What Should I Do When Bike Tire Will Not Inflate And Will Not Take Air?

Pumping your bike tires but they don’t seem to inflate? This is a common, yet very strange problem. What’s more is that a single method may not solve this, because there are different issues that may cause this.

Sadly, it’s not possible to figure out the issue just by looking at the tire, as these are very sensitive. You’ll have to try each of the solutions available to find what’s causing the problem and for fixing it all the same.

In this article, we’ll discuss the fixes that may help you out, but before that, we’re going to take a look at the types of valves that you may find on your bike’s tire. So, let’s get started!

Types of Valves

Now, let’s move on to discussing the types of valves available for your bike tires.

Related reading: How To Clean Bike Tires?

Schrader Valve

Schrader valves are typically wider than Presta valves, and they usually have the same circumference from top to bottom. When used on wheels, these are often wrapped in rubber. The outer wall is often threaded so that it can accept a cap head.

You’ll find a pin in the center of the Schrader valve. This actually is a spring-loaded check valve that controls the airflow coming in and going out of the valve. To flow the air into the tire, the inner pin of the Schrader valve requires pressure.

Presta Valve

Unlike Schrader valves, Presta vales are purely made of metal. These aren’t as wide as Schrader valves, rather they are typically half as wide. Most Presta valves are threaded all the way down, and their top is slightly tapered. There’s a textured nut at the top that can be unscrewed to open the valve.

Presta Valves don’t use a check valve like Schrader valves. Rather, these seal tires are based on the pressure inside the tube. Most Presta valves allow you to remove the entire core.

Related reading: How To Carry A Spare Tubular Tire On Your Bike?

Bike Tire Won’t Inflate: How to Fix It

In this section, we’ll discuss various reasons that may be preventing the tires from deflating. You’ll also find solutions that you’ll be able to try easily.

Ensuring the Pump Fits Properly

It’s commonly seen that bike tires aren’t being inflated because the pump isn’t fitting properly on the valve. If you can’t fit the pump perfectly on the valve, then you won’t be able to create a pressure difference in the internal parts of the tube. This will prohibit the air from entering the tube, and you’ll find the tire isn’t inflating.

This is a very common and easily solvable problem. If you’re using the Presta valve, then make sure that you have the valve set up properly. To do so, you’ll have to unscrew the little nut on top of the valve. Make sure the screw is loosened to the very top of the valve, and this will allow the Presta valve to take air into it.

Another thing that you can try doing is squeezing the nozzle of the pump around the valve. While doing that, keep constant pressure on the handle of the pump. This will help you understand in which position the pump is actually inflating the tire.

Related reading: Do Bike Trainers Ruin Tires?

Issues Regarding Sealants

Sealant issues are very commonly found, and in this section, we’ll discuss how you can solve this problem easily.

Let us discuss how sealants can prevent bike tires from inflating in the first place. Sealants are extremely important and you can’t use a valve without applying sealants. However, sealants tend to create a skin-like structure inside the valve over time, and these plugs can prevent air from entering the tube. This is because the skin of the sealant acts as resistant.

In order to get rid of this resistance, you need to open the valve and clean the sealant skin off. To open the valve, you need to rotate the valve and remove the valve core. Note that the valve core is extremely small and can get lost easily, so you must maintain extra caution while removing it.

After you’re done removing the valve, poke inside the valve with something thin to shred through the skin created by the sealant. You can use the thinnest Allen wrench to get this done. However, don’t go with anything sharp, as you may end up damaging or even puncturing the tube.

Sometimes, you may find that your tire isn’t getting inflated even after you’ve poked into the valve plug. If this is the case, chances are that you couldn’t create a big enough hole for the air to enter the tube. In such cases, you’ll have to remove the valve core and create a bigger hole this time.

Damaged O-Ring

Another cause behind this issue can be a damaged O-ring. O-rings are found on the chucks of the pump. The chuck is the part of the pump that you fit over the valve. Sometimes, a damaged O-ring can prevent air from entering the tube.

So, if the O-ring is damaged, the problem is actually with the pump, and not with the valve of the tire.

Not Using Appropriate Pump

You’ll find different types of pumps on the market. The major difference between these pump varieties is that they each support a different type of valve. Some pumps may support Presta valves only, while others support Schrader valves only. Then again, there are many pumps that support both types of valves.

So, before you start pumping the tire of your bike, you need to check whether the pump is compatible with the valve. If it isn’t, you’ll find that the tire isn’t inflating. In this case, the problem is with the pump and not with the tire.

Related reading: How To Deflate A Bike Tire?


These are the major issues that may be preventing your bike tire from inflating.

If you’re facing this problem, we highly recommend trying each of these solutions out, because it’s not possible to figure out the real issue without trying the solutions out.

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