All the bikers or cyclists know that flat tires can make them suffer unexpectedly. Even if we have the best bikes on the market, this problem can occur at any time. A biker must be ready to face and overcome the events of snake bites or accidental tube explosions. Since many of us keep the bike in the garage alone for a while, the tires may go flat. Thus, it is essential to know why do bike tires go flat when not in use?
The tires can still be flattened with the pace of time when you don’t use it. The tiny air molecules and tube porosity are the main reasons. If you keep the bike stationary or in a garage for a long period, the air molecules will go out of the tire via the valve and tube. Slowly, the bicycle will lose its air. In the case of tubeless tires, the air may get out because of the sealant leaks.
The quicker way to solve the problem is by filling the tire with nitrogen instead of CO2. However, it is good to check out why the deflation or flat tire is happening. Then, you can take care of it. In this article, you can learn the tire flatting reasons and ways to solve the problems for a comfortable ride.
Why Do Bike Tires Go Flat When Not in Use?
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Suppose you have got a chance to take part in a biking competition. But suddenly, you get the tires deflated. Then, everything will indeed appear so frustrating. You may think that I haven’t ridden the bike for a couple of months, so why are the flat tire eventualities happening. What shall you do then?
Here are some common reasons to get flat tires even if you are not using the bike:
- Molecules of air versus tube penetrability
Have you ever wondered about a balloon you kept in the room, which somehow appears airless? Like the balloons, tires lose air slowly bit by bit. The tiny air molecules filled in tires squash make their way to the exterior of tires using the valve seal. After all, the air has the feature to squeeze through any surface, even if it is protected with a seal. Yet, the rate of air passing out is very slow.
- Hot or cold Air
If you ride a bike, you must state that bikes can lose pressure slowly when you ride it. In such a case, running the bike consistently can heat the internal air. Then, the air molecules start scurrying, and flat tires happen. Still, if the bike remains not in use, the pressure inside the tires will be lowered and may cause a flat tire. It happens due to the spaces created by air between rubber and rim while air leaks slowly.
- Debris stuck in the tire tread
Every tire brand offers different warranties on its products. So, the tire tread may also last for a variable lifespan. If your tires have a thin print of tread may wear soon for the scratches. Eventually, thorns can easily stick to the tire. So, the bike tires can go flat when you leave the bike for the long term after running on uneven surfaces.
- Possible invisible cuts on tire sidewalls
You may have damaged the tire sidewalls before leaving the bike, not in use. So, inspect them to find any cuts and treat them soon. You may also step on one tire to check its ability to take force until you feel any dents using your foot.
- Bubbles between the layers of tubeless tires
If you have an unused (or not in use) bike with tubeless tires, it can have flat tires after a certain period. There can be bubbles or cracks between any of the layers of the tire. It can lead the tire to an explosion if the bike takes it to rough terrain after a long time. Another reason can be the leakage of sealant in tubeless tires.
- Loose and defective tires
Maybe the bike not in use has loose valves on its components like tubes, leak-resistant inner cores, and rim wheels. If your tires have this problem, there is an increased chance of having a flat tire.
- Faulty valve
Valve is an integral part of a bike. But it can be a reason to cause a flat fire. Typically, you can find two valve types available in the tubes. On the road bikes, you can have the Presta valve. Again, a mountain bike can contain an American valve (also known as a car valve). If you have left the bike alone with a faulty valve, it won’t be able to hole the air properly. Soon, the tire will appear flattened.
Tubeless Tires Going Flat while Not in Use
Tubeless tires are getting fame day by day. Many of us love to have bikes with tubeless tires for a better, smoother ride. Those tires can offer good traction on different surfaces. But this sad story is that these tires can also leak air for the sealant leakages in a timely mannered.
If your tires get flattened, you may follow these instructions:
- A new sealant
You should add new sealants every 30-60 days. Usually, the heat can make the sealant evaporate faster than usual conditions. Again, the tire material can absorb the sealant that allows air to travel outside.
- Debris buildups
You may find dirt and debris around the spoke nipples of the tires. Excessive debris can be a signal of tire sealant leaking. Moreover, the liners may be punctured, which you should replace soon.
- Worn tire
If you have tubeless tires worn or torn already, they may slowly get flat even if you are not using the bike. Replace the tires if you see any thread in the tire sidewalls.
What to Do to Prevent Flat Tires When Not in Use?
We all want our bike ready to ride, even if we leave it unused for months or even years. Since there is a chance of getting flat tires when not used, we get worried about what steps we should take. Many people also search the way to cushion bikes against unexpected flat tires. Keeping this thing in my mind, I am showing you some ways to prevent flat tires:
- Always maintain ideal pressure of tires
Every type of bike has its particular rating of pressure. While thinking about these ratings, any value that passes or lowers than these ranges can trigger the tires to flatten.
Mostly, they have these pressure levels:
- Mountain bike tires should have 30-50PSI pressure. Under this rating level, the tire may be prone to pinch flats when taking the not-in-use tire on the rough terrains.
- Casual and city bikes should have a pressure rating of 60-80.
- Road bikes with road tires should maintain the pressure at 100-140+ PSI.
- Always check the pressure when the bike is not in use
Your bike tires deserve proper maintenance. You should always check the pressure of the tires when not in use. I am not suggesting checking the pressure every day. But it can be better as a minimum of once a week. Premium bikes like a mountain, urban, and some road bikes with pressure gauges may need regular pressure checking. Low-end bike tires can be checked using external pressure gauges. After reviewing the pressure, you may inspect the tire condition.
- Note if there are any foreign objects
It is not so urgent or important task to many bike owners. But trust me, ignoring it can be a reason to get flat tires. I suggest you recall the last time when you rode the bike. Also, recognize the road or terrain you used; how smooth or even it was. Before leaving the bike, not in use, you may have to ride on the sharp objects. So, you should check out the possible casualties whenever you are going on the bike and bike tires alone for an extended period.
- Identify the quantity of deterioration
Bike tire decay is a familiar wonder that bike riders may experience. While leaving the bike in the garage, you should check the tire sidewalls to find any pops, aridity, and other indemnities. If anything is found, you should repair it first and leave the bike, not in use.
Can bike tires become flattened if not used?
Yes, it can happen to any bike owner’s bike. When bike tires are not in use, they may lose their pressure slowly. Hence, it happens because of the release of air molecules through the valve seal and tube. It doesn’t matter if you are using an MTB or Fat bike or a fixie downhill! You may have to face the issue of a flat tire!
The speed of air release from the tires to the exterior depends on the temperature. In the hot season, getting flat tires is higher than in the winter season. However, it is good to maintain the bike properly. So, I think now you know, “why do bike tires go flat when not in use?”.
Steven is a professional cyclist and his passion is cycling. He has been cycling for the last 6 years and he loves using bikes while outing as well. Based on his experiences with the different types of bikes; he is sharing his opinions about various bikes so that a beginner can start right away. Find him on Twitter @thecyclistguy Happy Biking.