How long bikes tubeless tire sealant lasts & increase its life span

This article explains how long sealant lasts based on both evaporating at high temperatures(where it becomes butter) and freezing(at which it becomes useless) at low either on the shelf or when inside the tire and also how you can increase the life span of the sealant itself.

The longevity of tubeless sealant is based on many factors like weather conditions, how much you ride, refilling over time and many other factors so here’s a short answer to your question on how long the tubeless sealant lasts.

The shelf life of tubeless tires sealants is almost 1 year for all the sealants, inside the tires it can last 2-8 months straight depending on various factors like weather, its components, and riding time

To drive the exact number here are the things that we need to explore. here’s a quick question was the sealant stored or were you using it if it was stored then what temperature was it stored at and how long it was stored all these little things can affect the life of a sealant.

How long the sealant will last inside the tire or shelf (According to famous brands) :

As I mentioned above it might take 2-8 months before the sealant stops working or driers off but that’s not very helpful to you so here’s what you need to know.

I went ahead and did a case study on 5 brands that comment on their expiration dates this way.

TIRE PLASMA SEALANT :

Chris Costello one of the founders of the E*thirteen company posted an answer to “does tire plasma sealant has an expiration date?”

When we first developed our sealant we attached an expiration date to it out of an abundance of caution to ensure that it was stable long term. To date we have seen no issues with sealant degradation over time and are confident it will last well beyond it’s expiration date. source
A very vague answer but there are more that gave a very clear answer.

DOC BLUE PROFESSIONAL :

Has a very clear expiration date on its product page saying that

DOC BLUE PROFESSIONAL can last 2-7 months while in use

Orange Seal :

Orange seal responded in their FAQ something like

On shelf Expiration period for their sealent is 1 year

Végétalex :

vegetalex wrote on their product page as

Their sealent will keep sealing puntures for 2-6 months depending on weather conditions.

Stan’s :

Stan’s doesn’t talk about their expiration date here’s what they said in their FAQ

Stan’s Sealant does not have an expiration date and will last many years in the bottle. Sealant bottles should be kept tightly sealed, and stored in a cool, dry place.

Not much to go about all of the brands discuss how much their shelf expiration date is or how much they will last depending on the season or the weather conditions of the region.

but if you notice there is a pattern and on its basis, I came to the conclusion that almost all of these sealants have at least 1 year of expiration on the shelf but to confirm what the expiration or the drying period was for these sealants I asked real people on different platforms to collect that data.

Here’s how it went

How long a sealant will last inside the tires based on experience (by people) :

I asked different people on different platforms like forums, Facebook, Reddit, friends, and family

here are the results that I derived from my own research that could help you.

temperaturesHow long sealant lasted
20-25 °C1 year
30-35 °C8 months
35-40 °C6 months or lower
40-45°C or above2-3 months

and these are the response I got, the list is too long, and here’s what they basically had to say.

Most people would leave their sealent on their shelf and after a year it was still usefull

But some of them responded as

It didnt last that long they either finsished the bottle in half a year or it expired after 2-6 months.

So I asked the people who said that it expired in 6 months what could be the reason that I expired so soon and what they thought why they expired

The people who did say their sealants expired sooner all had one common thing the temprature was high in their areas or they didnt store it properly.

Well, if it is not much to go on but here’s what they had to say and it completely aligns with what the brands said here’s what conclusion I came to after all that feedback.

Most people said that the sealant was still useable even after a year and they stored it in their garage or in their stores what that tells us is almost all the year the sealant was stored at room temperature.

Room temperature is different in different countries or areas but it’s usually around 20-25°C for most regions around the world so it lasts the longest at room temperatures.

How to extend the sealant life or expiration time :

All of the above information was from my own personal research but looking at all the numbers here’s the conclusion that I derived from all of it.

Storing the Sealent at moderate temperatures :

Sealants last longer in moderate temperatures and they last the least at warmer temperatures and areas, it might be the obvious thing to say but storing your sealant in a colder area is better this is not mean I am saying you should store your sealant in the refrigerator all I mean is storing it at moderate temperature and taking measures to ensure least amount of light or warmth gets to it.

This will prolong the sealant life and save you some extra bucks and especially it will always be available in time of need and save your time.

There’s also another important factor that the sealant will get thicker or dry off if it’s in contact with the air so always remember to make sure that the sealant cap is completely and firmly closed.

Adding propylene glycol :

adding propylene glycol to the sealant mix can substantially increase the life span of the sealant very much it also increases the freezing and boiling point of the sealant source

I didnt mention ethylene glycol because its not environmental friendly its toxic in nature.

While there are some conditions adding propylene glycol to the sealant.

proylene glycol is less efficient than ethylene glycol but still propylene is used because it is not toxic and vice versa

how much temperature difference do propylene glycol and ethylene glycol have :

There is a gap between the efficiency of both the solvents but the difference is not that much to be exact ethylene glycol will have 5-10C more freezing or boiling point for the same amount of solvent mixes.

that might be a little hard to digest for some of you here’s what I mean.

If we have a mix of 70% to 30% ratio of ethylene and water freezing point will go up as much as -55 °C and the boiling point at 106 °C the temperature value may change when it’s mixed with the sealant itself.

And if we have a mixture of 70% to 30 % propylene glycol and water the freezing point will go as low as -47 °C and as high as 103 °C

and so on and so forth, but the temperature values will reduce when they are added to the sealants themselves that’s why we see a shorter life span for the sealants.

