Are you pumping up your bicycle tire, but it doesn’t seem to be inflating? This is a common but very strange problem. What’s more, there may not be a single method to solve it, as there are several problems that can cause this.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to figure out the problem just by looking at the tires, as they are very sensitive. You’ll need to try each of the solutions available to find out what’s causing the problem and how to fix it.
In this article, we’ll discuss the fixes that can help you out, but first, we’ll take a look at the types of valves 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 bicycle tires.
Related reading: How To Clean Bike Tires?
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.
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 inflating. 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.
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 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.
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 bicycle, 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?
Understanding why a bike tire will not inflate is crucial for every cyclist. I’ve explored several reasons and their corresponding solutions.
The pump might not be fitting properly on the valve when you are using an emergency solution like a gas station air pump. If the pump can’t create a pressure difference in the tube’s internal parts, air won’t enter the tube. This issue can be resolved by ensuring the pump fits perfectly on the valve and maintaining constant pressure on the pump handle.
Sealants can create a skin-like structure inside the valve over time, preventing air from entering the tube. This issue can be resolved by opening the valve, removing the valve core, and poking inside the valve with something thin to break the sealant skin.
A damaged O-ring on the pump’s chuck can prevent air from entering the tube. If the O-ring is damaged, the problem lies with the pump, not the tire.
Using an inappropriate pump can also cause the issue. Some pumps support only Presta valves, while others support Schrader valves. Some pumps support both types of valves. It’s essential to check whether the pump is compatible with the valve.
If your bike tire will not inflate, it’s essential to try out each of these solutions, as it’s impossible to identify the real issue without trying the solutions. I understand the importance of maintaining your bicycle, especially when it comes to tire inflation. Remember, a well-maintained rig not only enhances your cycling experience but also ensures your safety while riding.