How to patch bike tire tube

Bike Maintenance 101: How to Patch an Inner Tube

in: Featured, How To, Skills

Brett & Kate McKay • May 26, 2022 • Last updated: December 15, 2022

The bicycle is one of the greatest tools of self-reliance. 

Without any need for electricity or gas, it can carry you far distances. 

But bikes only work towards your self-sufficiency if you know how to maintain them. They may have fewer complications than an automobile, but they’re still machines that can break down and need to be repaired.  

Several years ago Kate and I bought some bikes for ourselves (our kids already had them) so we could take family rides on Tulsa’s many pleasant bike paths. But I realized that I didn’t know beans about how to maintain our new purchases. If one of us got a flat tire, I wouldn’t know how to patch it. If my brakes were acting wonky, I’d be hosed. 

So I set out to learn some basic bike maintenance and repair. It’s been fun. I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with you all in a new series: Bike Maintenance 101.  

In today’s inaugural class, we’re kicking things off with how to patch a hole in your inner tube. I remember watching my dad patch a hole on one of my bike tires as a kid. It looked like a huge pain in the butt. But I learned that it’s surprisingly easy. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Remove Wheel

Let’s get that wheel off so we can get to our flat inner tube.

I like to flip my bike upside down. It makes it easier to work with your wheel. I don’t have one of those fancy bike holders you use to work on your bike.

Getting wheels off a bike is a breeze with today’s quick-release systems. It’s pretty much the same for all bikes. The only difference you’ll encounter is how you’ll disconnect your brakes. That will depend on what type of brakes you have on your bike. Here’s how I removed the wheel on my bike with v-brakes. 

It’s really easy to disconnect a v-brake. You squeeze the two brake arms together and unlatch the cradle from the noodle (that’s the thing with the rubber tip on it).

Flip the quick-release lever open and unscrew it until you have enough space to remove the wheel. 

You don’t have to take the quick-release rod out of the hub, but if you want to, that’s fine. I think it’s easier to work with the tire without the quick-release rod still in the hub, so I take it out.

Wheel removed!

Step 2: Remove Tire From Wheel With Tire Levers

Time to get the tire off the wheel so we can get to the inner tube. Tire levers will make this job much easier. You can buy them on Amazon. They’re cheap.

Place your first tire lever between the wheel and the tire. You want to get the lever underneath the lip of the tire so you can pry it away from the wheel.

To keep the lip of the tire from going back into the wheel, hook the tire lever into one of the spokes. This will keep your tire and wheel separated, making it much easier to get the rest of the tire off of your wheel.

Place the second tire lever next to your first tire lever. Get it under the lip of the tire. You’ll slide this lever around your wheel to separate the rest of the tire from the wheel.

Here’s what your tire will start looking like as you slide that second tire lever around your wheel. It’s hard at first, but gets easier as you progress. As you can see, more and more of the tire lip is over the rim of the wheel.

Tire successfully removed from wheel. Now it’s time to remove the inner tube from the tire.

Step 3: Remove Inner Tube From Tire

Inner tube will be tucked inside your tire. Just pull it out.

Step 4: Find Hole

There’s the hole.

Step 5: Prepare Hole for Patching

Get your patch kit.

Inside my patch kit is a metal square that has a bunch of little bumps on it. It’s almost like a cheese grater. Use it to lightly scuff up the area on and around the hole. If you don’t have a little metal cheese grater in your patch kit, you can use sandpaper to prep your patch area. The scuffing will give greater adhesion to the patch.

Step 6: Apply Rubber Cement

Use a moderate amount of rubber cement. Spread it evenly around an area 1/2″ around your hole.

Step 7: Apply Patch

Pick an appropriate sized patch for your hole. Since mine is so small, I used the smallest patch. Remove the foil backing and stick patch onto the hole.

Peel away the plastic film on top of the patch. Press edges down firmly. Bam! Hole is patched.

Step 8: Put Inner Tube Back in Tire and Tire Back on Wheel

Inner tube back in tire.

