Do I have to replace the stems with the tires?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

Do you really have to get the stems replaced whenever you buy new tires, or is this something the tire stores use to make a little extra money?

TOM: This question calls for another one of the Click and Clack Great Unyielding Truths (GUTS): It's the stingy person who spends the most.

RAY: Of course the tire stores are making a few extra bucks on the stems, but you might as well get them. When you buy a new pair of shoes, do you take the laces off the old shoes and put them on the new ones? No. They may not be broken, but you might as well start with brand new ones.

TOM: Stems are the same way. The old ones may be OK, but if one were to fail and cause a leak, you could ruin a brand new tire. Moreover, if you chose not to replace the stems, the tire store would be less likely to take responsibility for the tire failure. They'd tell you that it was probably the rusty old stem you were too cheap to replace. Get the stems and nip this problem in the bud, Jeff.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter