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1 Find the puncture
Starting at the valve, check all the way around the tyre’s tread to ?nd the cause of the puncture. Remove any glass or grit that you spot. Even if you ?nd one possible cause, continue checking the tyre until you get back to the valve.
2 Remove the tube
Let the air out of the inner tube and push the valve up into the tyre – unscrewing and retaining the valve ring, if fitted. On the side of the valve, slip a tyre lever under the tyre’s bead and a further tyre lever about 5cm away. Pull the nearer tyre lever towards you, lifting the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim.
Continue until one bead of the tyre is completely free of the rim. Pull the tube out. Remove the tyre completely from the rim – with most tyres this can be done by hand unless exceptionally tight.
3 Inflate the punctured tube
Inflate the tube and listen for air escaping. Passing the surface of the tube close to the face is a favourite trick to find the hole. If the hole still can't be found, re-in?ate the tube and pass it through a bowl of water until you spot escaping bubbles. Then dry the tube before proceeding to the next step.
Take care: Do not twist a push-fit pump on the valve. The pump should be pushed on straight and pulled off with a single straight pull. The stem nut can easily be broken off if the pump is twisted sideways.
4 Prepare the tube
Select the correct size of patch – use a bigger rather than a smaller patch if in doubt. Roughen the surface of the tube around the hole with emery paper. Ensure that any moulding marks are flattened completely. Apply one drop of tyre cement and spread it thinly with your fnger over a 2cm circle around the hole. Allow to dry. Apply a second thin layer similarly. Once again, allow to dry – the rubber cement will change from shiny to matt.
5 Patch the tube
In?ate the tube slightly – this will help to highlight the position of the hole. Firmly press the patch into place symmetrically over the hole, after removing the backing foil. If there’s a thin cellophane backing on the patch, it can be left on. Dust the repair with chalk, talcum powder or road dust to prevent it sticking to the tyre casing.
6 Check the casing
Before reftting the tube, double-check the tyre casing from inside for the cause of your puncture. Three corner jacks have a habit of breaking off in the tyre and then the tube will be punctured again as soon as weight is placed on it. Placing the tube over the tyre will help to you to discover the position of the puncture. Run your fnger tips carefully around the inside of the tyre to feel for the cause of the puncture and remove.
7 Refit the tyre
After repairing the tube and checking the tyre again for glass, thorns or any other sharp debris, re-fit one bead to the rim. Slightly inflate the tube and re-fit it to the rim, putting the valve through its hole first. Once the tube is fitted release the air and then starting at the opposite side of the rim to the valve, use your thumbs to lift the tyre’s bead (the part of the tyre that connects the rim to the wheel) over the rim. Work around the rim until there’s just one small section of tyre left. Push the valve up into the tyre and then, using your thumbs only, ease the remaining section of the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim.
8 Make final checks
Check that the tube isn't trapped between the rim and the tyre bead. Inflate to the point where the tyre feels soft but has maintained its shape. Check that the moulding mark around the tyre follows the rim evenly all the way around. If not, deflate a little and ease any high spots down and pull low spots up until the bead is ftted evenly.
Inflate to the recommended pressure and check once again that the tyre’s bead is still seated evenly and that the tyre isn't lifting off the rim at any point. Finally, check that the tread is running reasonably straight by spinning the wheel. If not, deflate the tyre and start again from the beginning of this step.
Puncture fixing tips
• When taking the tube out of the tyre, note which way the tube was around in the wheel and mark the tyre where the the valve was. This will help identify the position of the hole in the tube once the position of the object in the tyre causing the puncture has been found.
• With a ballpoint pen, mark the hole with a cross so you can pinpoint it accurately.
• If you don't have any emery paper, roughen the tube by rubbing it against a stone or the road surface.
• For tyres that blow off easily: fit a thicker rim tape or a second rim tape – this prevents the tyre bead sinking into the rim well and blowing off the opposite side.
• For tight tyres: fit a thinner rim tape if possible – this will make your tyres easier to fit and remove.
• Be very particular with your technique. The last section of the tyre to be fitted to the rim should be at the valve. Make sure that the tyre’s bead is pushed as far as possible into the well of the rim. Some very tight-fitting tyres may need tyre levers to fit them. Using proper tyre levers will help to prevent puncturing the innertube when re?tting the tyre.
Two small holes in a tube placed fairly close together indicate a pinch puncture. This is caused by the tube getting trapped between the tyre and the rim when riding over a sharp object. Tyres not inflated hard enough are a frequent cause of this. Check that the tyre’s sidewall isn't cut. If it is, you may need to use an emergency repair – see the ‘Emergency tyre repairs’ section below.
A hole on the inner side of the tube indicates that the puncture was caused by a spoke head. Check around the inside of the rim to ensure that the rim tape properly covers the spoke holes and no spoke end protrudes above the inner surface of the rim. If this happens it'll need ling down.
A less common cause of a puncture is a rough edge to the valve hole rim. The puncture will be at the base of the valve and will not be repairable.
Check your tyres for cuts in the tread, swelling in the sidewall, or serious wear. Tyres with cuts, swelling or casing visible through the tread must be replaced. Remove any grit or glass embedded in the tread. Check your tyre pressures with a proper gauge. Tyres inflated to the correct tyre pressure will have fewer punctures and a longer life. The recommended pressures are normally marked on the sidewall of the tyre.
Use your spare
Repairing a puncture is very diffcult in the rain as the patch will not stick to the tube. Instead, fit the spare tube that you always carry! The spare tube is also essential if a tyre blows off a rim, or if the tube is cut by the valve hole.