Tire back on wheel. Getting the tire back on the wheel can be a bit tricky. You may need to use your tire levers to help you get the lip of the tire inside the wheel’s rim. Just make sure you don’t pinch your inner tube between the tire and the wheel. You’ll risk creating a puncture in your inner tube. Once you get your tire back on the wheel, inflate your inner tube and then put your wheel back on your bike.

You can patch your inner tube a few times and not have a problem. If you have more than three patches, you might start noticing that your tire goes flat overnight and you have to pump it up if you want to use it. After your third patch, chuck your old inner tube and replace it with a new one.


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How to Patch A Bicycle Tube in 4 Easy Steps – Slime Products

Anyone who has been riding bikes for a while can tell you that sooner or later, you’re going to get a flat. Even with tube sealant that prevents flat tires for up to two years, it’s just an unavoidable occurrence. When flats occur, the best thing you can do is be educated and prepared to patch the tube so that you can quickly get back on the road. Let's get started:

Materials Needed

Consider these different flat tire scenarios: The at-home repair scenario where you're walking your bike into the garage and notice that the back wheel is sagging a little bit—you have a flat. Or, the on-the-trail repair scenario where 20 miles into a 50 mile ride, you go down hard on a rock and get a nasty pinch flat.

We’re going to walk you through some of the materials you’ll need for either situation, and then how to use them for both. Here’s a list of some things you will need to repair your tube.

  1. Bike Pump (or CO2 inflator head and cartridge): Whether it’s a handheld bike pump or a standing pump, you’re going to need to re-inflate the new tire or your patched tire.
  2. Spare Tube or Patch Kit: Having a spare tube on hand is a smart move, and we’ll discuss how to install that in another blog. In this case, a patch kit is going to be an essential tool to have whether you’re at home or on the road.
  3. Tire Levers: A tire lever is going to be a critical tool to help you get your tire off the rim.
  4. Chalk (optional): Chalk can help when you have a small puncture and just need to mark your tire to remember where the hole is.
  5. Talcum Powder (at home): Talcum powder would be more of an at home method, and is usually powdered over the tube so that the adhesive patch doesn’t stick to the tire once you put your wheel back together.
  6. Bucket of Water (at home): The bucket is another at home remedy that we’ll discuss the applications of later.


Follow these 4 easy steps to patch your bicycle tube and repair your flat.

Step 1. Remove Your Tire

Take your tire lever and hook it around the outer edge of the tire (the bead) to get it off of the rim. Once you have the tire lever under the tire rubber, hook the other end of your tire lever around one of your spokes to keep the tire elevated. With a second tire lever, work your way around the rim, taking the tire out of the bead until one side has been completely removed from the rim.

Step 2. Find the Leak

If the puncture or gash in your tube is not easily apparent, you’re going to need to fill the tube back up to locate where the air is escaping from. There are a couple of different ways to find the leak. The layman’s way would just be to run your hand along the tube and try to feel it out.

The bucket of water method that we mentioned earlier, however, is a more accurate way. If you’re at home, fill your sink or a large bucket full of water and submerge each end of the tube. Watch for air bubbles escaping from your tire to locate your problem area.

Make sure you submerge each side, as there may be more than one puncture. Be sure to check the inside of the tire to make sure that the puncture-causing object has been removed. Once located, mark that spot with your tire marking chalk.

Step 3. Patch the Hole

When patching the hole in your bicycle tube, make sure that the area around the puncture is clean so that the patch will stick. Using the scuffer from your patch kit (sand paper or emery paper will also do the trick), rough up the area around the puncture so that your adhesives have something to grip.

If your patches don’t require glue, simply press them firmly over the hole. For patches that do need glue, add a layer of glue and spread it evenly around the area. Wait for the glue to get a little tacky, and then press on your patch. If you have the materials available to you at home, some cyclists will sprinkle talcum powder on top of the patch so that that patch/adhesive doesn’t stick to the inside of the tire.

