How-To: (Change a Bike Inner Tube) — Easy Guide
Are you stuck with a damaged inner tube of your bike and want to learn how to change it? Changing the bike’s inner tube is an important skill every cyclist should learn. Repairing a damaged inner tube by yourself would not only save your precious time, but it would also be cost-effective and a hassle-free job.
Here’s how you change a bike’s inner tube:
- Remove the wheel from the bike
- Deflate the inner tube
- Remove the outer tire
- Remove the inner tube and prepare a new one for the tire
- Slightly inflate the new inner tube and fit it in the tire
- Refit the outer tire and fully inflate it
- Adjust the wheel back on the bike
So, if you want to learn the process in detail, go through this informative article I’ve prepared for you!
How Do I Know If My Bike Tire Tubes Are Bad?
Here are some signs you should check your bike for inner tube damage:
- Punctured or a flat tire
- Worn down the tread on the tires
- Cracks on the rubber
- A sudden increase in flats
- Cuts and holes on the tire
- Melted or damaged outer tire
It is highly possible that your bike tire tubes have gone bad, and you do not even know about it. If a damaged inner tube goes unnoticed for long, it can suddenly pop and lead to an accident.
Therefore, you should constantly be on the lookout for any signs of damage to the inner tube of your bike tires.
What Tools Do You Need to Change an Inner Tube?
Here are the tools that you will require to change the inner tube of your bike tires:
- Screwdrivers/ Bike tire lever
- Replacement Inner Tube
- Air Pump
- Puncture patch (optional)
If you have identified that your bike tires need the inner tube changed, you’re already on the right track. Now, for the most part, you just need to get to the task.
Changing the inner tube of your tires is an easy task and requires very basic tools that may be easily available in your household or the nearby market.
Changing a Bike Inner Tube — Step-by-Step
Now that you’ve identified the need for a tire replacement and collected the necessary tools to perform the task, it is finally time to change the inner tubes of your tires!
It is not as hard as you might think, and I will explain the entire process to you step-by-step.
#1 Deflate the Bike’s Tire
The bike’s tire should be fully deflated if you plan to change the inner tube of your bike. A deflated tire makes it easier for you to remove the outer tire and follow the next steps.
If you’re wondering whether or not you should deflate your bike’s tire if you have a flat, the answer is yes, you should. A punctured tire still has some air remaining inside it that may make the next steps difficult for you.
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To deflate the bike’s tire, you should find a tightly screwed nut around a small valve in the tire. If you unscrew it, you would let all the air out and eventually deflate the bike’s tire.
#2 Dislodge the Bike’s Tire
After deflating the bike’s tire, you should move toward dislodging it. For this step, the handy tool would be a bike tire lever.
Usually, most bikes use a quick-release mechanism to fix the wheel, so removing the bike’s tire is actually pretty simple.
To dislodge the bike’s tire, pull and open the lever that you will find on the opposite side of the chain. It is important to remember to pull it away instead of twisting it simply. This would loosen up your wheel, and you’d be able to remove it easily.
#3 Remove the Outer Tire
Now is the time to use the bike tire levers. These tools come in handy because removing the outer tire is not an easy task, given that it is fixed and attached very firmly to the wheel.
This step can get a little bit difficult sometimes, but with enough focus and force, you would be able to follow it through.
To remove the outer tire of the bike, you would have to insert the pair of levers under the bead of the outer tire at the end that is opposite the air valve. The levers should be placed in line with the spoke of the tire.
Now press one lever down to lift the outer tire over the rim and hook the bottom of the lever to the spoke to keep it in place. You should repeat the same step for the other lever too.
Once you’re done inserting the levers, you should be able to displace the outer tire from the rim. Please note that you don’t need to remove the outer tire entirely.
You just need to displace it to make room to access the inner tube and replace it.
#4 Take Out the Inner Tube
Now that you’ve displaced the outer tire from the rim, you can access the tire’s inner tube. To remove the inner tube, you must push back the wheel’s valve.
Now, carefully pull out the inner tube from underneath the outer tire, ensuring that you don’t yank off the outer tire entirely or don’t damage the inner tube if you don’t wish to replace it.
#5 Locate the Puncture (Optional)
If your bike tire has been deflated, the most probable cause is the puncture of the inner tube. You should check for any punctures in the inner tube.
You can check for punctures by inflating the inner tube with air and then listening and feeling for any rapid escaping of air from the tube. This would tell you the exact location of the puncture, and hopefully, you’d be able to fix it now.
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#6 Repair the Punctured Inner Tube (Optional)
Though I would recommend directly just changing the tube to avoid any future troubles, if you think that the inner tube doesn’t exactly need to be changed and it can still function perfectly well if the puncture is fixed, then you can do that.
After locating the puncture on the tube, you can now place a puncture patch on the punctured area of the inner tube. This would repair the puncture of your inner tube, and it would be as good as new!
#7 Inflate the New Inner Tube
Once you’ve taken out the tube, you should now focus on making the new tube ready for your tires.
