TUBE INSTALLATION TIPS
· MOST IMPORTANTLY, make sure the tire is clean inside
The tire must be clean and free of any thorns, nails, plugs, etc. that can poke holes in the new tube. The best way to check the inside of the tire is to run a rag around the inside thoroughly. The rag will snag on any thorns or nails helping you locate them. Do this several times so you don't miss any, give it a final wipe with your bare hand. Dig the thorns out with an awl, any plugs must be trimmed flush with side cutters or removed and the hole patched over. If you have an air operated tire buffer you can leave the plugs in and buff the plugs off smooth on the inside of the tire. If you leave the plugs sticking through on the inside they will eventually wear through the tube. Any breaks or large punctures in the tire must be covered with a patch or the tube will push down in the opening and get pinched as the tire flexes.
· DO NOT use sharp tools to dismount and mount the tire
· Tire spoons are best when changing a tire manually or a tire changer for larger tires if you have access to one. Be careful and do not pinch and cut the tube with the tire iron while prying on the tire beads. It is very easy to do when applying leverage with a bar! If you go all the way over with the pry bar when prying you can pinch the tube between the prybar and wheel and puncture it. Make sure the tube is fully down in the tire and out of the way when prying the final bead back on the wheel.
· DO NOT install the tube backwards
Most tubes have the stem offset to one side of the tube. When tubes are completely deflated as they come it can be difficult to tell which way it is offset. Inflate the tube to tell which way it is offset and then deflate it before installing. If you install the tube flipped over with the offset facing the wrong way it will tear the stem off the tube or pull it loose at the base. Also if installed wrong as you inflate it the stem can pull back inside the tire and you lose it trapping you with no way to deflate it and correct the mistake. There is no warranty for ripped stems.
· Use lube to ease installation
Lubing the tire beads will make it much easier to dismount and remount the tire. Tire lube works best, if not available you can use undiluted liquid dish soap, use it straight out of the bottle. DO NOT use grease, oil, penetrating oil, or anything petroleum based. Petroleum rots rubber tires and tubes rapidly.
· Last step is to tighten and check the valve core
You will need a core tool when working with tires and tubes. The valve core must be fully tightened and leak checked before installing the cap. Cores may not be fully tightened in the manufacturing process, check it to make sure it is tight. After you are done inflating the tire check to make sure the valve core seated and sealed. Wet the end of the stem with water (or spit) and watch for bubbles. If you see bubbles tap the valve core plunger a few times to seat or clear it. Sometimes talc from the tube manufacturing process gets under the valve seat and keeps it from sealing. If it does not quit leaking swap the core out with another, the core from your old tube or tubeless stem will interchange.
Tubes are leak checked in the manufacturing process and do not have holes in them prior to installing. When you install a tube and tire goes flat it is because something went wrong installing the tube, it got pinched ,punctured, or damaged installing. You will hear air leaking out of the wheel around the base of the stem as that is the easiest place for it to escape. There are numerous things that can go wrong. Three things we typically see: the tube gets pinched by the prybar prying the final tire bead on with the tube inside, the tube gets punctured the first time you air it up by something embedded in the tire like a thorn protruding on the inside of the tire or rust particle from the wheel trapped between the tube and tire, or the stem gets pulled loose caused by installing the tube flipped over with the stem offset facing the wrong way. The location and shape of the hole will lend clues as to what went wrong. Remove the tube inflate it outside the tire and run water over it with a hose to locate the hole or leak. A hole on the side of the tube or inside radius close to the wheel indicates a pinch when prying the final bead of the tube tire back on with tube inside. Often times a pinch will appear as a snake bite (two holes inline or across from each other) if you pinched through both layers of the deflated tube. A hole behind the tread area can indicate a thorn or something embedded in the tire that punctured the tube when you aired it up, those are typically small pin holes. A stem torn off or pulled loose at the edge where it is vulcanized on indicates the tube was installed with the stem offset the wrong way. Tubes can be repaired, seek the help of an experienced tire shop.