Step 4. Put It All Back Together

Put a little air into your tube and then put it back in the tire, making sure, again, that there are no foreign objects remaining in the tire. Be sure to insert the tube and tire back into the rim using only your hands, as the tire levers may pinch the tube and cause another flat (we certainly don’t want that after all your hard work).

Once you’ve pushed the tire back in and the valve stem is securely inside the tire, inflate your tube back to maximum pressure, being sure to check the tire one more time to make sure that the bead is installed snugly. Ready to ride!

How to seal a bicycle inner tube at home -

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If you do not know how to seal a bicycle inner tube, then everything is quite simple - you only need glue and a patch. But wrenches, hexagons, disassembly, a container of water and a vise will also come in handy. The set is enough, so you can carry out repairs in any conditions.

Scheme of carrying out

Do-it-yourself repair of the bicycle chamber is carried out according to the following algorithm:

  • wheel removal. Before gluing the camera on a bicycle, you need to disconnect the brakes, unscrew the bolts on the sleeve. Then the wheel is carefully removed;
  • Remove a damaged camera. The wheel is disassembled with a flat object. Before sealing the bicycle inner tube, it must be completely lowered and removed;
  • further you need to find a hole. To do this, use a container of water. With the help of bubbles, it is determined exactly where the damage is located. Another option is to find a puncture in the bicycle chamber by ear - listen to where the air comes out;
  • sealing the hole. This requires a repair kit. Before sticking the camera on the bike, the surface is protected. You can use special tools, in extreme cases, a napkin will do. Then the film is removed from the patch, the adhesive is applied. It is pressed to the puncture site and held for several minutes;
  • reassembly. First you need to check the insulation tape inside the rim. Then the chamber is laid, the tire is refueled. Next comes the camera itself. This repair has been completed.

Sealing a bicycle wheel tube is easy - just remove it, patch the puncture site with a patch and put it back in place.

Other options

How to seal the bicycle chamber with a repair kit is understandable, but what if it is not there, but the repair is necessary? For example, a patch can be made from any rubber. Any glue is suitable, but the main thing is not to choose industrial.

There are also critical moments. In some cases, it is necessary to close the hole without glue and without removing the wheel. The patch is applied so that when inflated, it is pressed with strong pressure. But in this case, you need a pump.

If you don't have a rubber patch, a dampened plastic bag or duct tape will do, but only if you don't know how to seal the inner tube of your bike to get home, because the wheel won't withstand heavy loads.

Another option is vulcanization. This requires special tools, but the result is reliable. The point is that the patch and the camera are pressed against each other. Thanks to heating, both elements form a single whole. Before you seal the camera at home, think about vulcanization.

Ways to prevent a puncture

Even if you know how to properly seal a bicycle inner tube, it's worth learning how to avoid a puncture.

One of the most interesting options is cameras that can be sealed by themselves. Resin or a special gel is poured inside. When a breakdown occurs, the substance flows into the puncture point and seals it. In this case, it will be possible not to think about repairs for some time, but it will still have to be done sooner or later.

It is worth following a few simple recommendations to prevent a puncture:

  • the tire must be properly inflated. If it is pumped or under-pumped, then the risk of a rupture increases significantly;
  • it is worth paying attention to the roads. Most often, holes appear due to iron screws, glass or nails. They are easy to avoid if you keep an eye on the surface you are riding on;
  • must carefully avoid obstacles. Even if the wheels are cushioned, this does not mean that damage will not occur. There may not be a breakdown the first time, but it will not always be so;
  • use a special tape - this is an additional rubber layer that is placed under the tire inside the wheel.

These simple tips will help you avoid punctures and save time on repairs, although they will not take much time. But, nevertheless, it is better to prevent trouble than to deal with its consequences.

