Patch or replace?


New Member
Oct 27, 2018
I currently ride a Huffy Men's Cruiser 3.0 and its tires are a bit wider than your typical bike. In repairing a flat, I located the hole in the tube, the small wire that was the likely culprit, as well as an actual small chunk missing from the tire itself between 2 of the not-qute-worn-out treads. Its size appears to be just a little smaller than it would take to slide a pencil through it.
my item in question is - with a hole that small, is a boot patch sufficient enough, or should the tire itself be replaced?
Replace. Patches can last a year or a day. They are just meant to get you home. I would not put my trust in a patch.
an actual small chunk missing from the tire itself between 2 of the not-qute-worn-out treads.
NOT all tire patches are created equal ... nor are they necessarily applied well by the cyclist performing the repair ...

I cannot say how long a patch will last ... but, I would patch the tire AND buy a spare.
BUT, I will say that the tire needs to be replaced BECAUSE the tire protects both the tube & (ultimately) the rim.

Buy a new tube for the road. If the hole in the tire is from a small wire, booting it will not be necessary.

Carry a new tube as a spare. It's your insurance policy and you do want 'good insurance'.
The wire and the hole are 2 separate things. I've already patched the tube itself. But the rubber has a separate hole along the tread itself, a little bit smaller than a pencil
Patches if done right will last many years not a day or a year. I've had as many as 15 patches on one road tube do to goatheads, not the animal ones..., anywho, and those patches stayed on for up to 8 years before I got a hole through another patch and I said screw it.

By the way, glue on patches work really well, but all I have ever used in the the last 20 years of riding high pressure road tires as well as mountain bike tires is glueless patches, in fact the above example were ALL glueless patches! Prior to the last 20 years or so I used glue on patches for the previous 20 or so years because glueless patches hadn't been invented yet; so I started using glueless patches when 3M first came out with them and I've never looked back to glue on's. My first attempt at the glueless did fail, but since then the only ones that failed were none 3M or non Park patches. The Specialized Fatboy glueless patches use to work well but I can't find those anymore and not sure if they changed their composition since the last time I use them 15 or so years ago, but they were the same as 3M back then.

The key to success with glueless patches is using nothing but Park Super Patch glueless patches, no other brand will work for the long haul and I know this because I've tried a few including the newer Lezyne ones which I threw away after one failed in less than 24 hours. Heck for fun I once tried using the thick black Gorilla tape and it actually worked for about 24 hours, the difference with the Gorilla tape is I could peel it off without damaging the tube and having to deal with a goo on the tube like Lezyne. The Park glueless patches if done correctly cannot be peeled off without tearing the tube that's how well it adheres to the tube. Park bought out the rights from 3M which is the company that I originally started with. And with glueless patches you NEVER have to worry about opening your glue tube and find the glue all dried out.

The other key is proper preparation, which isn't much different than glue on patches. You first have to buff the tube in area slight larger than the patch will cover, only removing the sheen off the tube and not scrapping hard with the sand paper, this is the same with glue on as well. Next you clean the area with an alcohol pad to remove any tube dust from sanding the tube, this is optional with glue on but glue on patches will work better if you do this step, obviously wait till the alcohol has evaporated fully or the patch will die. Next you apply the patch by peeling it off the backing and only touching a tiny fraction of the corner of the patch, place it on by centering it over the hole then squeeze the patch on tube between your fingers and thumb as HARD as you can for 30 seconds, look at the patch, if you see frosty areas which usually the corners will be you need to squeeze those areas for 30 seconds until there is no long any frosty areas. And that's it your done. Glue on patches are easier to do for the beginner who doesn't have the preparation down quite right because the glue will cover whatever sin you committed in preparing the tube. Also with glue you have to put on a very thin layer glue in an area larger than the patch will cover then wait for it to haze over before applying the patch.

