How to Patch a Bike Tire

Patching a bike’s tire inner tube is much easier and faster than it sounds.


Up next in Bike Repair & Equipment (32 videos)

Every avid cyclist should know how to fix his bike; learn the basics in this video series.

You Will Need

  • An inner tube with a puncture
  • A bicycle patch kit, consisting of patches, glue, and a square of sandpaper
  • A bike tire pump
  • A big bowl filled with water (optional)
  • Towel (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Remove the flat tube from the tire

    Remove the flat inner tube from the tire.

  2. Step 2

    Attach tube to a pump

    Attach the inner tube to a bike pump.

  3. Step 3

    Pump up the tube

    Pump up the tire until it’s full of air.

  4. Step 4

    Listen for the escaping air

    Listen for the hiss of air escaping from the tube. Bring it close to your ear to help.

  5. Using a bowl of water, run the air-filled tube through the water. Look for a stream of bubbles emanating from the tube. That’s where your hole is.

  6. Step 5

    Let air out of tube

    Cover the hole with a finger, detach the pump, and let all the air out of the tube by pressing down on the valve stem.

  7. Step 6

    Lightly sand the area around the leak

    With your sandpaper, lightly sand an area around the leak larger than your patch.

  8. Step 7

    Wipe the leak area clean

    Wipe clean with your hand or optional towel.

  9. Step 8

    Cover the sanded area with glue

    Cover the sanded area with glue.

  10. Step 9

    Let the glue dry

    Let glue dry for 5 minutes.

  11. Step 10

    Put the patch over the leak

    Separate the patch from its backing and place directly onto the tube, pressing it firmly into the glue.

  12. A good rule of thumb is to replace a tube after you’ve patched it three times.

  13. Step 11

    Remove the cellophane cover

    Remove any cellophane cover over the patch and you’re ready to go.

  14. Bike patches are typically more durable than the tube itself.