How to Deal with a Flat Bicycle Tire

Learn how to deal with a flat tire from Silk Road Cycles' Brendon Nicholas in this Howcast bicycle repair and maintenance video.


All right. So you get off your bike and you see that you have a flat tire. Basically the tire is not inflated with any air. You're wondering why. You have to basically take your tire off, take your wheel off, and you're going to check the tire and make sure that there aren't any punctures in the tire. So just go around the tire, checking to see if there's any glass or metal, especially in New York City you see tons of glass that may be protruding out of your tire.

Then if you don't see any glass, what you're gonna want to do is you're gonna want to take off your tire, exposing the tube inside. Now, once you have the tube out you're be able to see more of what the flat is all about. So this tube, we're gonna take a pump, pump up the tube, and try to find the puncture. So it looks like there's a small little hole in the tube, so usually what that is, is something that went through the tire. So you want to check around the tire on the inside. There may be something embedded in the actual tire like a piece of glass. Just be very careful not to cut your fingers. Another type of flat demonstrated in this tube here is a pinch flat and basically what that means is you didn't have your tire inflated to the proper pressure which is always labeled right on the side of the tire on the sidewall, so it will say something like between maybe 40 to 60 psi or 80 to 100 psi. You want to make sure that you have it up to the specific psi or else you will get something that's called a pinch flat which is right here you'll see.

It looks like a snake bite and what that means is that the tire actually pushes against the rim when you go over something like a pothole or a rock. Another type of flat is called a blowout and basically what will happen is if your tire's not seated correctly, basically meaning that if the tire is not on the rim properly, what could happen is if you have it to a certain psi and you go over a bump or even if you don't go over a bump, the tube comes out of the tire and off of the rim and explodes and it actually sounds like a shotgun. It can be pretty scary. And the last flat could have been something that basically is stuck in your tire, like there's a pretty substantial hole right here. It could have stuck in your tire and just come right out.

So you want to make sure that you check the tire and make sure, even if there isn't something there, there may be a big hole in the tire, so you need to replace your tire and your tube. All these different flats require different fixes so we'll talk about that next.

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