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  1. #1
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    !Puncture Finding!

    It always takes me ages to locate a puncture so I can fix it. Does anyone else have this problem?
    Is there anything I can buy that will allow me to find a puncture quickly without fully removing the inner tubing or using a bucket of water?

  2. #2
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Inflate the tube (out of the tire) and listen or feel for the air coming out at the puncture.

    If you had the tire label positioned at the valve (see picture)

    and knew where the offending object entered the tire, you could use the wheel like a clock and say the hole is at the X o'clock position in relation to the valve.
    That's why many cyclists have their tires set up that way -- with the label at the valve.
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  3. #3
    Living 'n Dying in -Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Inflate the tube (out of the tire) and listen or feel for the air coming out at the puncture.
    As an alternative, inflate the tube (out of the tire), then remove the lid from your bathroom toilet tank and immerse the tube in the water. As you rotate the tube, look for a stream of bubbles, then visually pinpoint the leak.

    It's good to have a piece of chalk handy, to mark the leak -- it'll work fine on a wet inner tube, and wipes off easily when you're ready to patch the puncture.

  4. #4
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Pump it up, and slowly rub your fingertips along the tire. You can usually feel the air coming out.

  5. #5
    GATC
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    I find I can hear it leaking if I pump the tire back up and then spin it slowly w/ my ear next to it. Then I can pull out the offending segment of tube and look for the leak. Pump it more as needed.

  6. #6
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    The label at the valve is mostly for looks. It's only advantage is that it allows you to more quickly identify where the valve hole is on the rim. If the label were not there, you would have to look for the valve hole itself and continue from there. If you remove the tire to find the hole try to remember the orientation of the tube, otherwise you will be checking the mirror sides of the tire looking for any problems.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngomwamba View Post
    Is there anything I can buy that will allow me to find a puncture quickly without fully removing the inner tubing or using a bucket of water?
    No tool that I am aware of to aid in this process.

    Orienting your tire label or the PIS rating at the valve stem is a starting point.

    If you locate the puncture on the tire, can remove the debris, then maintaining the tubes orientation your can locate the tube puncture often quicker.

    This also can work in reverse. I had a slow leak, overnight the tube went flat. In a hurry I quickly examine why tire, found nothing, removed the tube, and did a quick look/hear and found a small pin hole. in a hurry I replaced the tube.

    When ride was completed, I located the pin hole and repaired with a patch kit and set the tube aside for a temp spare for later use.

    The next AM, found the tire flat again. Removed the tube, and with a bucket of water quickly found the hole, and it look almost identical to the first tube repaired. Then compared the placement of the hole to the repaired tube and it was in the same location.

    Examined my tire, outside and inside nothing was found the first time or the second, then turned the tire inside out in the area, and then found a small, real small piece of pointed glass. Was able to push back enough to see it on the tread side and was able to remove. It was smaller than a tip of a thorn and only penetrated the tube when at the ground pressure point most likely. I never would have located if the tire marking was not orientated with the tube stem.

    Have done tube repairs on the road side as well, but do recommend a good quality frame pump or CO2 system, a small pump took forever to restored riding pressure.

    All the best and hope you rarely require any of the advise extended.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bab2000 View Post
    Examined my tire, outside and inside nothing was found the first time or the second, then turned the tire inside out in the area, and then found a small, real small piece of pointed glass. Was able to push back enough to see it on the tread side and was able to remove. It was smaller than a tip of a thorn and only penetrated the tube when at the ground pressure point most likely. I never would have located if the tire marking was not orientated with the tube stem.
    If the marking was not lined up with the valve, the problem can still be referenced from the valve hole regardless of the marking location. If you are shifting your tire around then lining up the mark makes finding the reference quicker and easier.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Everything evveryone has posted is good advice. Just to add:
    Use a rag to wipe the inside of the tire to find something embedded in the tire. You don't want some pieces of debris to cut your finger.

    If the hole is located on the inside of the tube facing the rim, it is time for new rim tape for both wheels. Don't just replace the tape on the one wheel that had the flat, as the other tube will blow at the point furthest from home.

    Shells and glass can puncture and pop out, making finding the source difficult.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  10. #10
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    One more option is to run soapy water over the tube, where it bubbles, you have a hole.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yip812 View Post
    One more option is to run soapy water over the tube, where it bubbles, you have a hole.
    And if soapy water is not available, and you can not hear the leak, passing the tube pass your lips may be next best option. Easier if you know he general area, but I have found this to work every time, even the tinest, not visible to the eye puncture.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    2 suggestions. The first one is the best at home, the second is a mobile solution.

    1) use a spray bottle to spray a soapy solution in it rather than immersion. This is often what car tyre repairers do.

