How to Change a Flat Tire

Triathletes running their bike into transition
December 14, 2010

D3 Staff


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Flat tires happen and sooner or later, you'll get one. Here are a few easy tips to get your tire changed and get you back on the road.

  1. Get off the road, or off the trail, out of traffic. Find a safe place.
  2. Release the brake.
  3. If it is rear wheel, shift to smallest cog on back. (Makes it easier to put wheel back on.)
  4. Remove the wheel from the bike.
  5. Check tire for obvious foreign articles, nails, tacks, thorns, etc. Remove as necessary.
  6. Remove tire from rim. Can use tire levers to remove ½ of tire, or remove entire tire.
  7. Remove tube from tire.
  8. Carefully run fingers around inside of tire to find foreign objects. Remove any that are found.
  9. If hole in tire is larger than about 1mm, place a glue-less patch over the hole on the inside of the tire to help seal the hole. This will prevent the new tube from pushing through the small hole when the tire is inflated to high pressure. (Probably should replace the tire when you get home.)
  10. Put a little air in the new tube. Just enough so it will hold its shape.
  11. Put the new tube in the tire (or in the ½ of the tire still on the rim).
  12. Carefully put the tire back on the rim, being ESPECIALLY CAREFUL NOT TO PINCH the new tube between the rim and the side of the tire.
  13. Once the tire is on, push the valve stem into the tire, make sure the tire is seated on the rim at this spot, and then pull the valve stem back out.
  14. Inspect both sides of the tire and make sure it is seated fully into the rim all the way around.
  15. Inflate the tire a little. Make sure the tire looks seated all the way around on both sides, then fully inflate the tire.
  16. Put the wheel back on the bike. Make sure it is centered and straight with the frame of the bike
  17. Close the brake or re-attach as needed.
  18. Pick up old tube, any tools, trash, etc and securely stow them.

Enjoy the rest of your ride and when you get home look at your tire to see if it needs to be replaced. Be safe out there!    

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