You're getting way too worried over something you aren't going to stop, especially if you live where they dump a pound of road salt on an ounce of snow like I do. If you have cast wheels, which are most commonly used now because they're lighter, the best you can hope for is to have stick-on wheel weights used when the tires are balanced. All tire changer machines are designed to no longer scrape on the edge of the wheels when they pull the tires on and off. That, and using stick-on weights will make the clear-coat last the longest, but if you look at any car in any parking lot, you're going to find corrosion around the edges of the wheels, ... And no flat tires. My painted steel wheels lasted 25 years before one developed a pinhole from rust last summer. The paint was flaked off over ten years ago. I also have a '95 model with cast wheels. They're full of corrosion but have no leaks. I'd be more concerned about having the leaking tire's sidewall checked. If there's a leak in the tread area, the tire can usually be patched, although I prefer to plug the hole first to keep water out, then patch it from the inside. Patches do not hold well on the sidewalls because of the constant flexing. Most people won't put plugs on the sidewalls either but I have had them hold on my tires.
I've also tried to repaint steel wheels on collector cars, and it doesn't turn out as good as the factory job. They got to start with a perfectly clean wheel, not one that has been attacked by salt and car wax.
The people at any tire and alignment shop will find the source of the leak in a minute or two, usually without removing the wheel from the vehicle. Once the tire has been inspected and the leak resolved, go out and enjoy your van and forget about the wheels unless you're a perfectionist about how they look. If that is the case, buy a set of new wheels with new tires, and switch to those in the summer and put the current set on in the winter. That used to be somewhat common up here in the snow. When a wheel finally does start leaking due to corrosion, in about another 15 years, it's going to start out very small, and your pressure monitoring system will let you know. You'll have days or weeks of warning before the tire gets so low that it's dangerous. At that point any repair shop that mounts tires will have a can of bead sealer sitting on the shelf just waiting for you. Every parts store sells it and every shop uses it. Your mechanic will tell you when there's so much corrosion on the wheels that you need to be concerned. Until then, there's no sense worrying about it.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 AT 2:07 PM