How to Fix a Bike Wheel

How to Fix a Bike Wheel
Wheels are the connecting point between your bike and the ground. Consequently, the condition of the wheels on your bike directly determines the feel of your ride. Wheels typically contain 28 to 36 spokes and their construction baffles most riders. However, upon closer inspection, maintenance and repair of bicycle wheels is something you can do at home to save money and time.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Spoke wrench
  • Tire levers
  • Truing stand
  • Tire pump
Step 1
Place your bicycle on a bike stand. If you do not have a bike stand, roll the bike over and let it rest on the handlebars and seat. Slowly spin the wheel in question. Look for wobbling back and forth while in line with the wheel. Additionally, while the wheel is slowly spinning, look for any flat spots from the side of the wheel.
Step 2
Unhinge the brakes if you have center pull or V-brakes. Let the air out of the tire. Loosen the quick release and remove the wheel. Set the wheel on the ground and use the tire levers to remove the tire and tube from wheel. Set the tire and tube aside. Set the wheel in the wheel-truing stand. Using the spoke wrench, tighten and loosen spokes as necessary to manipulate the wheel to the desired shape.
Step 3
Pull the wheel into shape for side-to-side or lateral issues by tightening spokes from the direction you want to move the rim. If the wheel wobbles left, tighten spokes in the area that come from the left side of the hub. Move damaged areas not pulling back straight by loosening the spokes on the same side as the bend and then continuing to tighten spokes on the opposite side. Work the wheel into shape for out-of-round damage by tightening spokes opposite the area out of round.
Step 4
Install the tube and tire back onto the wheel and put air in the tube using the air pump. Hinge the center pull and v-brakes back together. Tighten the quick release making sure the wheel remains centered. Remove the bicycle from the bike stand. For bikes rested on the seat and handlebars, place it upright onto wheels. Take the bike for a test ride, paying careful attention to the wheel.

Tips & Warnings

Replace spoke wrenches periodically to avoid rounding spoke edges.
Always start with one-half turn for each spoke you adjust.
Over-tightening spokes could strip the threads from the spoke or nipple

Article Written By Jeremy Slaughter

Jeremy Slaughter is a tax, accounting and small business expert. After completing his master's degree in accounting at Keller Graduate School of Management, Slaughter co-founded an accounting and tax firm where writing plays a daily role.

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