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How to properly change and seal the bike tube

Sooner or later, every cyclist has such an unpleasant situation as a bicycle tube puncture. Finding a flat tire at home is one thing (although it also requires some knowledge of camera repair), but what if you blew it during a multi-kilometer ride, for example, somewhere in a field? How to determine the puncture site in such a situation, correctly change and seal the bicycle chamber, what kind of glue and patches are best suited for this purpose. In addition, in this article we will consider some of the nuances of repair and proper operation of bicycle chambers, for example, we will talk about what pressure they should have and much more.

Contents of the article

  • 1 Replacing the bicycle inner tube
  • 2 How to determine the location of the puncture
  • 3 How to seal the inner tube
  • 4 How to stick the patch correctly
  • 5 What to do if the inner tube is leaking 90 010
  • 012
  • 7 Related video
  • 8 Conclusion

Replacing the bicycle inner tube

During long trips, it is advisable to carry with you not only a bicycle tool, but also a spare tube, with which you can quickly replace the failed one and go further. After all, this is much faster than waiting for the glue to dry on a freshly sealed one. Therefore, in this section we will consider such a question as how to remove a bicycle tire and replace the camera when it is punctured.

  1. Remove the wheel from the bike. To do this, loosen the eccentric (or unscrew the fixing nut on the axis).
  2. We wipe the side surfaces of the tire and rim from dirt with a rag.
  3. Lay the wheel on its side and make a mark with chalk (or other materials at hand) on the tire opposite the camera nipple. If there is nothing at hand, then remember this position, relying on the side inscriptions. After that, the wheel should remain only on this side. This is necessary so that after we take out the camera and find a puncture on it, we can, by attaching it to the tire, find the place where the foreign object pierced the latter. In most cases, the plant's nail or needle remains in the bike tire, and if left unremoved, it will pierce the new tube as soon as it is replaced.
  4. We unscrew the cap of the chamber nipple, and, pressing on the nipple, let the air out until the edges of the tire “leave behind” the rim sides. The camera can not be completely lowered.
  5. Then, using a special beading blade (mounting tool), pry off the edge of the tire, and, resting the blade against the rim wall, pull its bead out.

    Be careful not to get a tube between the mount and the rim. This may lead to its rupture. If you do not have a magazine spatula, then you can use any non-sharp, preferably plastic object of a similar shape. It is not necessary to use wooden products for these purposes (they may be with burrs) or metal products that damage the paintwork of the bicycle rim. Sharp objects (screwdrivers, knives, etc.) are strictly not recommended for use. They can damage both the tube and the tire.

  6. After you have pulled out a part of the bead, hold it with the other hand, and draw it along the contour of the rim with a spatula. At this stage, we have removed one side of the tire.
  7. We pull out the chamber, for which we push the nipple inside the rim, and slowly take it out.

    It is important not to turn it over to the other side until we find the puncture site and find it on the tire (by attaching a tube to it).

  8. After that, we remove the bicycle tire completely (you can not do this right away, but try to find the puncture site by touch, but with the tire removed, of course, it is easier). We move its side, which remains between the walls of the rim, to the edge and, holding the latter, pull it towards us. After we remove it, we leave the tire in the same position as it stood on the rim (to search for a foreign object stuck in it).
  9. Check the inside of the rim and tire for debris and foreign objects that should be removed before installing a new inner tube.
  10. We inflate the bicycle chamber and find the puncture site, remembering its position or marking it, for example, with chalk. After that, we lower it completely through the nipple.
  11. We apply the camera to the tire, placing its nipple against the mark, and make a second mark at the site of the hole found.
  12. We run our hand along the inside of the tire at the puncture site and find a sharp object that is easy to remove with tweezers or pliers.
  13. After that we put one side of the tire on the rim. Please note that during installation, the correct direction of the protector must be observed. This can be done by looking at the side of the tire. On one or both sides there will be arrows indicating the correct direction of rotation (the inscription Drive, Direction or just an arrow may be present). Next, we insert a new chamber inside, pulling the nipple through the corresponding hole on the rim (for ease of installation, the bicycle chamber can be pumped up a little), and put on the second side. We inflate the wheel with a pump and screw on the cap.

The punctured chamber should then be repaired, for example after you have returned home from a bike ride or during a break.

