Did you wake up to a flat bicycle tire this morning? If so, don’t despair. Based on my experience, repairing a bicycle’s tire problems tends to be a fairly straightforward affair. Of course before you can repair your bike’s tire, you’ll need to identify what the problem is. Here’s how to do just that:
Conduct a Valve Test
Before you go to the expense and trouble of replacing your bicycle’s tire, I would recommend that you conduct a simple test on the bicycle tire’s valve. Over the years, doing so has saved me time, money and aggravation. To test the valve, fill a small Dixie cup with water. Then turn your bicycle’s flat tire until the tire’s valve is directly under the bike’s rim. Next, remove the valve cap and set it in a secure place. Trust me; those things have a way of getting lost in a hurry. Once that’s done, stick the tire valve down into the Dixie cup and look for air bubbles. If air bubbles are present, it’s highly likely that your bike’s tire has a faulty valve core instead of a puncture. In that case, you’ll need to repair the valve core and refill the bicycle’s tire with air.
Examine the Bicycle Tire’s Exterior
Should the Dixie cup trick prove that your bicycle’s tire valve is in good working order, you may be dealing with a tire puncture. In that case, you’ll want to grab a grease pencil or a piece of chalk, a set of pliers and a set of screwdrivers. Start by examining the tire’s rubber surface for embedded, foreign objects that may have caused the slow leak. If you manage to locate the culprit, remove it and mark its location onto the tire with the grease pencil. In my experience, the grease pencil mark will help you locate the damaged area later on during the repair process. Once that’s done, remove any remaining air from the tire before attempting to remove it from the bicycle.
Examine the Bicycle Tire’s Inner Tube
Continue by removing the bicycle’s inner tube and inflating it. Either run your hand around the inner tube or insert it into water to locate the damaged area. Once you find the damaged area, mark its location with your trusty grease pencil as well. Then deflate the inner tube and grab a bicycle tire patch kit from your garage. If you don’t have a bicycle tire patch kit, you can generally purchase one at sports stores, bike shops and large department stores. I have found that most of the kits come with their own specific set of instructions. In general, you’ll need sand around the puncture, clean it and apply the patch. When you’re done, reassemble your bike’s tire and refill it with air.
Source: Personal Experience
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