I do repair my tubes on the road instead of replacing the tube with a new one and then going home and fixing it, this is just what I do, it's not right or wrong, it's just what I prefer doing and here's why. First off I can roughly 75% of the time find the offending object in the tire before removing the tire, except I don't remove the tire completely in fact I don't even remove the wheel from the bike! That's weird huh? All you have to do is once you found the offending object or hole (by blowing the tire up with a pump if you see a hole to check to make sure the hole leaks air); you simply leave the wheel on the bike, remove about half of one side of the bead with the hole in the center portion of that half; next you pull about a 1/4th of the tube out of the half of the tire that is removed with the hole in the center area of the 1/4th; patch it; check the inside of the tire for anything sticking out and pull it out; reinstall the tube/tire back onto the rim and pump. Even if I have to remove the wheel off the bike I still prefer to fix it first if I can find the hole because I don't have to be bothered with taking the time to tightly roll the tube to get the air out to store in seat bag, by eliminating that process it takes as much time to replace tube then it does to fix the flat, and in fact if you don't have to remove the wheel it's actually faster to fix the tube than it is to replace the tube. The only time I replace a tube is if for some reason I can't find the hole after I failed to find it on the tire, and failed to find it after I took the tube out and pumped it up to find it, but not finding the leak while on the road is quite rare for me, probably 5% of the time I have to replace the tube and look for the hole later at home by pumping air into it again a listen for it by moving it across my ear or if that fails in a basin of water looking for bubbles. If you do have use a basin of water to find a hole make sure you thoroughly dry the tube before apply glue or glueless patches and prepare the tube just like I mentioned earlier. In that 5% time I have to put my spare tube in I've spent more time then another person who just went for the spare tube, but I'll beat or tie that guy 95% of the time.

People who throw away tubes after a flat I find that most of them just don't know how to patch and use the excuse that tubes are cheap to support their method, and there are riders of course that have more money then God and a tube is nothing but a couple of pennies in their pocket. But for the real world, a patch cost about 50 cents each, compare a 50 cent patch to a $7 to $9 tube...well you get the idea; but I'm a tightwad so I'm going to spend 50 cents first before I spend $7 to $9.
That's interesting information about glueless patches. I had never heard anything good about them, so I just avoided them. Perhaps I'll pick some up to keep on the bike instead of my little patch kits.

Several years ago, I started using Stan's sealant in all of my bikes (tubeless, clinchers & tubulars). Now I get a flat every three seasons or so and only when I forget to add sealant periodically.

On the road, I've always replace the tube, simply because it takes less time than patching and patched the tube at home. I have no problem with using patched tubes for riding.

FWIW, I've been buying Monkey Grip patches at auto parts stores, rather than using bike-specific patches. They're a lot cheaper and you can get the glue in a can that will last for many years.
The thing I found, is that by the time you roll a tube up squeezing all the air out so it will fit back in your bag you would have a glue on or glueless patch on, so I'm not sure what time savings you're seen. About 15 years or so ago I actually had a contest with a friend who could be up and running the quickest, me patching, or him replacing, now the way this worked is we were riding together and I had the flat he did not, we just decided to this on a whim for fun because he knew how I rolled. And to make it fair I wasn't allowed to leave the wheel on the bike and had to pull the tube completely out to fix it., so the timer began when we both pulled our tubes, fix or replace, reinsert and bead the tire, put flat kit or tube back in saddle bag, the timer stopped there not after inflation, I beat him by about 10 seconds patching. Not very scientific, but I think he and I both realized that the time to do either was about the same, of course I'm not waiting for glue to dry but I do have to press the patch for at least 30 seconds and usually at least one corner for another 30 seconds which is about (two to three minutes) the time it would take for glue to dry, plus even with a glue on patch you have to press the patch on, so really the glueless patch is faster in that regard, plus I used alcohol to clean the tube so that had to dry but I was getting my patch of the paper backing and reading it to apply which is about the same time the alcohol dried. Just saying that was my experience from that little game we played, not saying that's the way it is all the time, but it seems to make sense to me that it would come out that way due to the rolling the tube and deflating it to get it back in the saddle bag, of course if all you do is loop the dead tube around your neck then I lose! I'm pretty sure since I was only 10 seconds faster that had I been using glue on patches I would have been slower by about a minute. But for me even if I was slower by a minute or two, beats going home and having to spend 4 or 5 minutes finding the leak and fixing it.

