Ask a Mechanic: Repair And Save Your Tubeless Tires

Alex says, “ I just bought a new tubeless tire, and after only a few rides I got a puncture that wouldn’t seal. Can you show me how to use a tubeless tire repair kit to save my tire?”

It seems that just about everyone has made the switch to tubeless on their mountain bike, and for good reason. The benefits of not having to worry about a pinch flat when running lower pressures, added traction, and preventing something as small as a thorn from ruining a ride have all made the mountain biking experience much better. However, tubeless tires are usually more expensive than standard tires. Although they are more more puncture resistant, some tears and cuts still won’t seal, even with sealant in the tire, that’s where tubeless tire repair kits come in handy. They may not be the best solution for a trailside fix but, are capable of saving your tire’s ability to run tubeless, which is great because, let’s face it; once you’ve made the move to tubeless you’re not going to want to run tubes ever again. Here’s how the kit works.

The first thing you’ll want to do is remove the tube from the tire if you installed one to get home. While the bead is off the rim run a rag through the inside of the tire to dry whatever sealant is still there. Then install a tubeless valve and remount the tire. Inflate the tire to locate the puncture, which can often be identified by a wet spot where the sealant leaked out. Once the puncture is located, thoroughly clean and dry the tire in that area, inside and out. Next you’ll want to run the needle through the puncture a few times to open up the hole enough for the plug to go in. Now we’ll cut the rubber piece into a 3mm wide strip, peel off the backing, and thread through the needle. Make sure the needle is in the center of the rubber strip you just cut. Coat the entire rubber piece with the rubber cement that comes with the kit, and insert into the puncture until the eye of the needle is through the puncture. Then slowly draw the needle back out of the puncture until they eye of the needle and rubber are exposed. All that’s left to do now is to cut the rubber leaving about 2mm protruding from the tire. Let the rubber cement dry, which will take about 5 minutes, add your sealant and re inflate the tire to check your work.

Once you’re done seal everything back up and return to the kit to prolong the life and effectiveness of the rubber and rubber cement. The kit can be used quite a few times and has the potential to save you a lot of money and frustration from “ruining” your tubeless tires. So give it a shot, you may even be able to save some of those tires you have lying around you thought you’d only ever get to use with a tube.