Man fixing a bike puncture

Simple Guide to Fix A Flat Tire

Even the best-prepared cyclists can encounter a bike puncture without warning. Armed with this guide, you’ll be back on your ride in no time

How To Fix A Flat Tire

How To Fix A Flat Tire

Embark on this comprehensive guide to learning how to fix a flat tyre. We will expertly navigate you through identifying a bike puncture, selecting the correct tools for the job, and teaching you how to avoid common repair mistakes.

An Easy Guide to How To Fix A Flat Tire

  • Understanding Bike Puncture Basics
  • Identifying Necessary Tools for Bike Puncture Repairs
  • Detailed Instructions for Fixing a Bike Puncture
  • How to Effectively Use a CO2 Cartridge
  • Common Repair Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • Selecting the Best Patch for Your Specific Puncture
  • Ensuring Your Repair Will Last
  • Maintenance Advice to Lower the Risk of Future Punctures

Understanding the Basics of How To Fix A Flat Tire

A bike puncture is basically a hole in your tyre. This happens when your tyre hits a sharp object and the air inside escapes, leading to a flat tyre. This can make it hard, maybe even impossible, to ride your bike. 

The severity of a bike puncture depends on several factors. The object’s size, the speed of the bike when it got punctured, and the condition of your tyre all play a part. Remember, the more worn out your tyre, the easier it is to get punctured. 

While it’s easy to fix a puncture once you know the steps, understanding what causes them can help you avoid them. So, being informed about bike punctures can help you avoid any annoying and time-consuming repair jobs on your next bike ride.

Discovering the Tools You Need for DIY Repairs for a flat bike tire

How To Fix A Flat Tire
  1. Tyre Levers: These handy tools will help remove the tyre from the rim.
  2. Puncture Repair Kit: This includes all the essential elements you’ll need, such as patches, glue, and sandpaper to prepare the area around the puncture.
  3. CO2 Cartridge: This is perfect for quick tyre inflation after the repair, especially during road emergencies. Make sure it’s compatible with your tyre valves.
  4. Tire Plug: This is sometimes included in puncture repair kits and is used to block the hole, preventing further air loss.
  5. Hand Pump: If you run out of CO2 cartridges, a hand pump is a reliable backup for inflating your tyres.
  6. Sharp Object: You’ll need something sharp like a needle or tweezers to probe for the source of the puncture, mainly when small, not easily visible objects cause it.
  7. Bucket of Water: This is useful for checking your repair is success. Submerge the inflated tyre in the water. If you see bubbles, you’re still losing air and must recheck your repair.

The Step-by-Step Process on How To Fix A Flat Tire

  1. Remove the wheel: The first thing you need to do is remove the wheel from your bike. This job can be easy or slightly more complex, depending on whether the puncture is on your front or back wheel.
  2. Inspect the tyre: Now it’s time to find out why you’ve got a flat tyre. You need to inspect the outer surface of the tyre for any sharp objects like glass shards, nails, or thorns.
  3. Remove the tyre: After pinpointing the source of your puncture, carefully remove the tyre using your tyre removal tool, ensuring it does not cause any additional damage.
  4. Extract the inner tube: Next, gently pull out the inner tube. Check it for any apparent holes or cuts – this tube holds the air and gets punctured.
  5. Check the inner tube for leaks: Submerge the inner tube in a water basin and pump it mildly with air. Slowly rotate it and look for a stream of bubbles indicating a leak or hole.
  6. Patch the hole: After identifying the leak, dry the tube and patch up the leaking space using a patch from your repair kit. Make sure to apply the adhesive correctly. Please wait for it to dry properly before proceeding.
  7. Reinstall the inner tube and tyre: Once the patch is dry, gently reinstall the inner tube and then the tyre. Ensure that the inner tube fits nicely inside the tyre and that there are no bulges.
  8. Inflate the tyre: Using your bike pump, inflate it to its recommended pressure.
  9. Reattach the wheel: Once the tyre is fully inflated and secure, it’s time to attach the wheel back to the bike. Ensure that the wheel aligns appropriately with the brake pads and the system. Give the wheel a quick spin to make sure it is rolling smoothly.
  10. Test your repair: A final step would be to test out your repair. Go for a short ride to ensure everything is working as it should. If all feels right, you’ve successfully dealt with your bike puncture!

How to use the c02 bike pump

co2 bike pump
  1. Open the Valve for Preparation
    Ensure the bike valve is open before you begin. A common blunder is having riders fit in a fresh tube and trigger the CO2 in a rush with a still-closed valve. You can dodge this mistake by keeping your backup tubes with their valves open.
  2. Unblock the Valve
    After undoing the valve, prod the small brass threaded part back towards the valve’s stem. New valves can be pretty stubborn, and even though the force of the pressurised gas is usually sufficient to thrust the valve open, it’s good practice to clear it first.
  3. Ensure the Inflator is Closed
    Though the design of each CO2 inflator may vary slightly, the functional operation is generally similar. Most inflators incorporate a switch, dial or trigger to control the delivery moment. The one we use in this tutorial is from Lezyne and features a twist dial. Ensure the valve is fully closed at this phase.
  4. Insert the Cartridge into the Inflator
    The head unit of the inflator and the cartridge both come with threading. They screw into each other securely. Some models allow you to stash the cartridge inside a casing, ready for action. You release a safety catch and then stretch a trigger to release the gas when needed. You might keep this Lezyne head with the cartridge attached, but there’s a modest risk of inadvertently opening it.
  5. Firmly Position the Cartridge
    Proceed, turning the head unit towards the cartridge. The threaded port of the head unit hides a small tube with a pointed tip. This pointed end penetrates the top of the CO2 cartridge. You’ll feel a slight trembling in your hands as the gas flees the cartridge and surges into the head unit. The previously closed valve trigger should stop the gas from bursting out before it is needed.
  6. Elevate the Wheel
    Move the valve section of the wheel upward. Press the valve port of the head unit onto the valve stem to secure it in place. Remember to continue holding it.
  7. Release the Gas
    While gripping the inflator’s head unit to the valve stem, open the gas flow from the inflator’s cartridge into the inner tube using the inflator’s trigger, dial, or button. The inflation process is swift and loud, and the canister becomes incredibly cold. To avoid skin burns, wear gloves or be extremely careful while handling it.
  8. Detach the Inflator
    When the tyre inflates fully, you may hear a sharp pop. This indicates that the tyre is seated correctly on the rim. Close the valve on the gas cartridge. Unused gas can usually be stored in the cartridge. We recommend using all the gas to ensure the tyre is securely seated. Finally, remove the inflator from the inner tube valve, fine-tune the pressure to your liking, and remember to close the inner tube valve.