How to spot a puncture

At first glance, a very simple procedure for locating a puncture can become much more complicated depending on where you find a flat tire (at home or during a trip). To simplify the search procedure, it should be taken into account that in 90% of cases it is located on the so-called "contact spot" of the wheel with the road, usually no higher than 2/3 of the chamber height. An exception may be damage from the rim (if the rim tape failed on the latter) or the iron threads of the tire cord that came out. Therefore, we will consider several options for how to find a hole in the bicycle chamber through which air is bled.

  • The easiest way is to lower the camera into the water. It is enough to have an insignificant tank, the depth of which allows you to immerse it at least 2/3 of the height. We rotate the camera until we find air bubbles that will escape from the water. After we take it out, find the puncture site and proceed to repair.
  • If there is no water nearby, then fine dust will come to the rescue (which can be found on dirt roads). We increase the pressure in the chamber to enhance the air jet from the hole and bring it a short distance to the dust (without touching it). We rotate the camera, and we look at the place where the dust will begin to scatter.
  • If there is calm weather outside, then a puncture can be detected by bringing the camera to a wet wrist (its inner side). The skin should be wet to make the search as easy as possible. For this method it is also desirable to increase the pressure.
  • In case of a severe puncture in a quiet place, it can be detected by ear.

What can be used to seal the tube

Not all adhesives or patches are suitable for repairing a punctured bicycle wheel. Therefore, it is worth dwelling in more detail on the topic of what is possible and what should not be sealed with a bike camera. There are several options, which we will discuss below.

  1. Specialized repair kits. A lot of bicycle parts manufacturers produce so-called bicycle camera repair kits, which usually consist of a case, a crayon to mark the puncture site, a sander (usually a metal perforated plate or a piece of sandpaper), several patches of various shapes and sizes, and glue. The composition of the adhesive is specifically designed to be used with the surface of specific patches (with which it enters into a chemical reaction), so using it together with patches from another manufacturer may not work. Fortunately, in most of these repair kits, the amount of glue is clearly calculated for the number of patches.
  2. Chinese bicycle camera repair kits. Some riders underestimate the power of the Chinese industry and look down on their belts. I can’t talk about everything (I’m sure some of them are really terrible), but for the last 4 years I’ve been using exclusively Chinese Red Sun patches (although this may not be a company, but the name of a repair kit). They are quite common. For several years of use, none of the patches flew off and began to let air through. And the cost of this product is lower than that of famous brands. The disadvantages include that the set contains only glue and patches, and what is most offensive, there are disproportionately more patches than glue. Well, these are already trifles. In general, I advise everyone.
  3. The third option is the most unreliable and therefore it should be used only as a last resort. Here we have highlighted homemade patches that can be made from an old bicycle inner tube. As an adhesive, you can use almost any plastic adhesive for rubber. But in this case, the reliability of the patch turns out to be very low. It says so, "at your own peril and risk." When using homemade patches, you can not use glue, which, when solidified, can burst at the bends.
  4. Vulcanization. Sounds good, is very reliable (better than any glue and patches, given that you vulcanize in a specialized workshop), but in reality it is not worth the money and troubles. It is quite difficult to do at home (and impossible in the field) and you can easily screw up the camera.

How to glue the patch correctly

After we have found and marked the place of the bicycle inner tube puncture, it is necessary to start its repair, namely, to seal this hole. To do this, you must perform the following operations.

