside, which is why they are also called dust caps, as well as preventing tyre pressure from getting out.

If any of your car tyre valve caps is missing, dust, dirt, debris or other particles gather around the valve stem, often getting into the tyre. You may even push them in unwillingly while inflating the tyre. Contamination in a valve stem often results in the valve not closing correctly and this may cause the tyre to lose pressure. Insufficient pressure values, in turn, will have a direct impact on your safety.

Person wearing gloves inflating tyreTyre valve caps are often underestimated by car and SUV owners.

What to do with an uncapped tyre valve

Imagine you discover that you have been driving without one or more of your tyre valve caps. What to do in such a situation, when you are worried that a compressor will push the dirt into the tyre valve, especially if you are not sure how long you have been driving without the air caps in place?

The easiest method is to let some of the air out of the tyre before you use the compressor. Push the tyre valve with a hard tool until you hear the distinctive hissing noise. You may need to repeat this process a few times to clear a sufficient amount of air.

This method is not completely infallible, but it can be helpful. To what extent? That depends on how much dirt got stuck around the tyre valve while it was uncapped. Naturally, you should immediately put a missing cap on a tyre valve.

Man rotating tyre valve cap

Tyre valve caps in different road conditions

Tyre valve caps are always important but even more so in areas that don’t have the cleanest streets and roads. They are needed to minimise the risks of contaminating the tyres while passing through puddles, mud, sand and other hazards where dirt can easily enter the tyre valve. Therefore, remember to pay special attention to your tyre valve stem caps when driving in dirtier conditions.

Are the tyre valve caps worth buying?

The price of car valve caps depends on the kind of the caps and factors such as size, material, colour, etc. However, it hardly ever exceeds £5, usually being around £1-2 for the set of four pieces.

Considering their cost, it should be clear to all drivers that valve caps are worth buying. Compared to the overall cost of car maintenance, these caps are an insignificant expense that may so easily save you from future tyre problems and further expenses.

Having read this article you certainly know that you should definitely pay attention to your car dust caps and take proper care of them. That involves regular checks, especially when you drive in difficult road conditions or overload your car, and replacing your tyre valve caps, preferably on the occasion of your tyre changes and inspections.