A flat bike tire is a frustrating experience, and repairing it on the side of the road can be dangerous and time-consuming. Here’s how you can fix a flat bike tire without tools:
- Detach the tire from the bike
- Hold the tire tightly and break the beads from both sides
- Pull the tire and tube off
- Open the Presta valve and blow it into the tire
- Attach the tire back to the bike.
There’s only so much precaution you can take. And it cannot always be convenient to replace a tire or have a repair shop nearby. When biking, who knows what your destination is? So, the only choice left is to learn how to fix a flat tire on your own.
Sometimes, a flat can happen on a perfect set of wheels at the perfect riding time, which means you have to walk.
Without the proper tools, repairing a flat bike tire is tedious, time-consuming, and a bit of a hassle.
In this article, I’m about to break down the process of fixing a flat tire, so keep reading!
» Maybe this also could be of interest to you: How to Change a Road Bike Tire Easily?
How to Diagnose a Flat Tire?
A clear indication of a flat tire is when you’re on a paved road, and your steering wheel wobbles much more than it normally should. If the tire is making a squealing sound and the tread is cupping, and the rubber is torn, you have a tear.
Once this happens, your tire has gone flat.
Another indication is when your bike makes a loud thumping sound that coincides with the rotation of your wheels. Once this is apparent, you should immediately stop over and check the condition of your tires.
Prolonging your flat tire can cause your bike serious harm. That’s why it’s best to pay attention to the hints and act accordingly.
What Do You Need to Fix a Flat Tire Without Tools?
Even though this article is solely a no-tools way to fix your tire, it’s kind of impossible to use anything at all.
By no tools, I mean only the most crucial requirements. Of course, you can’t fix a tire with just pure will.
However, you’ll only need a small and handy tool kit to fix yours. It contains all the standard stuff you might need to fix a tire easily.
Aside from this, you don’t need much to fix a bike tire. You may need compressors and other complicated tools for repairing car tires, but since this is just a bike, it’s a lot easier.
Are Spare Flat Tires Reliable?
No, spare flat tires only get the job done for a little while; they’re not durable or reliable. When it comes to flat tires, even if you’re near your house, you cannot always rely on a spare to fix the issue.
When you purchase a bike, it most definitely doesn’t come with a spare tire. But, if you decide to buy a spare separately, then that’s another story.
Realistically, you can’t keep many spare tires.
Even if you do manage to live with a spare tire, it’ll only be so long until that punctures as well.
Eventually, you’ll be left with two punctured tires and an even bigger problem than before. This is one of the main reasons why knowing how to fix a tire is so essential.
» You can also read my post: How to Remove Crank From a Bicycle?
How to Fix a Flat Tire: Step By Step Guide
Finally, we’re onto the main guide, where I’ll give a step-by-step on how to fix your flat tire. Some of the terms here might seem new, and honestly, it’s nothing to be worried about.
Technicalities and everything combined, fixing a flat tire shouldn’t take you any longer than 20 minutes. And that’s just for beginners. If you’re well versed with flat tires, it should only take around 10 minutes to fix it.
And now, without further adieu, here’s the step-by-step on how to fix a flat tire:
#1 Remove the Tire
First and foremost, before fixing any flat, you have to detach the tire from the bike. This way, you isolate the broken part and make your life easier in the process.
To many, removing the bike tire may seem like no big hassle but let me tell you, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’re too aggressive and pull it on one side only, you may risk damaging your tire even more.
This is why you should focus on completely removing the tire from its frame. Do not loosely pull but use both hands and pull at once.
Do this at each side, and you’ll slowly see the tire coming out of its frame completely.
#2 Break the Bead
Next comes breaking the bead. To get the bead out, take the tire in your hands; crouch down on your knees, and place the wheel in front.
Tightly hold the tire and, using all your force, pinch the tire from both directions, breaking the bead from both sides.
Before that, remember that cinchers work only when the inflated tube’s pressure causes the bead to pop out from the tire inside the rim.
Therefore, it can be a bit tricky to get the bead to break initially. However, as you go on it eventually becomes easier.
#3 Pull It Off
Next, you have to pull the tire and tube off. To do this, just place both hands at the top of the tire and place your thumbs on the rim.
Now, pull the tire and tube together, pulling it towards your body, additionally adding pressure from your thumbs.
