Just like any rubber component that's constantly exposed to plenty of pressure and other damaging elements, your motorcycle's tire tube will eventually show signs of wear and tear. This includes worn-out patches that have thinned out and small holes that leak air out of the tube. Holes can be easily patched up with the right glue or sealant, but remember that this is only a temporary fix or an emergency solution. Keep in mind that once a wheel's inner tube is punctured, its structural integrity is compromised. Now you may still be able to use the tire after a patch-up. But after several patch-ups, the inner tube will eventually give in, resulting in an irreparable damage that will leave you with no choice but to get a new tube. If one of your bike's inner tubes has been patched up so many times, replace it before it leaves you stranded on the road. Here's how:
- Socket or wrench
- Tire iron
Step 1: Prep up your motorcycle.
Before you begin removing parts from your bike, make sure to prop it up using a bike stand. If you don't have one, improvise with a milk crate and a solid, leveled slab of wood that you can place on top of the crate to evenly spread the load.
Step 2: Remove the wheel with the damaged tire tube.
To get easier access to the tire and tube, you need to remove the wheel from the motorcycle. Depending on your bike's make and model, you might have to disconnect first the brake and speedometer cables. Then, you need to remove the axle bolt. Depending again on the type of bike you have, the axle bolt could be clamped in place with smaller bolts. Always check your bike manual when removing the wheel. There might also be small bushings that you need to unbolt during wheel removal.
Step 3: Pry off the tire.
Using a tire iron or an improvised steel bar with no sharp edges, carefully pry off the tire from the wheel's rim. If you're using an improvised tire iron, make sure it doesn't have sharp or abrasive edges that could easily puncture the tire and the tire tube. Once you've pried off the tire, use your hands to pull the tire's bead over the rest of the rim.
Step 4: Remove the old tire tube.
Unbolt the nut on the metal valve stem so you could gain access to the tube. Once this nut is removed, reach into inside the rim and pull out the inner tube. Be careful not to damage the tube.
Step 5: Look for the cause of the leak or damage.
Once the tire tube is out, reach inside the wheel and look for foreign objects such as nails or small rocks that could have damaged the tire and the tube inside. You'll have to find the culprit because installing a new tube with a rock or nail inside the wheel will only lead to another flat tire. Another tip is to inflate the tube and put it in a tub full of water. If you see bubbles coming from a certain part of the inner tube, that means that part is the source of the leak.
Step 6: Attach the new tube.
Put some air into the tube to make it easier for you to insert it into the wheel. Slowly push the new tire tube into the wheel, taking extra care not to puncture it. Once you've inserted the tube, reattach it onto the valve and reinstall the valve stem nut. Then, pry the tire back in place using a tire iron. Don't forget to reattach the wheel by following your bike manual instructions.