How to use a plug for  Tubeless Tyres

At tire repair kit
  1. First, identify the puncture on your tubeless tyre. It’s often visible as a small hole or tear. Sometimes, the object causing the puncture might still be stuck.
  2. If you discover any embedded object, remove it with care, using pliers if necessary. Be cautious not to increase the size of the puncture unnecessarily.
  3. Grab your tubeless tyre plug kit. Ensure it contains a reamer, plug tool and tyre plugs.
  4. Use the reamer to prepare the punctured area. Please insert it into the hole and move it around a bit. This removes debris and sticks any loose rubber, ensuring a snug fit for the plug.
  5. Next, insert a plug into the plug tool. It should be centred so that an equal plug length protrudes from either end of the tool.
  6. Now, push the plug tool (with the plug) into the puncture. Please do not force it in; leave about half the plug visible.
  7. To settle the plug in place, swiftly pull out the plug tool. This leaves the plug inside the puncture, effectively sealing it. Remember, a quick motion is crucial to ensure the plug stays in place.
  8. The final step involves trimming any excess plug material sticking out of the tyre for a neater appearance. However, this is not necessary for the plug to work.
  9. Once done, carefully inspect the tyre to ensure the plug is securely in place. Then, inflate the tyre to the correct pressure.
  10. The tyre is now ready to tackle miles once again. Though, bear in mind this is a temporary repair. Plan to replace the tyre conveniently to ensure your ride’s longevity and safety.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Repairing a Bike Puncture

mistakes to avoid
  1. Identify the exact location of the puncture. Simply applying a patch in the general vicinity isn’t enough. You can locate the precise leak point by partially inflating the inner tube and submerging it in water. The leak site will start bubbling, marking it precisely for you.
  2. Prepare the surface around the puncture before patch application. A patch adheres better on a slightly roughened surface. Ignoring this step may result in your patch peeling off prematurely.
  3. Use the right patch suited to your bike’s tyre material. Different tyre materials require distinct types of patches.
  4. Ensure to check inside the tyre for the object causing the puncture. Neglecting to remove it could lead to yet another puncture as soon as you resume cycling.
  5. Allow the patch adhesive sufficient time to dry before inflating the tyre. Rushing this process could compromise the integrity of your repair.

Choosing the Right Patch for Your Bike Puncture

Selecting a suitable patch for your bike puncture is a crucial repair aspect, akin to solving a puzzle—the longevity of your repair hinges on this choice. 

The two primary types of patches are self-adhesive and glue-on. The former is excellent for quick fixes and ease of use, although it may lack durability. It’s perfect for when you’re on the go. 

Glue-on patches, however, offer a more robust, long-term solution. They bind powerfully with your tube utilising tyre cement or rubber adhesive, essentially reconditioning your tyre. The downside? They require more time to apply and can be somewhat messy. 

Depending on the circumstances, choose whichever serves your immediate needs – a swift repair with a self-adhesive patch or a more enduring fix with a glue-on patch. 

Additionally, consider the size of the patch. Larger ones are recommended for substantial punctures, but an overly large one might create unevenness upon tyre inflation. Small to medium-sized patches usually suffice. Have various sizes handy in your repair kit. 

Finishing Touches: Making Sure Your Repair Holds

  1. Firstly, inflate your tyre to roughly 90% of its maximum capacity. Listen out for any hissing sounds to help identify further fixes.
  2. It’s now time to check the patch placement. Ensure its centre aligns perfectly over the puncture and is adhered evenly to withstand future wear and tear.
  3. Moving on, take the time to re-seat your bike’s tyre correctly. It requires precision, but preventing further punctures or potential wheel damage is essential.
  4. Lastly, inflate your tyre to full pressure and take your bike for a brisk test ride. If everything feels smooth and stable, then well done! If the ride is less than stellar, revisit your repair or consult a professional.

A guide for correct psi for bikes (1)

Summary

So, here’s what we’ve discovered together: Fixing a bike puncture isn’t as complex as you might have thought. We’ve looked at why punctures happen, the tools you’ll need, and provided guidance on how to fix the problem.

We’ve covered everything from inserting a plug into tubeless tyres to using a CO2 cartridge. We’ve also highlighted some pitfalls to avoid and the importance of picking the correct patch. And to finish, we’ve suggested some final touches to ensure your repair lasts. So, it’s time to grab your tools and get your bike ready for your next adventure!