Learning how to ride a bicycle is one of those elementary rights of passage. It is a great way to encourage a child to get outside and get some exercise. However, your child’s bike getting a flat tire goes hand in hand with that. In the long run, it is cheaper to learn how to change those tires yourself than to take them into the shop every single time. Furthermore, children’s bike tires use the same repair format common to most recreational bikes, so once learned, you can change all kinds of bike tires.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need:
- Wrench Tire levers Spare tire Inner tube Bicycle pump or air compressor
- Tire levers
- Spare tire
- Inner tube
- Bicycle pump or air compressor
Remove the wheel with the tire to be changed from the bicycle. On a children’s bike, these are often attached by bolts rather than quick-release mechanisms, so you need a wrench to do this.
Use the tire valve to deflate the tire, if it is not already completely flat.
Take a tire lever and gently insert the round end under the tire, between the tire and the wheel rim. Pry the tire up and then hook the tire lever onto one of the spokes at the other end. For a small children’s bike wheel, this may be all that is necessary to remove the tire. If it is not, repeat the procedure with another lever.
Remove the inner tube from the wheel. Remove the tire levers as well.
Examine the interior of the wheel rim. There are a pair of wires that run along both sides of the rim. These are called “clinchers”; install the new tire rubber between these wires and the wheel rim.
Take a new inner tube and put it inside the interior space of your new bike tire. Align the valve stem with the matching hole in the wheel and thread it through. The tire now is partly resting on the wheel.
Stuff as much of the outer edges of both sides of the tire under the clincher wires as you can with your thumbs. Be careful that the inner tube remains properly seated and isn’t pinched as you work. When most of the tire is in place and it’s difficult to continue by hand, stop and grab a tire lever.
Insert the tire lever under one side of the loose part of the tire and gently pull it so it stretches out beyond the wheel rim. Use your thumbs to roll and pop the stretched rubber into place. Repeat on the other side.
Fill the tire with air using a bicycle pump or air compressor. Put the wheel back on the bicycle.