How to Fix a Punctured Bicycle Tire

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Punctured tires seem to be an inevitable part of bicycling. Experienced cyclists make a habit of carrying the necessary repair materials on their bike at all times. With a little preparation you'll never need to worry about being stranded. Want even more safety and peace of mind on the road? Practice this repair at home.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement Inner Tube
  • Tire Pump
  • Set Of Three Tire Tools (tire Irons)
  • Tire patch kit (rubber patches, glue, sandpaper)
  • Remove the wheel from the bicycle and the tire and inner tube from the rim, following the steps in How to Change a Bicycle Tire, "Removing the old tire."

  • Inspect the inner tube for holes by inflating it with a bicycle-tire pump until you can hear air escaping. Many holes are not visible until the tube is highly pressurized.

  • Locate the hole. Hold the tube close to your cheek and feel for escaping air if necessary (see A). Lightly rough up the area around the hole with sandpaper.

  • Apply glue both to the tube and a rubber patch. Wait for the glue to become tacky before applying the patch.

  • Firmly press the patch onto the hole (see B) and allow it to dry for several minutes.

  • Check the tire to fine the source of the puncture by running your fingers around the inside of the tire. Be careful, sharp objects may be imbedded in the tire. Visually inspect the outside of the tire for rips, tears or sharp objects. Be sure to remove the offending object so you don't get another flat!

  • Reinstall the tire, inner tube and wheel according to the steps in How to Change a Bicycle Tire, "Installing the new tire."

  • Replace the patched tube with a new inner tube as soon as possible.

  • If you plan on riding a lot, carry a pump and a patch kit, and even replacement inner tubes, on your bicycle at all times.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are two types of valves used on bicycle inner tubes: Schrader valves and Presta valves. Schrader valves are identical to the type used on car tires and can be inflated at most gas stations. Presta valves are smaller and lighter and require a special pump.

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