Here’s Why tubeless tires lose air over time and How to fix it

The rubber composition of every tubeless tire does not store psi pressure for many weeks, small tiny hidden holes are present in every bike tire through which leakage occurs, and bubbles are made from air particles that find their way to the external atmosphere, this process usually takes place when the tire is fully inflated with high psi pressure. air leakage is common for tubeless tires it is not an issue it’s a natural process for every tubeless tire.

Air leakage especially occurs from time to time through the sidewalls of the tire which is known as a bead, but it does not mean the tire fully deflates, the tire loses air pressure of 10 psi on a daily basis which shows that after every week or after 2 to 3 days you have to check the psi pressure of your tubeless pressure to maintain it regularly before going for a ride. it does not matter how high branded tires like Maxxis and DH tires you are using for your bike, air leakage also occur through them, the reason is that rubber used in the manufacturing tubeless tire for a bike is not so much thick as vehicle tires, that’s why air leakage is a natural phenomenon and even it is usual for new branded tubeless tires.

Normal air pressure leakage vs abnormal air leakage :

8-10 psi pressure is normal for mountain biking if you are running a bike on aggressive trails but if your bike is stored at home and still leaking 8 to 10 psi then there can be an issue because a normal standing bike with good quality tubeless tires leaks 1 to 2 psi of air pressure on a normal basis.

If leakage is more than 10 psi pressure then it is surely a problem with your tire it is a very sensitive and unpredictable problem because it’s hard to find the leakage of air from the tire, sometimes leakage occurs through the valve, spokes, sidewalls, rim beads, and mainly leakage occurs by misuse of sealant.

To quickly reach the root cause of the problems you can use sealant to try and see where it leaks from if that doesn’t happen you can use the methods listed below to fix your problem.

How do prevent leakage of normal air from the tubeless tires :

Leakage occurs through the bead seat of the rim, valve, and spokes. change the previous sealant when mounting a new tire, if still air is deflating then increase the amount of sealant.

Check the rim tape, old used tape causes air leakage, change the rim tape it is necessary to adjust the tape accurately because air leakage occurs through spokes without tape and the tire deflates completely within an hour or two.

Some tires require two layers of wrapping rim tape, it is not wrapped like a small scotch tape, while wrapping the rim tape stretch it by pulling force and then seat with the palm in the center of the rim.

A tubeless tire needs to be seated properly on the rim bead, for this purpose hand/floor pump does not work, and a high-pressure air compressor is needed to seat the tubeless tire on the bead. the tire fully expands and inflates and after some time you will notice the tire is seated on the rim.

Sometimes rim material also matters for air leakage, there are two types of rims.

  • Aluminum rims
  • Carbon rims

Rim tapes are also different for these types, you will notice some wrapping tapes do not work well for carbon rims because there are specific tapes that perform better on carbon rims while aluminum rim wrapping tapes do not work better on carbon rims and vice versa.

After installation of a new tire, keep the pressure of the tire high with more than 100 psi for road bikes or 50 psi for mountain bikes, after that go for a ride so that the tubeless tire would sit thoroughly on the rim by giving weight to the bike.

How To Check New Tubeless Tire Deflating or Losing Air continuously :

Air leakage is more common after the installation of a new tubeless tire, it is because of the sealant issue which does not go deeper into the seals and does not cover the entire tire internally. after 12 hours of installation check the air pressure and maintain the normal psi pressure by filling in it with an air compressor.

usually, this happens dues to the miss mountaineering of the tire, If that is the case most often even the sealant becomes useless because air is leaking continuously due to wrong seating of the tire on the rim, wrong valve seat, wrong sidewall seat, or wrong wrapping rim tape.

You can check these problems and fix them by following the steps below.

Fill the new tire fully with high psi pressure, put some water or soapy water on the beads/sidewalls of the tire, rotate the tire, and check from which place the tire is leaking air, you will easily recognize the small bubbles leaking from the rim beads which are the sign of air leakage through this place.

If air is leaking through these places then it’s the sealant issue whether it’s in a limited amount or it is a low-quality sealant or the tire beads are not fully wet with sealant.

Sometimes sealant dries in old tires which need to be changed with the new sealant, Whenever you do some maintenance on your tire always fill the tire with a new sealant and wash the previous one thoroughly.

Checking valve:

Sometimes air leakage occurs through the valve of a tubeless tire, the reason is that you have mounted the valve wrongly or the rim tape is not stuck on the valve place through which air is leaking continuously.

You have to screw the valve tightly by hitting a thumb force from the lower surface of a tire so that it will fit accurately in its place.

Checking spokes of tubeless tire:

Air leakage also occurs through spokes as a result of bend or broken spokes and the other reason is that rim tape is not wrapped properly or if the rim tape is not at the exact places of the spokes, sometimes rim tape becomes old and does not stay in its place, it removes out from its place, as a result, leakage of air occurs.

How Long Do Tubeless Tires Hold Air :

It totally depends on the casings and rubber of the tubeless tires, some tires have thick casings with more ply while some have thin tires through which air molecules leave the tire in a lesser time.

Tires are made with fibers some have a thick density while some have a thin density which plays a big role in air leakage.

Tubeless mountain bike tires hold air for more than 3 weeks with the present sealant and do leak air even if you are riding continuously every week. if your bike is not in use and standing for a long period tubeless holds air for more than 6 months.

The recommendations say that check the psi pressure of the tire after 3 to 4 days, on a normal basis tire, loses air 2-3 psi after 3 days, if you are daily riding your bike then 8 to 10 psi pressure decreases daily which is normal.

Pressure:

Road bikes have higher pressures from 100psi to 120 or sometimes even 130psi while the highest mtb pressure is around 50 psi and when you ride them you need to drop them to 30-35 psi for best performance.

and the higher the pressure a tire has the more it will lose it over time mountain bikes lose less pressure over time compared to road bikes because they have higher pressure.

Noncompatible rim and tubeless tire :

Sometimes the setup of the rim and tire is totally different which causes more confusion because if both are not compatible with each other obviously leakage of air occurs. it matters a lot even more than the sealant because the sealant is usually for flats not for the non-compatible rim and tire.

Temperature effect on the air pressure of tubeless tire :

In summers and winters always check the air pressure of the tubeless tire, in the winter season due to cold weather the rubber compound of the tire shrinks and closes together which causes an almost a decrease in the air pressure from 10 to 12 psi of air pressure.

In summers the temperature is hot and warm which also has an effect on the tubeless tire, size of the tire expands because the inner rubber compound of the tire expands due to which air leakage does not occur, in warm temperatures tire pressure increases as compared to the winters.

Do Tubeless Tires lose air faster than tubes?

Yes, it is true, because tubeless tires do not have tubes and it is totally reliant on the inner sealant but sometimes sealant does not work on aggressive trails and due to weather conditions tubeless tires lose psi pressure but tube tires do not lose air in any season, the tubeless tire is not safe it is in open contact with the external environment which creates many risk factors but tube tires are opposite to tubeless tires, these are mounted internally within the tires and sealant is not required and also the thorns and rocks of the aggressive trails do hits directly on tubes.

Conclusion :

These factors clearly show that tubeless tires are more sensitive than tube tires. and if you are concerned that they are losing air over time don’t be it’s a natural process but do check from time to time if there are abnormalities in your air leakage if that’s so then you have all the information above to troubleshoot your problems and fix them.

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