The invention of the wheel, so they say, is the most important invention of all time. However, a wheel isn’t worth too much without a tire, as it’s providing too much traction and it’s almost impossible to drive or to ride properly. Bicycle tires, however, are prone to punctures that release air, and you’ll definitely need to get that fixed if you want to ride properly.
However, taking your bike to the shop just to have them fix the tire may not be costly, but it’s certainly senseless as the repair itself isn’t that difficult. That’s why we’ve assembled this guide, which is surely going to teach you how to repair your bicycle tire.
Let’s get started!
Method 1: Patching the Tire!
You have two methods when fixing a flat tire – you can either patch the tire or replace it completely. Both of these fixes have their pros and cons.
The good thing about patching the tire is the fact that it doesn’t cost much, as patches are much cheaper than new tires, and it also makes for a very simple fix. The downside, though, is the fact that the patch usually doesn’t last long – it’s much safer to install a new tire.
The reason the patch doesn’t last that long is the fact that the patch is simply a sticker you put over the rupture.
The good thing about buying a new tire is that it’s certainly going to last longer than a patch (unless you manage to rupture it again) and this isn’t a repair, it’s a replacement, so it’s definitely the better solution. The downside is the fact that buying a new tire is more expensive and the fix is more complicated than just putting a patch on it.
We’d say that patching the rupture is more of a hands-on repair, you should definitely do this if you don’t have the time to replace the whole tire; for example, if you’re supposed to be riding very soon. However, you should replace the tire as soon as possible.
Step 1 – Finding the Rupture
The most important thing you have to do when patching up a rupture is to find the rupture. To do this, you’re going to have to take off the wheel from your bicycle, and take out the burst, inner tire. The tire is probably going to be deflated since it’s letting air out.
Fill a large bucket or a small pool with water, as you’re going to need to submerge the tire completely. Now, inflate the tire and put it underwater. Bubbles are bound to appear, and track the place they’re coming from – that’s your rupture.
Now, dry the tire with a cloth and mark the rupture with a marker or chalk.
Step 2 – Patching the Tire
The next thing you have to do is patch the tire. To do this, simply follow the instructions on the packaging of the patch. You’re usually just going to have to stick the patch over the rupture and heat it with a hairdryer. In some instances, you’re not even going to have to heat it up.
Step 3 – Making Sure the Tire is Fixed
Not, repeat the whole process of the first step. You shouldn’t be seeing any more bubbles. If bubbles appear and they’re coming from the same spot, you’re going to have to throw that tire away and replace it completely. It is possible that there’s another rupture you haven’t noticed the first time, and if that’s the case, then you should patch those two.
Take note, though, that having two patched ruptures is only going to quicken the time before you have to replace the whole tire, so you might want to think about replacing the entire tire right now instead of messing around with patching.
That’s it! Now, let’s move on to tire replacement.
Method 2: Replacing the Entire Tire
Replacing the entire tire of the bicycle is always the better solution if you have the time for it. Here, you’ll find a simple guide to the process, but if you feel that it’s too much for you, then it’s best to take it to the shop and let the professionals handle it.
Step 1 – Remove the Wheel
To do this, you need to put the bike to its side with the chain facing up. The chain side should always face up to avoid damaging it. If you’re removing the back tire, make sure to adjust your gears to the smallest ring.
You can now open and remove the quick release lever, but know that some bikes don’t have one. This lever makes it easier to take the wheel off. It’s usually located at the center of the wheel.
If there’s no lever, then use a wrench to loosen the nuts. Turn the nut until it comes off, but know that you may need to use some WD-40 if it’s really not letting loose.
You also may need to detach brake cables, but after that, you can easily take the wheel off the frame and proceed to the next step.
Step 2 – Remove the Tire and the Inner Tire (the Tube)
It’s important to deflate the tire completely before you do this. Take the cap off the valve and press on the plunger inside.
Following that, use a tire lever to hook the round edge of it under the outer edge of the tire. You’ll pop up the edge of the tire which will release it from the frame. Push the other end of the lever towards the spokes. Hook that end of the lever to one of the spokes to keep it from moving.
Now, take another lever and work it clockwise around the circumference of the tire. This will pop the tire off the edge of the wheel completely, and you’ll be able to either take it off or pull out the tube.
You can now easily pull the tube out. Just insert your fingers inside and grab the tube and slide it out the same way you slid out the tire. You’ll reach the air valve at some point, and you’ll need to push it through the hole on the wheel frame.
You can now move on to the next step.
Step 3 – Insert the New Tube
When working with a new tube, you need to unwrap the tube and remove the dust cap, lock ring, and valve cover. Unfold it carefully, as you don’t want to damage it. You should also inflate it very slightly, just for it to hold shape. This will make it easier for you to install the new tube.
Make sure to inspect the inside wall of the tire for any punctures, as you don’t want to put the tube in only for it to rupture. Look for a sharp object that may have punctured the tire, such as a nail or a sharp pebble. If you find anything stuck in the tire, make sure to take it out.
Now it’s time to place the tube inside the tire. Use your fingers to press the tube into the tire, it should follow the shape of the tire. There should be no twists in the tube.
It’s also possible that you can’t repair the tire or that the treads are worn. In that case, you’re going to need to buy a new tire and replace it. It’s possible that the tire is damaged beyond all repair and it’s only going to rupture any new tube you put in, so it’s crucial to make sure that your tire isn’t the thing that’s creating the problem.
It’s possible that the treads are worn down, the tire is drily rotted, or the tire is very old.
Step 4 – Put the Tire Back and Reinstall the Wheel
Now, all that’s left to do is put the tire back onto the wheel on one side by aligning the outer rim on one side with the wheel. You can then push it back into place with the wheel frame.
You can now fit the other side of the tire back onto the wheel frame. All that’s left to do now is to screw the lock ring down over the air valve and inflate your tire to the correct level of pressure. Slide the wheel back onto the frame of the bike and tighten everything that you’ve previously loosened.
That’s it! This fix is simple, and it pays much more than taking your bike to the shop!