Change a pushchair inner tube

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How to repair a puncture or flat tyre on your pushchair, pram, buggy or stroller

 We know that, according to Cyclaire's First Law of Pushchair Inner Tubes, that a puncture will always occur at a time that causes maximum stress and inconvenience.

With that in mind, we put together this guide to help you to repair pushchair punctures as quickly and effectively as possible.

Whilst it is possible to repair an inner tube with glue and patches, it is much easier, much faster and more likely to be successful to simply replace the tube with a new one.

First of all, you may need to remove the wheel.  In most cases, this is not necessary.  If the wheel is unimpeded by the pushchair frame, there is no need to remove it.

 If the wheel has a part of the pushchair frame around it on both sides, it will need to removed to enable the inner tube to be replaced.  Usually this is very easy and the instruction booklet that came with your pushchair will tell you what you need to do.

Now, let any remaing air out of the tyre.  Do this by pushing the stem in the middle of the valve in a little (you can do this with the corner of a tyre lever or a 1p coin or even your finger nail).  As you press the stem in, you will feel any air in the inner tube escaping.  Press down on the tyre a little to make sure you get all the air out.  Once all the air is out, move on to the next stage

Now to partially remove the tyre to get at the inner tube.

Starting opposite the valve, push one bead of tire towards the centre of the rim.  Go right round the tyre and make sure it is not stuck to the rim anywhere on that side.

 Again opposite the valve, use a tyre lever (or the end of a blunt teaspoon handle) to ease the bead of the tyre over the rim.

From this position, push the tyre lever down and then work it round the tyre to ease the whole of one side over the rim.

 In most cases, one lever is enough to loosen the tyre sufficiently that the whole of the bead can be eased over the rim.  In rare cases you might need to use a second tyre lever about an inch further round the tyre:  Put both tyre levers in position and push them down together.

Again opposite the valve, reach inside the tyre and gently pull the inner tube free.  Push the valve through the hole in the rim and, voila, the old tube is out.  Good work!

Now, very carefully run your fingers around the inside of the tyre.  You are feeling for anything sharp that might have caused the puncture, so care really is needed here.  There might, for instance, be a thorn sticking through the tyre.  Do this a few times - its easy to miss something and there is nothing more frustrating than putting the new inner tube in, blowing it up only for it to go down again straight away because you missed a thorn (we've done it and we know)!

Once you are sure there is nothing in the tyre that could cause another puncture, you are ready to fit the new tube.

Start by pushing the valve through the hole in the rim and then gently tuck the inner tube inside the tyre all the way round.  Put a couple of pumps of air into the tube, just enough to give it shape.  This makes it much easier to get the inner tube inside the tyre properly.  Once its in, let all the air out again.

Starting at the valve area, use your thumbs to push the bead of the tyre back over the rim and then, working your thumbs around the tyre - one thumb in each direction, continue to push the edge of the tyre over the rim until it is all sitting neatly.

Pump up the tyre so it is firm but a bit spongy - usually around 30 psi for pushchairs and there you are, ready to roll.

If a tyre is a tight fit, you might need to use your tyre lever to slip the last bit of the tyre over the rim.  Be very careful that you do not nip the inner tube against the rim with the tyre lever - you will cause a puncture if you do so.

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