How To Replace Bike Inner Tube & How Often? (Fully Explained!)

Being a newbie rider has its joys, but it also has its issues. Because you’re inexperienced, you may not know a lot about repairs and have the necessary experience to replace the bike’s inner tube.

You may notice your tire losing air pressure while riding your bike. But, unfortunately, you don’t know what to do.

Should you bring your mountain bike to a local shop and pay for costly repairs? On the other hand, can you get your bicycle home and attempt to fix the problem yourself?

This dilemma is common among new cyclists. Many bikers want to understand their bicycle and troubleshoot issues by themselves.

Fortunately, this article will share information about replacing or repairing the inner tube. So kindly read on to learn the steps.

Tools You Need to Replace Your Bike’s Inner Tube

  • Wrench
  • Bike tyre lever or screwdriver
  • Air pump
  • Replacement inner tube

Step 1 – Remove the Wheel from Your Bicycle

Turn your road bike upside down to rest on its handlebars and seat. If you replace the front tire, loosen its bolts on either side.

Remove the Wheel from Your Bicycle

If you’ll replace the rear wheel, remove the gear chain before you unscrew its bolts. Remove the chain as you rotate the pedals; then, take out the wheel.

Step 2 – Remove the Inner Tube

Take off the valve cap and then the fastener. Next, stick a screwdriver or tyre lever between the wheel and the tire.

Remove the bicycle tire edge from the wheel rim, but don’t take out the entire tire yet. Instead, ensure to remove only one tire side.

Remove the bicycle’s inner tube; then check for punctures.

Step 3 – Insert the New Inner Tube

If you buy an inner sure, ensure it’s the right type and size. You should check the old tube first.

Place the valve stem inside before inserting the new inner tube; then, slightly inflate it if you’ve inserted half of it.

Tuck the tire into the rim edge, but ensure you’ve entirely tucked everything inside. Then, use a prying tool or screwdriver to insert the last part.

Ensure you don’t push the tool too far inside because it may pop your new inner tube.

Step 4 – Inflate the Inner Tube

Use an air compressor or pump to inflate the tire. Put back the cap and fastener right after.

Step 5 – Troubleshooting

If you notice a flat bike tire, you should perform troubleshooting. For example, your new inner tube may be faulty, or something can be poking it.

How to Repair Your Bike’s Inner Tube

Tools You Need to Repair a Punctured Inner Tube

  • Excellent quality tire levers
  • Air pump or compressor

Remove the Inner Tube

  • Take out the wheel

The first step is removing the bike wheel and fully deflating the tire. If your bike has the Presta valve, you can loosen the top slightly, then press down to release the air.

Next, take out the valve collar. However, if you have a Schraeder valve, you can depress the pin on the valve center to release the air.

  • Unhook the tire

You should unhook the tire from one side to repair a puncture for a quick refit.

  • Check the tire

It would help to inspect the bike tire for tread splits or damage. Moreover, check for nails, thorns, or anything that can puncture a new inner tube.

In addition, you may hurt your finger if you run it around the tire’s interior without looking. Check also for sharp edges, dents, or cracks on the rim.

Repair the Inner Tube

Repair the Inner Tube
  • Check the inner tube.

Look for holes around the tube. You may inflate it slightly to feel or listen to the escaping air.

Moreover, you may submerge the inner tube in water to check for air. However, remember to thoroughly inspect it as there may be more holes around it.

  • Get ready for patching.

Clean the area around the holes and dry them well. You may use sandpaper or grater to roughen the hole area.

You may also use a brick or stone if the puncture kit doesn’t provide a roughening tool. Ensure you scrape off the glossy surface around the tube hole.

  • Use a thin layer of glue.

Apply a thin coat of vulcanizing solution or glue on the roughened area, then dry. Remove the patch’s protective backing to cover the puncture.

On the other hand, self-adhesive patches don’t need pre-application of glue.

  • Patch the inner tube’s hole

Firmly press the patch on the hole, ensuring the tube, patch, and glue fuse together to form a lasting bond. Wait for five minutes before peeling off the backing film.

You may add more vulcanizing solution or glue if you notice the patch edges lift.

  • Final inspection

Use the chalk that comes with the puncture kit to prevent the patch from sticking. You may also use baby powder.

Inflate the inner tube gently to check for holes. You can repeat the process if there are additional spots that need fixing.

  • Refit the tube.

Inflate the tube until it can hold its shape; insert the valve through the rim’s valve hole before tucking the inner tube in the tire.

Refit the tire and inflate it to your desired pressure.


