How to Repair a Bicycle Tire

How to Repair a Bicycle Tire
Whether they're on a rugged mountain trail, on the highway or a city street, avid cyclists put a lot of mileage on their tires. That means damage is all but inevitable, either through wear-and-tear or accidents. The most common form of tire damage is the flat tire; if you want to avoid regular trips to the bike shop, you need to learn how to patch flat tires yourself.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Crescent wrench
  • Tire tools
  • Bicycle pump
  • Tire patching kit
Step 1
Remove the wheel with the flat tire from the bicycle. Most modern bicycles have a quick-release lever that will free the tire. Vintage bikes, on the other hand, probably will not. To remove the wheel in these cases, use a wrench to unscrew the nut and bolt holding the wheel on.
Step 2
Slide the rounded side of the tire tool between and under the wheel rim and the tire. Gently pry the tire away from the rim, and then lock the tire tool into place on a wheel spoke using the hooked end of the tool. Repeat the process with more tire tools until the tire comes loose from the wheel.
Step 3
Separate the inner tube from the tire and inspect the inner tube for damage. Inflating the inner tube will make it easier to find pinholes other minute forms of damage. If all else fails, inflate the tube, submerge it in water and look for leaking air bubbles. Deflate the tube after inspection.
Step 4
Examine the tire itself to see if the source of the puncture is still lodged in the rubber. Examples of such problems include tacks, pins, nails and sharp stones. Remove that object if you can find it. If you can't, do not worry too much; it probably fell out.
Step 5
Apply contact adhesive to both the area around the leak and to a rubber patch (both of these are standard components of any tire-patching kit). Lay the patch over the damaged area and press it down firmly, so it has good contact.
Step 6
Allow the patch to dry for at least 10 minutes.
Step 7
Stuff the inner tube into the tire, taking care that you can access the inflation valve. Thread that valve through the valve hole in the wheel rim as you set the tire onto the wheel.
Step 8
Put as much of the tire under the wheel rim's clincher wires as you can with your hands. You probably will not be able to get all of it fitted under the wires, so stop this step once it becomes difficult.
Step 9
Pull the edges of the uninstalled section of the tire left over from Step 8 with the rounded end of a tire tool, so that it is stretched over the outside the wheel rim.
Step 10
Roll the stretched tire rubber under the clincher wires with your thumbs. The tire will be taut at this stage, so try not to pinch the inner tube as you finish fitting the tire.
Step 11
Re-inflate the tire. Once the inner tube fills up, the tire will have a firm grip on the wheel rim. Put the wheel back on your bicycle.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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