When I studied abroad in England, my program provided bikes for us to use for the semester. From that point on, I have loved bicycling as a mode of transportation and recreation. During my semester in England, we also had access to a bike mechanic if anything went wrong with our bikes, which was super helpful. However, I am now responsible for maintaining my own bicycle, including dealing with the pesky bike inner tube leak.
On an unseasonably warm winter day, I pulled my bike out of the shed only to realize that I had a flat tire. From a preliminary inspection, I found that my bike had an inner tube leak in the back tire. Living in a small town, I don’t have access to a bike repair shop, so I went to Pinterest and researched “fixing a bike inner tube leak.” For some bike enthusiasts, this may seem like a really simple repair, but for me, it was an undertaking. Seriously though, I know nothing about bikes except that I love riding them. I spent 20 minutes looking up buying a brand new bike over just patching an inner tube. Although this task seemed daunting, I pushed through and kept researching.
After many blog posts and debates on patching versus replacing, I decided to attempt to patch my bike inner tube leak. One, the hole was very small. Two, I didn’t have the tool needed for replacing a bike inner tube- a wrench. I took the risk that patching the leak would save me money and fix my problem. I was able to find the supplies I needed at Walmart for 10 bucks.
Patching a Bike Inner Tube Leak
Author Note: The links in this post are affiliate links (see our Disclosure page for more information). The bottle of slime was cheaper on Amazon, but the slime skabs were cheaper at Walmart. This is also not a sponsored post by Slime. This was the only product available to me at my local store.
Pull out your bike inner tube and locate leak. For my leak, I had to pump air into the inner tube and locate the leak by listening to air escaping through the hole. Most posts that I read, people actually removed the tire before pulling out the inner tube. I just pulled the inner tube out with the tire still attached to the bike.
Use metal scraper included in the patch kit around bike inner tube hole.
Place patch over bike inner tube hole and press firmly, especially around the edges. On my first attempt, the patch did not seal correctly, so I still had a leak when I tried to refill the tire. On the second attempt, I pushed from the center of the patch around all the edges. I could see a small layer of slime create a barrier on the edge of the patch with no air pockets.
Replace inner tube in bike. I started with the air valve and worked my way around the tire. When I got to the bottom of the tire, I turned my bike upside down to finish.
Follow directions on Slime container. Even though I could have patched my tire without this product, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to add an extra layer of protection to prevent new punctures. One bottle of Slime is enough for both tires.
Re-inflate tires and have fun.
After patching my bike inner tube leak, I took my bike on a 4-mile trip to the local marina with no issues.
Any other solutions for fixing a bike inner tube leak? Leave them in the comments!