Is it Possible to Change the Bike’s Inner Tube Without Removing the Wheel?

It’s impossible to change the inner tube without removing the wheel. However, you may only expose that part that you’ll patch up a puncture.

If you had recently replaced the inner tube, you shouldn’t replace it only because of a few punctures.

Remove only the tube that needs patching up, then return it.

How Will I Know the Size of my Bike’s Inner Tube?

Before you buy an inner tube, you should know its size. But, first, you must learn its width and diameter.

The wheel’s diameter is its height from one edge to another. Generally, the dimension can be 26-inch, 700c, 27.5-inch, or 29-inch.

On the other hand, the number after the X is the bike’s width. So, for instance, a 29×2.5 means that the wheel’s diameter is 29 inches with a 2.5-inch width.

However, hybrid, CX, and road bikes have tire dimensions in millimeters. Therefore, a 700cX18 means the tire has a 700mm diameter and a width of 18mm.

When Should I Buy a New Inner Tube for my Bike?

An inner tube can last up to five years without replacement. First, however, you should ensure that it’s of high quality.

However, if your bike tube already has many patches, you should immediately change it. On the other hand, you may continue using it beyond five years if it only has a few patches.

If you don’t expose your inner tube to UV light or petroleum fumes, it can last for 20 years.

It would be best to worry about the tire because it can quickly degrade when frequently exposed to high heat.

Moreover, it would help if you regularly inflated your mountain bike tires. You should also replace the air from time to time; therefore, deflate them, then re-inflate.

You may replace the inner tube if it already has at least five patches. Remember that worn-out or poor-quality tires can result in more punctures.

How Will I Know if I Need to Replace the Inner Tube or the Bike Tire?

It would be best to have the inner tube inflate the bike tire. However, you should only replace the tire if it’s not in excellent condition.

Bike Tire

However, worn-out tires and frequently punctured need tire replacement. You should get a high-quality tire if your inner tube gets punctured often.

You replace the inner tube if it has several patches. Moreover, you should buy a new one if you change your tire and the inner tube no longer fits.

Which Household Items Can I Use to Patch my Bike’s Inner Tube?

If your inner tube has a puncture and you don’t have the necessary tools to repair it, you can use even the everyday items found in your home.

Things You Need:

  • Air pump
  • Clear mailing tape
  • Two spoons
  • Deodorant

Use the two spoons as levers to remove the tire from the bike. Please take out the inner tube, then check it for puncture.

Use deodorant on the puncture, then tape around it. Remove the air from the inner tube, then return it to the tire.

Use the spoons to return the tire to the rim; then, put back the wheel before inflating.

Is There a Product to Repair the Inner Tube Punctures?

You may buy an inner tube sealant to repair up to 3mm punctures. For example, the adhesive can permanently seal the hole if a thorn pierces the tube.

Remember not to use too much sealant because it can deform the tire side once it transforms into a semi-solid state.

Another option you can have is to use a tubeless tire.

Can I Use Duct Tape to Repair My Bike’s Inner Tube?

You may only use duct tape as a temporary solution, especially if you don’t have a patch kit and you’re out riding.

However, ensure that the tube surface is clean before taping the hole. After covering the puncture hole, you may wrap duct tape around the puncture area.

How Long Can a Patch Last?

A decent patch can last for years because it fuses chemically with the tube to form an inseparable bond. First, however, ensure you’re using a vulcanizing patch kit.

Other patches may claim to cover the puncture hole faster, but they won’t fuse well with the inner tube because they use less durable materials.

Can I Use a Patch Over an Old Patch?

It’s not advisable to patch over an old patch because the durability of the new patch decreases.

You should only do it as a temporary fix if you don’t have a spare tube. First, remove the old patch and clean and scuff the hole before applying a new patch with a vulcanizing glue.

Remember to buy a new inner immediately when you get home.

Can I Take Out the Tire Without Using Any Tools?

You may remove the bike tire without using tools, but you should deflate the tube first for quick removal from the rim using your hands.

Then, inflate the new tube a little before placing the first half on the rim. Finally, push the rest of the inner tube in place.

Use a key to pry the tire borders.

How Can I Troubleshoot Tire Problems?

If your tire loses air pressure after installing the wheel, you should check if the new tube is defective.

Remove the inner tube and examine the surface. Ensure that the rim has no protrusions that may cause holes in the inner tube.

Avoid an accident by quickly moving to a safe zone if you experience a flat tire in a high-traffic location.

Thomas Kersten

Hi, I am a passionate biker, and I have been riding for more than ten years and share my biking tips and tricks with the world. I've tested more than 300 bikes.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.