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How to Fix a Flat Tire

What you need :

Make sure you have a patch kit or a replacement tube. Tubes come in several different sizes so make sure that you have the right one for your tire size ( printed on the side of the tire ) and valve type  (the large car-like style = schrader or the small screw/twist type = presta). You will need tire levers and a pump or CO2 cartridge to re-inflate your tire.

What to do :

1.  Remove the wheel from the bike.  If you have quick releases on your brakes , open them to allow the tire to clear the brake pads. Otherwise, let all the air out of the tire.

2.  With tire levers or your hands, pry the tire off one side of the rim (edge of the wheel).  If you have a presta valve tube, you will have to unscrew the bolt at the base of the stem.

3. After you unseat one side of the tire, pull the tube away from the tire, leaving the valve in place.

4. Try to pump the tube back up to locate the hole.  Sometimes putting the tube in a bucket of water and looking for the bubbles speeds up the process. Other times the hole is too small to locate, but at least you know it is a very small hole.

5.  Once you have located the hole, check the approximate area of the tire that the section of tube with the puncture came from.  With your fingers, carefully feel around inside the tire for anything that may still be protruding through the tire.

6.  Remove any foreign/sharp objects from the tire( glass, nail, or thorn usually).  If there is a cut or gash in the tire, try to patch or cover it so that the new or patched tube will not poke through. You can use duct tape, candy wrappers, or even a folded dollar bill in a pinch.

7.  If replacing the tube, remove the punctured one entirely from the rim.


If patching the tube:

   a. partially inflate the tube (if possible) to locate the hole

   b. circle the hole with some kind of marker (i.e. pen or chalk)

   c. using the sandpaper from the patch kit, rough up the area around the puncture.  This will give the patch a better surface to stick to.

   d. dab a small amount of glue around the area of the hole large enough to cover the size of the patch (a little larger area is fine)

   e. allow the glue to set up/dry for a few minutes.  It will go from a wet looking surface to a duller coloration. ( two to five minutes)

   f. peel the foil off the back of the patch and place it over the glued area, pressing down with your fingers for approximately one minuet. If you don’t feel like dancing, then press together for one minute.

   g. inflate the tube to make sure there are no other holes

8. With the tube slightly inflated, replace it back into the tire, starting with the valve

9. Re-seat the tire onto the rim, starting with the valve.  Make sure you are not pinching the tube underneath the edge of the tire. If you do the tire will bulge and blow off the rim. Sometimes, with narrow tires it is best to seat the tube onto the rim all the way around without the tire edge ( tire bead ), and then seat the tire onto the rim.( double check that the tube is not under the bead of the tire before inflating.
If it is schrader valve, after getting the tire onto the rim, gently push the valve back into the rim and make sure the tire is firmly on the rim and seated  and  inflate to recommended pressure ( written on the side of the tire ).
If the tube is presta valve, loosely thread the screw down to hold the tube in place, seat the tire all the way around the rim.  Gently push the valve back into the rim to seat the tire properly. Unscrew the brass portion of the valve two turns,  inflate to the recommended pressure and screw brass part of the valve to the closed position.  The screw can now be threaded down to the rim, it doesn’t need to be overly tight, finger tight will do.

 If you do not have quick release brakes let some air back out of your tire to help with
 step 10.

10.  Reinstall the wheel on the bike, if you have quick release brakes don’t forget to re-attach them and check their operation.

11.  Sit down and have a soda. Then have a safe and fun ride.


Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments

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