Inflate A Bike Tyre With A Schrader Valve Or Auto Valve

The recommended pressure to inflate a tyre to is usually embossed on the tyre’s sidewall, often as minimum and maximum figures rather than an exact target. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding how hard your tyres need to be(link to tyrepressurecheck.html)

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Step 1 – Check The Schrader Valve & Deflate The Tyre
Find the Schrader valve and remove any dust-cap.

Step 2 – Check valve
If the valve hasn’t been opened for a while release a short hiss of air to check it’s not stuck. The same process, holding the valve open longer, deflates the tyre.

Step 3 – Schrader Valve or Auto Valve
Release air by pressing down on the valve stem. A match stick or some other small blunt tool may be helpful.

Pro Tip
The dust cap on a Schrader valve is part of the system that retains air. If the valve doesn’t have a cap the tyre will deflate noticeably sooner.

Step 4 – Connect The Pump
The hose or pump connection may screw on or press on. Some push fit connections lock with a cam lever. To check the correct operation of the connection look at the rubber washer and move the lever back and forth. The the ‘locked’ position squeezes the washer, the ‘on-off’ position lets the washer relax. The rubber washer in a pump connector wears out with use. It needs to be replaced when it stops gripping valves to give an air-tight sea. It’s considerable easier to inflate a tyre when you’re pump has a good seal.

Step 5 – Schrader
A push fit connection to a Schrader valve usually needs a locking lever. A small amount of air is released when the connector goes on or off. Pull the connector off briskly, parallel to the valve, to minimise the air loss after pumping.

Step 6 – Inflate a tyre – pumping
Fully open and fully close the pump with each stroke. It’s important to press the piston right to the end of it’s travel to force air into the tyre. If you stop too soon the air in the pump will tend to compress rather than flow into the tyre.

Step 7 – Floor or Track Pumps
Place both feet on the rests to stabilise the pump. Open the pump fully at the start of each stroke. As you get to the bottom of the stroke you can use your body weight – rather than your arms – to force the last bit of air out of the chamber by softening your knees. Using the full stroke is a more efficient way to inflate a tyre.

Step 8 – Hand Pumps
It helps if you can brace the connection between the Schrader valve and the pump by hooking a finger or two around the tyre or spokes. Plant your feet and try to position yourself so you can get your shoulder behind the piston of the pump.

Pro Tip
If you’re not sure exactly how hard you want your tyres to be, you can always inflate a tyre to the maximum recommended. If – when riding – you feel the road is shaking you about and bouncing you off the ground, it’s much easier to let a little air out than to pump more in.

Pro Tip
Many modern pumps can be converted between Presta and Schrader fitting, by dismantling the connection and reversing the direction of parts.

#BikeRepair #HowTo #BicycleMaintenance


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Comment (14)

  1. I recently got a hand pump with 2 nozzles at the end wirh a 90 degree grip lever (the common, plastic ones). However, it only seems to push air through the wider nozzle while I need to utilize the narrower one. How do I go about 'switching' it?

  2. Thanks but it's not working for me it just won't lock. I had a flat front tyre I tested the pump on the back tyre to make sure pump still works now I have two flat tyres I feel really stupid I can't work a bicycle pump. Put bike back on garage given up.

  3. I have a Huffy mini pump that is a complete piece of shit.. first time I ever went to use it, I was trying to tip my bike tire off. Instead of filling it all it did was cause ALL of the air out of the tire… now I can’t fill it at all.


  4. My bike is resisting air. I pressed the button to see if the valve was stuck and it wasn't. When I pull my pump up it won't let me puck the air into the tire no one knows what's going on my inner tube I think it's fine because my tired was still inflated until last night after I pushed the inner button in the valve when I woke up today my tire was complete deflated

  5. What if the Schrader valve is half the length of a regular one… my tire valves are barely coming out of the rim. I can attach my pump, but the valve is too short to take the air. Wtf is going on here lol. Can't fill it up, because the valve is only like 1cm out of the rim

  6. how can you tell if it is pumped enough? i don't have the pump which indicates the amount of pressure in the tire. I dont want to over tires, though when i side on my bike the tire is very slightly flatter on the bottom, but when I touch it it feels hard enough and is completely round when i am not on it. i weight 125 pounds.


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