  1. If the camera is wet (after looking for a defect), then you should wait for it to dry completely. Plus, it must be completely deflated.
  2. Using sandpaper or a special perforated iron plate (which is usually present in bicycle tube repair kits), we clean the puncture site until a matte color appears. The sanding area should be 1 centimeter larger than the size of the bike patch in diameter. After this procedure, we try not to touch this place with our hands or other objects.
  3. Remove the protective film from the surface of the patch, which we will stick to the camera.
  4. Apply glue. It can be applied to the patch only, to the camera only, or to both. This information can be found on the adhesive tube. We also pay attention to the exposure time in air and the time of complete solidification indicated there (the last two points may not be indicated).
  5. We firmly press the patch to the place we need, squeeze the air out from under it (to do this, press on its center and gradually move towards the edges) and keep it in this state for several minutes. The procedure is simplified if you put the camera on a flat surface, place a strong plate on top (for example, a piece of laminate) and press it down with all your weight by stepping on it. We compress the place of gluing for about 5 minutes.
  6. Many people say that after that you can immediately put the camera in the bike wheel and ride, but I would advise you to wait at least another 30 minutes.

What to do if the tube deflates

If, after you have sealed a puncture on the bike tube, it still deflates over time, you should check:

  • Whether the air is leaking from under the patch. To do this, the place with the patch should be lowered into the water and make sure there are no air bubbles. If they are, then you will have to tear off the old and glue a new patch.
  • Check for other smaller punctures by lowering the camera into water. If they are found, seal them.
  • Check for air leaks at the nipple. To do this, spit on it (or, if you do everything right, apply a soapy solution) and watch for several tens of seconds. If it skips, then bubbles will form on it. If a leak is found, tighten the nipple with a special wrench.
  • Metalized cord has come out. It happens that over time on cheap bicycle tires the cord breaks down, which is a thin wire (more expensive tires use nylon threads and other materials) that can crawl out from the inside of the tire and constantly pierce the tube. If such a problem is found, the tire should be replaced as soon as possible. A temporary solution is to pull out the protruding cord wire and seal this place with a patch for the camera. But I repeat that in this case, a tire replacement is required, because. this will be repeated regularly.

If the tube is damaged at the base of the nipple (for example, it is rubbed by the rim), it is best to replace it immediately. As a rule, such defects cannot be repaired.

Tips for avoiding punctures

To reduce the chance of unexpected tire and tube damage while riding, follow a few simple rules.

  • Maintain the correct tire pressure. There is no specific figure here, because for certain tubes / tires, the nominal working pressure may be different. For example, on mountain bikes, the pressure in the chamber should be about 2.5-5 bar, and on road bikes - 6-9bar. On the tire of the bicycle there are corresponding inscriptions of the minimum and maximum pressure. It looks like this. If the pressure is too low, this greatly increases the risk of puncture. It is worth remembering that when driving in winter or in the autumn-spring period, the temperature outside is lower than in the apartment. Therefore, on cold days, the chamber should be inflated a little more (because as the temperature of the air in the closed volume decreases, its pressure decreases). Therefore, if you pump up to 3 bar in summer, then in winter you can increase the pressure by about 1 bar (but not higher than the maximum allowable).
  • Change tires when worn. When developing its resource (erasing the tread), the likelihood of a puncture also increases. And if you have a worn tire, and you began to notice that the wheel began to break through more and more often, you should think about replacing the tire.

There are two more devices on the bike parts market that are designed to make life easier (at least they position themselves that way) when riding a bike. This is an anti-puncture tape and sealant, which is poured in a small amount into the chamber and is designed to “tighten” punctures while driving.

Anti-puncture tape is a strip of soft, rubberized plastic or, in more expensive products, Kevlar, that can be glued or simply inserted between the tire and the bicycle tube to protect against punctures. But there are pitfalls here. Cheap anti-puncture, firstly, does not always protect against punctures, and secondly, it can fall apart inside the tire and rub the chamber into dust with its fragments, thereby dooming the latter to ejection. Plus, it's extra weight. In general, after sitting on the forums, I agreed that they are more blamed than praised.

As far as the sealant is concerned, things are not so good either. As a temporary solution, when you don’t want to bother with replacing the camera, you can, of course, use it. But the sealant does not seal the puncture completely, but only reduces air leakage. Plus, there were complaints after use, when they wanted to stick a patch on the puncture site.

In general, according to the editors, it is better to use better quality bicycle tires with built-in puncture protection, carry a spare tube with you and not bother with the above accessories.

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