Why does my Bike Tire Keep Going Flat?

For a cyclist, encountering puncture while riding could be awful that often happens in inconvenient circumstances.

Whatever the case may be, you have two options: patch your tire or walk the rest of the way.

But, if you quickly change the tube and it becomes flat again, you have got a problem.

Don’t worry, you have found the right article to read.

Having a flat tire several times in a row is as dreadful as it sounds. When your tire goes flat frequently, you most likely inspect the inner tube, and the exterior portion appears to be in good shape. But if it also goes flat regularly; what may be the trigger?

A Flat Bike Tire (Source: Pixabay.com)

If your tire flattens every time you ride your bike despite meticulous inspections before each ride, something is wrong that you have failed to notice. 

Reasons behind Your Tire Getting Flat

There may not be a single explanation for this awful circumstance to recur time and time again.

However, if you’re struggling with the same problem, some factors consider avoiding a potentially terrible situation in the future.

  • Something getting stuck in the tire
  • Overused tires
  • Low tire pressure
  • Rim tape not covering the spoke holes
  • Defect in a valve stem

Lets discuss them in a little more detail.

1. Something getting stuck in the Tire

The most typical cause of a flat tire is when a foreign item, unusually a sharp one, pocks the tire.

Sharp objects like nails, pins, wire pieces can easily get lodged in your tire, which can pierce the new tube as well. Although you replace it with a another new one, your tire flattens. 

Thinking about experiencing the tire getting flat immediately after you have replaced the tube in the middle cycling is one of the most horrifying situations for a cyclist.

But, by putting on a little more effort, you can avoid such unpleasant situations from occurring later on.

As soon as the tire gets flat, you must always inspect your tire and pull out any stuck objects on the tire.

Furthermore, look for any other tiny yet sharp objects that could have pocked the tire by carefully running your fingers along the inside of the tire.

Then, you can replace the tube after all the foreign items have been removed.

2. Overused Tires

You might also have abused your tires exceeding their maximum limit to withstand any pressure, and you may not be aware of it.

Overusing the tire for a very long period could tear up the external layer of rubber in the tire.

If the tire has been used beyond its lifespan, it cannot protect the tube inside. Hence, the tire becomes more likely to get punctured.
An overused Bike Tire (Source: Pixabay.com)

An overused tire starts tearing, or the rubber, which is the external covering, might look torn out. This is one way to determine whether or not your tires are still in perfect condition.

I recommend you change tires as soon as you notice the rubber at the crest starts losing its round shape.

I have written another article: 11 Signs that your Bicycle Tires have Worn Out. Here you will find when is the suitable time to change your bike tires so that you could avoid unexpected flat tire situations.

3. Optimal Tire Pressure

Correct tire pressure is essential, which improves the performance of the bicycle and can prevent causing flats.

If you overinflate, there might be the risk of the tube blowing up. At the same time, underinflation can cause pinch flats.

Thus, you need to pay attention to inflation and pump the correct amount of pressure. The right amount of pressure varies from bike to bike, is usually mentioned on the tires themselves.

Having said that, it is better to regularly monitor the tire pressure as air seeps out of tires over time, and you might be riding your bike with the wrong tire pressure as required.

If you don’t want to ruin your bike tires by overinflating or underinflating tubes, this article will help: “Correct Tire Pressure.”

4. Rim Tape not covering the Spoke Holes

Often neglected to inspect in the process of your bike’s maintenance is rim tape or rim strips.

The purpose of rim tape is to cover the spoke holes on your wheel. If, in any case, those spokes stick out from the nipples, tires might get punctured in the absence of rim tape or if the rim tape has been torn.

One needs to remove the tire to check the condition of the rim tape. Hence, most of the time, it is left unchecked. If rim tapes are damaged, it could lead to the tire getting punctured. 

Make sure to check the rim tape, if it is covering the spoke holes or not. You need to be very careful while checking the rim tape. It needs to be of perfect size to fit in the tires and cover the holes.

5. Defect in the Valve Stem

A valve stem is opened while inflating a tire, and it must be kept sealed by the pressure to trap the gas.

A defect in the valve stem of your tire could be another reason behind frequent tire flats. When the valve stem is damaged, it causes air to leak out of the tire, making it go flat.
Inflating Valve of Bike Tube (Source: Pixabay.com)

How to Prevent a Flat Tire?

Getting a flat tire while you are riding is inevitable. You go out for a bicycle ride, and you get a flat tire in the middle; this is something every cyclist experiences at least once.

But, getting a flat every time you go out for a ride, well, that’s certainly a nightmare.

Bicycling is supposed to be fun, but some defect in your bike causes unexpected events and disrupts your cycling experience.

Perhaps, getting your tire flat or even having to encounter blowouts in the middle of the road or cycling trails endangers the cyclist’s safety.

However, as we discussed above, there is not only one reason for the tires getting flat. Therefore you must adequately examine the bicycle’s condition time and again.

In addition, determining some major underlying causes behind the frequent puncture of your tire could help you reduce the chances of such risks taking place.

More importantly, general maintenance of your bike after you ride and inspection just before you go out for a ride would help avoid such unfortunate circumstances.

Many cyclists have found the following tips helpful in preventing a flat tire on your next rides.

1. Using Talcum Powder

Dusting talcum powder in the inner tube before you fix it to the tire can help prevent the tube’s rubber from being rasped abrasively onto the surface.

In addition, you could avoid the tire from sticking to the tube by dusting talcum powder which helps to lessen the friction.

Friction might deplete the condition of the tube; hence, powdering talcum powder will prevail the tube from tearing and getting damaged.

2. Switching to Tubeless Tires

Going tubeless can be a bit expensive than using tires with tubes, but it is worth reducing the frequency of flats.

Not just that, it can also increase the performance of the bike and improve a bike’s control.

Here is my another article where I have covered everything you need to know about Tubeless Tires.

3. Checking your Tire’s Condition

While your tires might appear in good condition from the outside, from continuous use, they will surely start to lose their capabilities which may not be visible to you.

Therefore, determining its condition by just looking at it from the outside will be troublesome at some point.

Hence, it would help if you timely replace tires before it causes some unfortunate events. Also, if the threads are visible and if a tire has dry rot, know that it is high time you change those tires.

Bike Tire Closeup (Source: Pixabay.com)

4. Keep Spare Tube

Sometimes, even if we examine the condition of tires, inner tubes, and rim tapes, getting your tires flat while riding could be unavoidable.

So, equipping yourself with an extra set of spare tubes will always help you in long rides.

The spare tube you have had stored in your saddlebag could become handy in your long rides. But, make sure that you have not held it for quite a while in your saddlebag.

The spare tube kept in your saddlebag for a very long time could get damaged as it has been folded inside the bag. To avoid getting cracked, you must take it out once you return from the ride and make sure to store it unfolded.

Also, it is recommended to inflate the spare tube to check for holes or cracks if it has been stored in your saddlebag for a long time.

If you are thinking of getting rid of flat tires forever, this article might help: How to make Bicycle Tire Puncture Proof?

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