After you’ve identified the source of the leak (see the preceding section), follow these steps to patch the tube:
1. Lay the tube on a flat surface.
2. Using the abrasive paper or metal scraper included in your puncture repair kit, rough up the area around the puncture (as shown in Figure 6-3).
The goal is to remove any dirt or debris from the surface and help the patch bond to the tube.
3. Coat the tube with a thin, even layer of glue from the puncture repair kit in an area centered over the puncture and slightly larger than the size of the patch (as shown in Figure 6-4).
Allow the glue to dry completely before proceeding.
4. Remove the metal backing from the patch (leaving the side covered in cellophane alone).
Avoid touching the sticky side of the patch during this process. Doing so can weaken the patch’s bonding properties.
5. Apply the patch to the tube, making sure to center it over the puncture (as shown in Figure 6-5).
6. Press the patch firmly and repeatedly in place and, using a tire lever, smooth it out to remove any trapped air.
Leave the cellophane in place — it prevents the glue from sticking to the tire.
If you’re using glue-free patches, you’ll rough up the tube as in Step 2 and apply the patch directly after removing the backing.
Glue-free patches are designed to provide a quick fix to get you home and are not the long-term solution that the standard glue type patches can be.
Inspecting the tire
After successfully patching or replacing the tube, you’ll want to inspect the tire to make sure that there aren’t any sharp objects in it which could re-puncture the tube. Here’s how:
1. Drag a rag or a biking glove along the inside of the tire, in both directions, to determine if there is anything lodged in the tire.
Always drag the rag of the glove in both directions through the inside of the tire. Sometimes the object is at an angle and won’t be detected until it’s wiped in the opposite direction.
2. Visually inspect the inside and outside of the tire, looking for any objects wedged inside the tread or cut into the sidewall.