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Do patched road tubes last?

Old 05-04-22, 10:02 PM
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Dreww10
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Do patched road tubes last?

I don't flat too often and have always had a stash of new tubes around, so when I would, I'd just put a new tube in and carry on, never giving patching a thought. Now that tubes are getting little pricier, I'm wondering if a patched tube will last, because I have several in a pile with a single small hole in each. A new tube is around $10, whereas a patch kit (like Park's) looks like it might cover 2-3 tubes for $10. But do patched tubes really last long? If they do, is there any specific kit you all would suggest for longevity?
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Old 05-04-22, 10:15 PM
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Yes, a tube properly patched with a Rema kit is as good as new, and will last until something else takes it out.
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Old 05-04-22, 10:15 PM
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Yes. I'm just using cheapo generic patches with a big jar of autoparts store vulcanizing goo, think slime brand.
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Old 05-04-22, 10:24 PM
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A properly patched tube will serve you as reliably as a new tube would. I never throw away a tube unless it has a valve stem issue or large tear in the rubber - they get patched and put back into rotation. I typically will put in a fresh (new or previously properly patched) tube on a roadside flat repair instead of patching a tube on the side of the road, unless I have a ride with more than one puncture. I will bring the damaged tube back to the garage to assess and repair, normally waiting until I have a few tubes needing patches, and doing them all in one sitting. This gives a better chance of being able to use all of the vulcanizing fluid in the patch kit before it evaporates.
In my experience, the Park patch kits are pretty good. My preferred are the Rema Tip Top kits, but both work well. Just make sure to get a proper repair kit, and not the patches with pre-applied adhesive (like stickers). Those are no good and will fail.
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Old 05-05-22, 04:10 AM
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The key is to use a good vulcanizing fluid, which causes a chemical reaction that fuses the rubber pieces together, NOT ordinary rubber cement.
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Old 05-05-22, 04:23 AM
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I’ve patched lots of tubes, and patches work perfectly well. Park patches and cement do a good job, just make sure that you prep the tube (roughen up the rubber around the puncture) with the included sandpaper or scraper, and let glue set before putting on the patch.
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Old 05-05-22, 05:04 AM
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If done correctly, a long time. IME, that is true for both vulcanized and glueless patches. I have both on tubes that have lasted for a couple of years. I have one tube that has 4 patches on it.
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Old 05-05-22, 06:35 AM
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As others have said, a patched tube-using good vulcanizing and fluid and a Rema patch will last. If it's the front tube that was patched, I'll usually move it to the rear and put a new tube in the front. That's just me though, probably not necessary. I've never had a patch go bad.

Last edited by freeranger; 05-05-22 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 05-05-22, 06:42 AM
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Yes, a well patched tube will hold air just as well as a new one.

IME preparation is more important than the specific patch kit brand. You've got to get the mold release off the tube before anything will stick to it, so use your grater or sandpaper to get all the "shiny" off around the patch. I've used Rema glue in the patch, but now I'm using Slime from the auto parts store, and I haven't seen a difference. Had to ask for another box of 100 Rema patches for Christmas last year, I finally used up the first box.

Glued-on patches, I usually have something go wrong (like a blow-out, long cut, or the stem starts leaking) before I accumulate more than a dozen or so patches. That's probably over five years of service (I don't label tubes!). Glueless patches usually last me 2-3 years before they start to leak.

I usually accumulate a half dozen leaking tubes (replacing them on the road) and patch them on a rainy weekend. Sand one, put the glue on, sand the next and put the glue on that, go back and put the patch on the first, and continue. I'll do an overnight leak test the next day. Oh, one more tip: get yourself a sliver Sharpie to mark the hole, especially if it's a small leak you need to find in a sink full of water.
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Old 05-05-22, 07:13 AM
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'Vulcanizing' patches (separate cement-and-patch patch kits), in my experience, are as good as a new tube when properly (tube scuffed, cement left to dry before applying patch) applied.

Also in my experience, 'glueless' patches are crap. They might work for a while but I wouldn't trust them for any bike I needed to be reliable. Others have had better experience with them, but I have tried multiple brands on different occasions and was never satisfied - the extra one step and ~3 minutes to apply a traditional patch is worth the effort a million times out of a million.

I also carry a known good (new or patched) tube as a spare when I ride, as well as a patch kit. While patching is an almost 100% reliable fix, it's no fun on the side of a busy highway or in the pouring rain.
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Old 05-05-22, 07:18 AM
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Yes. Good as new.