    2) The other method which you may not want to copy. If to run your lips close to the tube, as they are the most sensitive part of your body. I have always done this if I can not hear or see the puncture. I have never used water as it makes the patch harder to attach IMO.

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    instead of wiping with rag, try using a cotton ball: leaves a little cotton trail on whatever's inside your tire.
    gravity, friction, physical exhaustion: these are the demons you must slay in order to be a cyclist.

  14. #14
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman View Post
    The label at the valve is mostly for looks. It's only advantage is that it allows you to more quickly identify where the valve hole is on the rim. If the label were not there, you would have to look for the valve hole itself and continue from there. If you remove the tire to find the hole try to remember the orientation of the tube, otherwise you will be checking the mirror sides of the tire looking for any problems.
    Keeping the valve and label together makes it much easier to check the tire after you have located the leak.
    George
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    Keeping the valve and label together makes it much easier to check the tire after you have located the leak.
    I agree, and that is what I was stating. However, it is not extremely difficult to solve the location problem if the label is not lined up.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman View Post
    The label at the valve is mostly for looks. It's only advantage is that it allows you to more quickly identify where the valve hole is on the rim. If the label were not there, you would have to look for the valve hole itself and continue from there. If you remove the tire to find the hole try to remember the orientation of the tube, otherwise you will be checking the mirror sides of the tire looking for any problems.
    Not quite, IMO. Having the label at the valve lets you find a hole in the tube quickly when you can see something stuck in the tread, and tells you which area of the tire to check for leftover thorns after you've found a hole in the tube.
    For the OP, to avoid having to do that by the side of the road (as often, anyway), carry a spare tube and use it when you have a flat. You can patch at home at your leisure.

  17. #17
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    Not quite, IMO. Having the label at the valve lets you find a hole in the tube quickly when you can see something stuck in the tread, and tells you which area of the tire to check for leftover thorns after you've found a hole in the tube.
    For the OP, to avoid having to do that by the side of the road (as often, anyway), carry a spare tube and use it when you have a flat. You can patch at home at your leisure.
    This is what I do. But I also carry a patch kit just in case I get a second (or third) flat.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    Not quite, IMO. Having the label at the valve lets you find a hole in the tube quickly when you can see something stuck in the tread, and tells you which area of the tire to check for leftover thorns after you've found a hole in the tube.
    For the OP, to avoid having to do that by the side of the road (as often, anyway), carry a spare tube and use it when you have a flat. You can patch at home at your leisure.
    It's not the label on the tire that lets you find the hole on the tube, it is the relative distance to the hole from the valve stem that is important. The label only helps your eye find the valve hole a little bit quicker. My eyes are still good enough that I can find the valve hole even without the label marking its location . This label reference only comes into play if you completely remove the tire from the rim before isolating your leak. If you leave one side of the tire on the rim, the label reference serves no purpose other than to help your eye more quickly find the valve hole. For example if I had an all black label-less tire with a flat. I would pop off one side of the tire. Ease the tube out, leaving the stem in the hole. Pump the tube up slightly, isolate the leak, inspect the tire at that point, repair or replace the tube, remount the tire and go. The label serves no purpose repairing flats this way. Even if you take the tube out completely, you still have the valve stem to reference back to the tire.

    If you take the tire off the rim completely (I don't know why you would), then the label serves to mark the tires orientation on the rim. Although you could mark the tire-valve hole alignment yourself with a piece of chalk or grease or something. Again, the label valve hole alignment is not necessary.
    Last edited by masiman; 09-04-09 at 02:33 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman View Post
    If you leave one side of the tire on the rim, the label reference serves no purpose other than to help your eye more quickly find the valve hole.
    True, but I find it much quicker to just rip the whole tire off the rim rather than to carefully remove one of the beads while leaving the other one in place. It also makes it easier to inspect the inside of the tire when it's separate from the wheel.

    The convention of lining up the label and valve hole lets people still locate the approximate spot on the tire that corresponds to the hole in the tube after the tire, wheel, and tube have all been separated.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    True, but I find it much quicker to just rip the whole tire off the rim rather than to carefully remove one of the beads while leaving the other one in place. It also makes it easier to inspect the inside of the tire when it's separate from the wheel.

    The convention of lining up the label and valve hole lets people still locate the approximate spot on the tire that corresponds to the hole in the tube after the tire, wheel, and tube have all been separated.
    It is opposite here but my tire rim combinations run pretty tight, i.e. it can be a real pain to get my tires mounted. But I generally run performance tires which typically are tight to the rims. There is some variation between manufacturers and even between batches of tires, but in general I have to use irons to get my tires mounted where with different tires I could manually mount.

    I agree inspection is easier off the rim, but I don't need to dismount the tire in total unless the tube or early tire inspection prove otherwise. Overall, leaving the tire half mounted is quicker for me.

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