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Tubeless Tire Maintenance Guide for Beginners

November 20, 2023

Tubeless tire systems offer numerous advantages, allowing riders to brave punctures without fear and support lower tire pressure for enhanced comfort and traction. While they're often considered a set-and-forget solution, the sealant within these tires can dry out over time, leaving you vulnerable to flat tires. In this article, we'll guide you through maintaining your tubeless tire system.

How often should you replace the sealant?

As a general rule of thumb, it's recommended to replenish the sealant every 3 to 6 months, with a complete tire disassembly and inspection advised every 12 to 18 months.

It's important to note the diversity of sealant brands available in the market today, each with unique characteristics. Adjust the replacement schedule based on factors like brand, climate, riding frequency, and storage conditions.

Tools Needed for Maintenance:

1. Fresh sealant

2. Sealant injector (optional)

3. Zip ties and scissors (optional)

4. Tire levers

5. Tubeless tire inflator

6. Valve core removal tool

Maintenance Steps:

**Step 1: Deflate the Tire**

Using a dedicated tool, unscrew the valve core counterclockwise. In urgent situations, pliers can also be used. If the valve spins during disassembly, use another pair of pliers to stabilize it while unscrewing.

**Step 2: Check Sealant Level**

To avoid frequent sealant refills, use a zip tie inserted into the valve to estimate the remaining sealant volume. Position the valve at six o'clock so that the sealant settles at the bottom. Then, insert the zip tie for a rough estimation. If the sealant level surpasses one centimeter on the tie, it's typically sufficient. Reinstall the valve and inflate the tire.

If the sealant level is low, you can either use a dedicated injector or manually pour the sealant into the tire. However, the latter can be more cumbersome.

**Step 3: Tire Disassembly Inspection**

If you lack a sealant injector or desire a more thorough inspection, use tire levers to remove the tire. Be cautious during disassembly as spilled sealant can soil your workspace.

During inspection, if the sealant appears completely dried or congealed, thorough tire cleaning is necessary. Congealed sealant only adds unnecessary weight. Check for severe cuts on the tire and examine the tire liner for wear. Replace if necessary. Additionally, cleaning the removed valve core is recommended as sealant can cause it to stick. Isopropyl alcohol works well as a cleaning agent.

**Step 4: Replenish Sealant**

Once all components are cleaned and maintained, refill the tire with the recommended amount of sealant. The suggested amount may vary based on tire size and width.

**Step 5: Tire Reinstallation**

After reinstalling the tire, use a tubeless tire inflator or pump to inflate it. Shake the tire vigorously to evenly distribute the sealant on the tire walls. After a brief test ride without issues, you're good to go explore worry-free!

Maintaining your tubeless tire system ensures optimal performance and reduces the risk of unexpected flat tires. Regular checks and timely sealant replacements are key to a smooth riding experience.

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