Unless they are the peel and stick “glueless” kind. Those usually don’t hold up long term in my limited experience with them.
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Old 05-05-22, 07:24 AM
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I consider how frequent I experience getting a flat & for where/what type of riding. Justifying the cost of patching or replacing has those areas to consider for me. Keeping the damaged tubes around until I accumulate enough to open the sticky messy patching fluid can take a while, & I don't have a good spot to store them that keeps them conveniently out of the way.
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Old 05-05-22, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
I don't flat too often and have always had a stash of new tubes around, so when I would, I'd just put a new tube in and carry on, never giving patching a thought. Now that tubes are getting little pricier, I'm wondering if a patched tube will last, because I have several in a pile with a single small hole in each. A new tube is around $10, whereas a patch kit (like Park's) looks like it might cover 2-3 tubes for $10. But do patched tubes really last long? If they do, is there any specific kit you all would suggest for longevity?
When I rode a lot and before tough light casing was common I’d replace a punctured tube with a good one then repair the tube at home. When I got to three patches on a tube I’d replace the tube which was long before the tube itself was unuseable. Patched tubes lasted as long as new tubes which was upwards of ten years or more. I’ve only used peel and stick patches a few times 20 yrs ago and the patch was iffy. Only time a glued patch didn’t work was gluing in marginal conditions on the road or very old glue. Maybe 1% of the time. Peel and stick failed about 20%.
Store old tubes in a zip lock bag. In my racing days I used to store and install tubes with talcum powder but in the last 30 yrs stopped using talc as I stopped racing, rode less and tires became more puncture resistant
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Old 05-05-22, 08:07 AM
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A good quality patch (I prefer Rema, but there are others) properly applied can last the life of the tube. A compelling reason to replace a tube would be a blow-out too large to patch, or a leak in an unpatchable location, such as at the base of the valve stem.
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Old 05-05-22, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Yes. Good as new.

Unless they are the peel and stick “glueless” kind. Those usually don’t hold up long term in my limited experience with them.
These hold up.

https://www.parktool.com/product/super-patch-kit-gp-2

I have used them on long road rides and they work. Had an incident last year on a 100 mile ride where I got flat and put in my spare tube then 30 miles later got another flat so had to use the patch kit I carried. The patch held up fine for the rest of the ride and few rides after until I put a new one back in.

I'm the type that thinks tubes are cheap...buy most of mine from e-bay for $5-$10...So any tube that has been punctured I eventually throw it away. Eventually just going to switch my road bike to tubeless and be done with tubes just like I am on my mountain and fat bikes.
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Old 05-05-22, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
I consider how frequent I experience getting a flat & for where/what type of riding. Justifying the cost of patching or replacing has those areas to consider for me. Keeping the damaged tubes around until I accumulate enough to open the sticky messy patching fluid can take a while, & I don't have a good spot to store them that keeps them conveniently out of the way.
I just roll them up and stick them in a cardboard box on the shelf until I accumulate a half-dozen or more:



Then I crack open a 3-gram tube of glue and see how many I can patch with it.
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Old 05-05-22, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
The key is to use a good vulcanizing fluid, which causes a chemical reaction that fuses the rubber pieces together, NOT ordinary rubber cement.
It goes a bit further than that. Cold vulcanization is a 2 chemical process much like epoxy. The fluid has one chemical and the patch has the other. If you use vulcanizing fluid without a patch that has the matching accelerator, the vulcanizing fluid is about the same as rubber cement. Rema is the only system that I can say with certainty that uses the 2 chemical process. Most all of the others are just rubber cement.
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Old 05-05-22, 09:44 AM
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The only time I have trouble with patching is when the hole is adjacent to a seam in the tube.
But otherwise (as everyone stated already) properly patched tube is completely reliable.
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Old 05-05-22, 09:46 AM
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I also put punctured tubes in a box and patch them all at once, with a new tube of glue. I never keep opened tubes of glue, they just dry up eventually.

Additional tools:

a silver sharpie. I draw a 4 long lines pointing to the hole, so I know where it is if it's tiny. And it's easier to center the patch, too.
Real sandpaper! that tiny scrap in the patch box is annoying to use. I'll use a piece of 100 grit or 150, whatever I have. So much faster!
I use a corner of the the plastic patch box to press down the patch thoroughly. A screwdriver handle would be good, too.

(I clamp the finished patch with a woodworking spring clamp for a few hours. I don't know that it actually helps, but its easy to do.)

Test the patched tube on the wheel at home, then I treat it as if it's a new tube from then on.

Last edited by rm -rf; 05-05-22 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 05-05-22, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by MudPie View Post
The only time I have trouble with patching is when the hole is adjacent to a seam in the tube.
But otherwise (as everyone stated already) properly patched tube is completely reliable.
One trick is to fold the tube so the seam is on the edge of the fold and sand away. Faster and easier than sanding a seam in the middle of a flat section of tube.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
The key is to use a good vulcanizing fluid, which causes a chemical reaction that fuses the rubber pieces together, NOT ordinary rubber cement.
I use Rubber Cement and I have zero issues:
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Old 05-05-22, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MudPie View Post
The only time I have trouble with patching is when the hole is adjacent to a seam in the tube.
But otherwise (as everyone stated already) properly patched tube is completely reliable.
Just sand the seam down until it is flat. Then patch over it.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:30 PM
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I keep patching till the valves go bad.
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Old 05-05-22, 12:45 PM
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I have ridden on multipatched tubes and had no problems.
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Old 05-05-22, 03:25 PM
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As a kid I in New Mexico I had an old Schwinn cruiser. New Mexico is infamous for “goat head” stickers or thorns, these puncture both bike tires and bare feet with ease. The tubes in my old Schwinn were covered with patches, the rear tire had 18 of them. They still held air quite well.
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