I know I see things through different lenses than most people!
The wire and the hole are 2 separate things. I've already patched the tube itself. But the rubber has a separate hole along the tread itself, a little bit smaller than a pencil
If I had a tire with "not quite worn out treads" and a hole in it almost big enough for a pencil to go through, I'd say it's time for a new tire. And while you're changing the tire, put a new tube in and you should be good for a long time.
Most normal cuts and holes in tires can be repaired by using Gorilla glue or Shoe Goo to fill in the hole and or a boot patch, I've use both in combination but if the hole is smaller I use just the Gorilla glue, the problem with a boot patch is that it's only temporary because the patch will stick for about 2 days by itself, but if you spread the glue or goo around the inside of the tread in an area slightly larger than the patch then apply the patch and wait 24 hours with some sort of clamp or weight holding it in place the patch will stick for the rest of the tires life. That glue or goo needs to fill the entire inside of the hole from the outside to the inside. Don't worry about glue getting on the tread, a few miles of riding and it will wear off.

Some people I heard use duct tape instead of a boot patch, the boot patch is a bit thick and can cause a slight lump sensation as you ride on thin road tires (which is OK if you need to the tire to get you home), but duct tape is too thin and weak in my opinion, better yet use black Gorilla tape, this stuff is significantly stronger than duct tape and has stronger adhesive, in fact I'm considering carrying a bit that instead of a boot patch because it could adhere better than a boot patch.

Due to tubeless tires being on the market now there is an odd fix that may or may not work and since I've haven't had the need yet to try it I don't know if this would work or not, but if I had a hole like that and the tire was fairly new and my other attempts at repair failed then what the heck I would try it just to see what happens with a little experiment, and that is using something called the plug designed for tubeless tires. Follow the directions for the plug insert into tire, but since it isn't a tubeless tire you can't just leave the plug as it is because it sticks out on the underside of the tire which would damage the tube, so you take a very sharp blade and cut or shave the plug as close as you can to the inside of the tire casing, and that's it. I can't see why that wouldn't work but maybe someone here can explain why that wouldn't work since I have no experience with plugging.
Regarding changing tubes on the road, I don't bother to try to roll them up to fit in my saddle bag; I have jersey pockets that will accommodate a quickly-folded flat tube just fine. I think that's a more valid time comparison. Most of the time, I'm fixing someone else's flat (I use sealant in my tires and very rarely flat) and I just hand them the punctured tube while I install the new one, so there's no time wasted at all.

Why would you use Gorilla Glue in a tire? Polyurethane glues are designed to be used in tightly-fitted and/or heavily-clamped joints, in order to keep the glue from expanding into weak, worthless foam. It's great stuff for woodworking in the right application, but I would never think to use it in a tire. It's also not particularly flexible, which again makes it less than ideal for use in a tire.

Shoo Goo - or any of the other Goop products - is designed for bonding to rubber and works fine in tires (BTW, all of the Goop products are the same, with the exception of Marine Goop which contains UV inhibitors that the others don't). For boots, I use sections of old tubular casing with the tread peeled off, mainly because I have a lot of old tubulars kicking around.
I've used Gorilla glue and Super Glue, they both fill in the hole or cut from the outside, they will hardened and keep stuff from penetrating through the hole again. I usually use Super Glue but lately I've found if I apply Gorilla Glue when I get home to a hole or a cut it holds up better than Super Glue. Yes Gorilla glue does foam, but once it hardens you can either scrap off the foam with a blade or ride the bike and usually within 4 or 5 miles the foam is gone.

I found Shoo Goo not to be as durable for filling in holes and cuts, it eventually breaks up and comes out whereas the Gorilla Glue does not do that.

I haven't tried the Marine Goop so I can't comment on the pros and cons of that stuff.

Usually I find myself fixing other peoples flats as well. Since moving to Indiana from trashy thorny S Calif I've only had 2 or 3 flats in the last 15 years and I don't even use sealant or liners, just light weight butyl tubes in whatever expensive tire I can find on a huge discount. I have yet to even flat on my touring bike, but that bike would be a hassle to fix a flat if I'm loaded when it happens, so I use Schwalbe Marathon GreenGard with tire liners, with a medium weight tube to prevent flats.

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