Adding propylene glycol to latex-based sealants :

Latex-based sealants are water-based sealants and propylene will solve it. source

propylene ratiowater ratioBest for Areas
70 %30 % -35 °C to 45 °C
50 %50%-30 °C to 41 °C
4060-20 °C to 23 °C
All of these ratios are when you mix it with water.

This is an overview of how much temperature values it can add and that in turn can increase its life span but if you had like to know how much of it you should add to your sealant.

The best practice is to ask the manufacturer of your sealant how much they already added to the sealant and how much more you can add to it in most cases the ratio is around 30% propylene glycol and 70 % other materials like natural latex and other things added to it.

At most you should be able to add 20% more to the mix but it’s always best to ask your manufacturer how much you should add since they are not open about how much they already add.

will propylene glycol react with the natural latex or rubber compounds in the sealant :

No glycol doesn’t react with the latex-based Sealants, in fact, some brands use it in their Sealants, Stan’s uses propylene glycol mix in their sealants as well which explains why they claim their sealants won’t freeze or expire so soon.

So yeah if you are concerned that it might react negatively then no it won’t source glycol, in the end, is a solvent that dissolves in the water and the main component of the sealants is actually water it will react with the water not necessarily with the sealant compounds.

How much glycol do different sealants manufacturers use in their products :

No one knows it’s part of their policy not to discuss how much glycol they are adding to the mix and that is understandable they had like to protect their trade secrets which is perfectly fine.

Do you really need to use propylene for sealant :

This is something you should ask yourself if you really need it or if you are just doing it out of precaution, Either way, sealants are bad at higher temperatures or in warmer areas in the world but they work pretty well in the colder areas Stan’s sealant can withstand -30°C so yeah most of you guys don’t even need to worry if your sealant will expire sooner than it should but if you live in warmer areas you can follow this method and it will help you out texted it a little bit.

While we are on the topic you might think if you could maybe mix different types of sealant to increase their boiling or freezing points.

will Mixing different sealants increase their life span :

mixing different sealants even if they are both latex based is a bad idea I asked this question to manufacturers and in different places, and the results were not different in some cases the fluids became think and lost the ability to seal the punctures.

you might Also ask if adding glycol can extend the life of the sealant and why not most manufacturers are using that as their base and why they are using latex.

Why tubless Sealants are Latex-based and not glycol based :

You may are may not know that glycol-based sealants are used in tube tires and they have an infinite amount of life span but latex-based tubeless sealants are short-lived the reason for that is, of course, the base materials like latex and glycol.

Latex doesn’t have a high enough boiling point and works worst in warmer areas or higher temperatures but works fine in winter whereas glycol is a natural temp agent it shots up the boiling and the freezing point of the water which is the primary part of any kind of a sealant but there are a few reasons why latex based solution is used for tubeless tires.

Latex Based sealants Pros and cons :

there are many pros and cons and if I start writing on them there will be no end to them of course but here are a few that are valuable for you to know.

Pros :

  • Latex-based Sealants are cheap
  • They work better and quick(Latex sets quicker than glycol)
  • they react better with the rubber

Cons :

  • They can be dangerous
  • They may or may not be biodegradable
  • their shelf life is short
  • not good at higher temperatures
  • not good at lower temperatures.

so you might as if they have so many cons going for them then why manufacturers make it in the first place.

Well, they have a very unique stand-out point that has won over the customers and the manufacturers and that’s its ability to set quickly and efficiently, Although this works for them and also against them it still is the best thing working for us out their so might as well use it.

before latex based Sealants glycol based Sealants were the main thing.

we see a vast use of latex-based sealant in tubeless tires which are mostly used for offroad the tires are more prone to punctures than road bikes or other bike disciplines and they need something quicker latex-based sealants to provide that for these bikes.

pros and cons of Glycol-based Sealants :

pros :

  • they last longer
  • they are not toxic
  • environmental friendly
  • vary high freezing and boiling temperatures

cons :

  • expensive compared to latex-based sealants
  • not quick compared to latex-based sealants

Here you have it these are the reasons why glycol-based sealants went out of commission as soon as the latex-based sealants were introduced, they were not quick enough they performed very well at lower and higher temperatures but that’s what they had going for them.

Who uses Glycol-based sealants :

Glycol-based Sealants are mostly used in tube tires/road bike tires they are best for it because they perform much better at higher temperatures and exposure to the sun and road bikers or other discipline cyclists are more exposed to sun and heat.

Also for the reasons that they perform better in winter as well.

By how much time will glycol increase the life of sealant :

glycol specifically propylene glycol will increase the life span of the sealant by 6 months or more rember no matter how much glycol can control the boiling or freezing point of the sealant it’s still prone to evaporation or freezing but it will give it a good boost of lasting a little bit longer than what it already does.

Tip :

if you did buy tubeless sealant or if you are going to buy it from somewhere make sure you buy it in lesser quantities and before adding anything in it always test out the raw product first and see if it can withstand those climates and run it on your tires if you are facing problems of it freezing or expiring too early than in that case you have the knowledge to make do everything.

Conclusion :

before adding anything to your sealant its best if you do a quick call to the manufacturer of your sealant and ask them how much you can add or you shouldn’t add any at all because of the sealant already contain it in some volume and if you are living in rather harsh environments of the world and you can look into this as a option but for the most part you might not need it as much as you think.

But still, I wanted to write on this topic since no one was giving it much attention and it’s better to know than to act blindly.

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