Valve Stems – Can This Weak Link Halt My Off Roading Fun?


Your off-road truck is only as strong as its weakest link, the one that is usually the most forgotten. Though you have surely put a lot of consideration into getting the right tires for your ride, along with durable steel bumpers and other upgrades, have you considered your valve stems?

Easier to damage than you may realize, your day of fun could come to an abrupt end if you break or tear off a valve stem. To keep this from happening, consider this practical information and make sure you’re riding with valve stems that are up to the task!

Valve Stems Do Break

Whether your tires have OEM standard rubber valve stems or you have replaced them with metal stems, both can break or be torn off when you are driving in rough terrain. How does this happen? It occurs when rocks, brush, or other trail debris make contact with the stem and your custom bumpers as you are driving along.

To avoid this, you may choose to replace your valve stems with sturdier ones. If you are considering doing this, there are a number of considerations to make first.  Since the possibility of damage depends on valve stem location, wheel type, and certain other factors, you need to assess your risk of damage first in order to choose the right type.

Rubber, Metal or Recessed?

When choosing valve stems that can endure the off-roading adventures of your great outfitted Jeep, there are pros and cons to the different types out there. Rubber will hold up for a while and even bend in some instances. Of course, as the rubber ages, it is more likely to be torn off and leave you with a big problem.

Metal valve stems may seem stronger than rubber; however, they can easily be cracked or sheared right off the tire. An investment in flush mounted stems can be another possible option. In this case, you need to know that many people find them inconvenient to actually use, not to mention how easy it is to lose the detachable stem required to air your tires up or down.  

Importance of Valve Stem Location

In addition to the material used to make them, the location of your valve stems is another factor that can make you more or less likely to deal with damage or breakage. The closer the valve stem sits to the edge of the wheel, the more protected they are from being torn off or impacted to the point of breaking.

Stems hidden behind wide beadlock rims also receive a degree of protection, as do those on wheels made with recesses for the valve stems. Keep this in mind whenever purchasing new wheels to go with those new truck bumpers you got.

Be Prepared For Repairs

The best way to deal with potential valve stem problems is by choosing the right bumpers, wheels, and stems that will put up with the abuse of off-roading. Since getting a new set of wheels just for the valve stem positioning isn’t likely to happen, your next option is to carry what you need to make a valve stem repair.

There are quite a few options available, from rubber slip-in and metal bolt-on stems that are inserted from inside the tire up to push-in stems that install from the outside of the tire without needing to break the bead. These include press-in rubber stems as well as twist-tightened metal and rubber stems that flange inside the tire as they are tightened.

So before you head off on the trail with those knobby tires, that lifted suspension, and those new truck bumpers, stop to consider your valve stems and how to protect them. Depending on the type of wheels you’re using, your actual risk of sustaining damage to a valve stem will differ. If you’re in the market for wheels, pay attention to this little detail when choosing the best option for your prized off road truck. Always carry replacement valve stems in your emergency gear. It may not prevent a flat due to a broken valve stem; however, it will at least give you the chance to make repairs and keep on going!

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