It only takes a while for it to come off; once it does, it’ll be completely off in an instant.
If you find the source, remove it gently and slip the tire back on the rim. Make sure you set the tire on the rim only to the side.
#4 Blow Air Into the Tube
Once you get the new tube, open the Presta valve (or any other valve it may have) and blow it into the tire. Not only will this leave your bike mates flabbergasted, but it’s also a quick way to get it over with.
This is where you can show off. If you’re alone, you can impress yourself, but if you’re with a group, then you can easily make plus points by blowing into the tube.
Trust me, blowing into the tube isn’t as hard as it sounds. It only takes a bit of air to inflate it as well.
#5 Flip the Steps
Use your thumbs to push the tube back into the rim. It won’t be as tough until you reach the last junction. But even that isn’t impossible.
And even if you can’t manage to pop it in completely, you can always just roll over the rim.
It’ll automatically pop back into the bead as it passes over the tight edge. Next, use your frame pump to fill the rest of the tire.
Since your tire is now officially puncture-free, all that’s left to do is to reverse the steps. This is the easiest step solely because you’re just repeating what you’ve already done.
» Read my blog post: How Much is a New Bike Tire — (Cost of Replacing Tires)
Can Gorilla Glue Fix a Flat Tire?
Yes, you can use gorilla glue to mend punctures. However, it isn’t the best option out there. Although it may be effective, the purpose of gorilla glue or any superglue, in general, isn’t to fix tires.
This is mainly because of the nature of super glue. After it dries out, it becomes brittle and stiff. This isn’t a good characteristic for something as flexible as a tire.
Eventually, the patch of gorilla glue you apply will come off due to movement, so it’s a short-term savior.
Therefore, due to its dry and inflexible state after drying, gorilla glue is deemed unfit for fixing punctures even if it does a job well done.
Necessary Precautions to Prevent Future Flat Tires
While all this talk of fixing your flat tires is helpful, wouldn’t it be better if you could avoid the possibility of a puncture entirely? I mean, repairing flats is a pain to deal with, and if you can take some precautionary measures to prevent that, then isn’t it great?
Luckily for you, you can take plenty of precautions both before and during your ride that can save you from a nasty puncture. Let’s dig into the precautions you can take to prevent future punctures:
#1 Use Talcum Powder
Starting on a peculiar note, using talcum powder and spreading it all over the inner tube of a new tire reduces chafing on the tube tire’s surface.
If you do this before installing the tire, it’ll ensure that the tire and tube don’t stick to each other, thus lessening any friction which could cause a hole.
» I have also written this post, about: How-To: (Change a Bike Inner Tube) — Easy Guide
#2 Maintain Your PSI
The next precaution is to check your PSI value routinely. Keeping your tire in the required pressure range will prevent it from causing pinch flats and punctures overall.
A pinch flat is when the tire compresses and pinches the tube against the rim.
This can only happen if your PSI value is lower than it should be. By keeping your value constant, you can easily prevent such flats.
#3 Get Sturdy Tires
This is pretty straightforward. Not all tires are created the same. If the one you have right now can get damaged easily, then it’s time to switch to sturdier ones.
#4 Go Tubeless
Lastly, using tubeless tires is a major precaution ensuring way fewer punctures than you’d normally get. Though it may be a bit expensive, it’s guaranteed to save you from the flat tire issue.
With tubeless tires, the possibility of a pinch flat is completely zero and, therefore, less likely to puncture.
Plus, you require less pressure in them as well, so it further prevents punctures from occurring. Going tubeless is an amalgamation of all the above points, so highly likely to be flat-free.
» Read more about this in my post: How to Adjust Bike Brakes Rubbing?
A flat tire can present itself in any situation, be it during a nice ride or an intense biking round. These things do not have a time and place; they just happen. That’s majorly why knowing how to fix a flat, with or without tools, is so essential.
In case you’re stranded, you cannot possibly survive without repairing your puncture. And if you’ve read the steps I wrote down, then you’ll know it isn’t that difficult either.
It may take you a bit longer than usual to fix it the first time around, but if you’re an avid biker, then you’ll be facing punctures way more often thus, getting used to the fixing process is a necessity.
So next time you’re stuck with a nasty puncture, just follow the steps you read in this article, and you’ll be out and about in no time!