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My inner tube is not holding air, what do I do?
Last Updated: 08/03/2022
Here's some helpful information on how to service your tires for maximum performance.
To better understand how flat tires happen — and how you can prevent them —
it helps to know how a bike’s tire works, which is often misunderstood. All
FATWHEELS kits are outfitted with standard tube/tire combinations. The tube,
which is made of rubber and resides inside your tire, inflates (or deflates) via
pneumatic (air) pressure. The tire serves as protection for the tube, preventing
damage or puncture — most of the time.
Tire and tube both sit on your wheel’s rim, the tire’s sidewall nesting snuggly
against the rim. Air pressure (typically referred to as PSI or pound per square
inch) is the amount of air inside the tube. FATWHEELS tires should be inflated to
a maximum of 40 psi. A properly inflated tube helps the tire hold its shape. It’s
important to remember that, in this example, the tube holds air, not the tire.Types of Flat Tires and How to Prevent
Though you might think all flat tires are the same, there are actually some
notable differences. This list of culprits most frequently includes puncture by a
sharp object, failure of or damage to inflation valve, over inflation, pinch flat, tire
or tube wear, and severe road/trail hazards such as potholes or rocks.
Some causes are fairly self-explanatory. If you run over a piece of glass or a nail,
there’s a high likelihood of getting a flat tire. The same goes for smashing into a
giant pothole or plowing over a sharp rock. Your best bet for avoiding a flat in all
these cases is obstacle avoidance.
Proper tire inflation and occasional equipment inspection is arguably your best
bet for avoiding flat tires. Like your automobile, all tires have a recommended
inflation range, which is typically printed on the tire’s sidewall and included in
the set-up instructions. Heed this advice, and you’ll avoid blowouts from over
inflation and pinch flats from putting too little air in, which can allow the tube to
slip between the tire and rim, resulting in an aptly named snake bite where there
are two holes on corresponding sides of the tube.Your tire inspection list should include assuring proper inflation before every
ride, which is most often done using a pump with a gauge that tells you how
much air pressure is in your tire and whether you need to add or remove
air. Checking for excessive tire wear is also vitally important. Worn out tires are
more susceptible to puncture and should be replaced. Also, make sure there are
no embedded objects in your tires. A thorn that’s just barely stuck into your tire
now could soon penetrate far enough to relieve your tube of its air.
How to Fix a Flat Tire
When it comes time to fix a flat, start by taking the wheel off the bike.
Next, remove the damaged tube. To do this, first completely deflate the tube, then
remove one edge of the tire bead from the rim by pressing on the bead of the tire
or using a tire lever to pop the bead off the rim. Now pull out the tube and inspectfor damage, trying to assess what caused the puncture. Always try to establish
cause before installing a new tube so that the new tube doesn’t meet the same
fate. Also, make sure to examine the tire and inside of the rim, looking for (and
removing) any flat causing objects such as thorns or glass shards.
Once you’ve removed the tube, you can either replace it with a new one or repair
the damaged tube. When out riding, most people will simply install a spare. To
make this process a little easier, inflate the tube slightly to give it some shape,
then insert it into the tire. You may choose to repair the old tube using a patch kit
at home, which will include all necessary instructions.
Once you have a new (or repaired tube in place), install the tire bead back over
the rim using tire levers, being sure not to pinch the tube on the rim under the
tire. Next, inflate slowly at first to set the bead and ensure proper installation.
The sound of the tire bead popping into place is normal. Just make sure the tire is
even relative to the rim. Check this by rotating the wheel and assuring it spins
true with no bias. Lastly, reinstall the wheel.Finally, make sure that the wheel spins true. If everything looks good, you’re
ready to get back on your bike and on with that great ride with your Rider.