Before fixing the new inner tube, you would have to slightly inflate it so that it can be fixed easily and support the tire of your bike. You can use the air pump to inflate the new inner tube of your tire.
» You can also read my post: How Much is a New Bike Tire — (Cost of Replacing Tires)
#8 Insert the Tube Back Into the Bike
This is the most important step because if you don’t fix the tube right, you might face future problems and may have to replace it again.
The first step is to push the valve through the hole in the room to position the inner tube. Now that the valve is in place, start tucking the tube inside the outer tire and into the rim.
You have to be careful not to twist or pinch the tube in any way because it is delicate and can get punctured easily again.
#9 Position the Bike’s Tire
You’ve placed the new tube under the outer tire, but now the real challenge is to fix the outer tire on the rim again.
Getting the outer tire in place can be a problem sometimes because this time, you’re positioning it with a slightly inflated inner tube underneath it, and you have to make sure that you don’t push it hard enough to cause damage to the inner tube.
The best way to do this is to hold the wheel off the ground, ensuring that the position of the valve is opposite to the side you’re holding the wheel.
Start from the top and push the outer tire’s bead back in place with the rim with your hands. Once the top part is fixed firmly, you can move towards the other parts and fix the outer tire on the wheel’s rim entirely.
If you’re facing difficulty placing the outer tire back with the rim, you can use the bike levers to lift the outer tire gently and then push it back in position.
#10 Fix the Wheel Back On the Cycle
Now that you’ve replaced the inner tube of your tires, you should fix the wheel back on the cycle.
If your bike has a quick release mechanism, you would have first to position the wheel correctly and then fix the lever that you initially yanked off the opposite side of the chain.
Lift off the wheel and check for smooth movement by turning and moving it around.
#11 Inflate the Tire With the Recommended Pressure
You’re almost there! To make your bike function smoothly, you should inflate the tire right up to the recommended pressure to support your extensive cycling activities.
To inflate the tire, you would open the air valve of the bike and attach the air pump to it. Keep checking the tire’s inflation by pressing on it and stopping it when you find it to be good enough to function.
#12 Perform a Final Inspection
Your bike is all set to go. Just check your bike’s tires, chains, and brakes and see if they’re functioning correctly.
Once you’re done inspecting everything, you can take your bike out for a ride and make the most of your time.
» Read my blog post: How Much Is a Bike Tune-Up?
Can You Change An Inner Tube Without Removing the Wheel?
No, you cannot change an inner tube without removing the wheel because the next tube would have to be fixed properly, and that cannot be done in an attached wheel.
However, you can fix a puncture on the inner tube without removing the wheel because you just need to expose the inner tube in order to do that.
Removing a wheel that uses a quick release mechanism is relatively easy, and it shouldn’t really be a hassle if you plan to change the inner tube of your bike.
How Often Should You Replace a Bike Inner Tube?
An inner tube inside the bike tire without any external harmful exposures such as UV light or ozone lasts up to 10-20 years. The bike’s inner tube is extremely resilient and resistant to breaking down.
It is surprising to see that even though an inner tube performs a very integral function in a bike, surprisingly, it does not get damaged easily.
You don’t have to worry about changing the bike’s inner tube unless you’re facing any problems such as punctures or other problems with the tube.
Some factors that decide how long the inner tube of a bike should last are storage, temperature, heat, light, and riding conditions.
How Do You Change a Tire on a Bike Without Pinching the Tube?
To install a tube without pinching it, you need to carefully massage it in, underneath the outer tire. While doing that, you need to ensure that the tube is not being twisted in any way.
Replacing the inner tube is one task, but fixing the tire back into its position without pinching the inner tube is a whole other task.
The tube is delicate, and if not handled with extreme caution, it can get pinched, and all your efforts can go to waste.
It may sound difficult, but with a little bit of focus and caution, you will be able to do it.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bike Inner Tube?
A new inner tube would cost you around $5 to $8. So not only replacing a bike’s inner tube is easy but also highly affordable, preventing damages to your tire that would have been much more costly.
If you are uncomfortable changing the tube by yourself, then any bike shop can replace the tube for you for around $10 to $15.
These prices, however, can vary depending on the area you’re buying the inner tube from or the brand you’re shopping from.
Is It Easy To Replace a Bike Inner Tube?
Replacing a bike’s inner tube is easy. As mentioned in the steps above, changing the bike’s inner tube is not at all difficult, and you are more than capable of doing it yourself. It is worth learning, especially if you use your bike frequently.
Getting a flat tire can be annoying, and you should know how to replace an inner tube yourself.
The best part is that replacing a bike’s inner tube requires only some basic tools and a little bit of your time. Once you get to it, you will find the process easy and doable.
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The Bottom Line
If you love biking, you must also know how frustrating it is when it doesn’t function smoothly or gets flat tires. Usually, the tire’s inner tube lies as the cause of such incidents, and often replacing the inner tube may be the best solution for these problems.
The best part is that changing the bike’s inner tube is extremely easy, and this skill can be quite handy in problematic situations.
Now that you know how to change the inner tube of a bike tire, you should better get to it and take your bike out for a ride soon.