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How to Patch a Bike Tire

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


  • Step 1: Remove the flat tube from the tire Remove the flat inner tube from the tire.
  • Step 2: Attach tube to a pump Attach the inner tube to a bike pump.
  • Step 3: Pump up the tube Pump up the tire until it’s full of air.
  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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.
  • Step 6: Lightly sand the area around the leak With your sandpaper, lightly sand an area around the leak larger than your patch.
  • Step 7: Wipe the leak area clean Wipe clean with your hand or optional towel.
  • Step 8: Cover the sanded area with glue Cover the sanded area with glue.
  • Step 9: Let the glue dry Let glue dry for 5 minutes.
  • 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.
  • TIP: A good rule of thumb is to replace a tube after you’ve patched it three times.
  • Step 11: Remove the cellophane cover Remove any cellophane cover over the patch and you’re ready to go.
  • FACT: Bike patches are typically more durable than the tube itself.

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)

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