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Tubeless Sealant leaking from sidewalls of tires |How to deal with it & Why it happens

Sealant leakage from the tire sidewalls is pretty common in bike tires usually tubeless-ready and tubeless tires don’t exhibit this kind of behavior but sometimes they do this as well and let me say this upfront that it is pretty normal and nothing too serious.

Normally normal bike tires that you may use as tubeless tires do behave like this because they are really porous and they are not built for the purpose of being run as tubeless so it’s necessary that you put sealant in that type of tires and they do leak from side walls after some times or even on new tires

Why side walls of tubeless tires leak :

There are two types of leaks that usually happen sealant leaking from the bead and sealant leaking from the sidewalls of the tires.

Sealant leaking from the bead :

When the sealant starts leaking from the bead then either the bead is not fully set up on the rims or the tire pressure is too low but there are instances that when you insert the sealant inside the tire the bead may be loose from one spot and it may be holding some of the sealants and when you inflate the tires that little amount of sealant may circulate around the rim and give the impression of sealant leaking from the bead.

If this is the case then just try some soapy water and pour it on the rim if you see bubbles forming in a particular area then try re-adjusting the bead from that spot.

if the air is still leaking from that spot then the tire bead may be chipped and the best way to deal with a chipped bead is

  1. if you have a tire warranty left or its a new tire return it
  2. give sealant some time to settle in the spot (lean it near a wall so sealant just focuses on the same spot)
  3. try gluing a thin rubber piece on the spot that’s affected

You can try other things such as tube patches to fix this kind of problem and they should pretty much take care of it for a long period of time.

But most of the time this is not the problem, either the tires are too old and the bead has lost its rigidity or you are trying new sealants that might not suit you well depending on your tires and rims.

Sealant leaking from the sidewalls of the tires :

typically a tubeless tire (not TBR tubeless) should not leak from its sidewalls because it doesn’t necessarily need a sealant and that’s their biggest selling point but sometimes they do.

When tires leak sealant or air from the sidewalls it’s a sign that they are more porous which is not necessarily a bad thing and its most common in TBR (tubeless-ready tires) and conventional tires which you might try using as tubeless these tires are mad to be run with tubes and usually their casing is much thinner than tubeless tires.

For these types of tires sealant and air, leakage is normal and the best way to counter this is to keep stringing the tire and make sure that it can reach every part of the tire

Pick up the tire vertically in your hands and keep them spinning for 10 to 15minuts and leave them overnight so that sealant can clog those little holes.

Once you are done with that use soapy water in the morning to check if the tire is leaking air anymore or not from the sidewalls of the tires of course, if it is then just try to hold sealant on those spots and it should take care of those spots in a little time.

The other thing that can happen is when the tire gets too old then the sealant can start seeping through the sidewalls quite often there is no permanent solution for this kind of problem other than buying a new tire, but for a short period of time while you are preparing to buy a new tire use you could try good latex sealants.

For these kinds of problems I would recommend using orange seal sealant and stan’s sealants, the orange seal would yet be a better option to use since it works really quickly and stan’s is good as well for sealing side walls.

New tires leaking sealant from sidewalls :

New tires do weep sealant from the side walls and it’s pretty normal as well usually this happens for 2 to 3 days continuously again the reason for that is a thinner casing and it usually happens with the TBR tires or with conventional tires that you are trying to use as tubeless tires.

and even if the sealant is leaking from the bead it is pretty normal to give the sealant some time to collage those spots and it should be just fine.

Also, it’s necessary to use a latex sealant for new tires as well because they stick very well to the side walls of the tires and give much better results than sealants like slime, and fixing a flat that re not latex but fiber based would not work well, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad they can be really great for road bike tires because most of the latex-based sealants usually will fail at higher tire pressures.

adding more sealant than recommended would be better as well because this way you won’t have to put much effort into trying the sealant to seal the tire.

Best sealants for tires with leaking side walls :

The type of sealant you use for a certain type of tire can save you money and time for example if you put slime sealant which is mainly used for tubes and put it in a tire that’s already leaking from the side walls it won’t do a good job of sealing it because the amount of latex in it is very little and it utilizes fibers to seal the holes in tires.

On the other hand, a sealant like a stan’s which used a vast amount of latex solution will do a much better job in these kinds of tires.

So the best sealant in my opinion and what I have tried myself before as well for this given problem are stan’s and orange seal course you don’t need to use them if you want to, but the point is to use a latex-based sealant because it would work much much better in tires with this kind of problems.

Note: when you are using sealants like stan’s and orange seal (especially orange seal) make sure that you apply the rim tape to the side walls of the rim as well because they contain ammonia (ammonia can increase rusting process) and while they might not do much damage in the beginning but over time they might do, so make sure you cover your rims side walls with rim tape as well.

Stan’s and orange seals both have somewhat of a short shelf life compared to other sealants and I did an article on How long bikes tubeless tire sealant lasts & increase its life span

How much sealant you should put in tires with leaking sidewalls :

When you are dealing with this kind of problem going overboard is okay because sealants do take time to seal and you can double up the amount or increase it by one-third to give the sealant a better chance to reach the sidewalls and coat them very well.

Remember that there is a chance that you would spill sealant when you are putting a lot of it in the tire but it’s okay because it will take care of the fundamental problem for you.

I did an article on Signs that your tubeless sealant needs replacement & how often you should replace it  If you had like to check that out later on as well

But remember to remove the excess amount later on because hopefully, you wouldn’t need to keep stopping up sealant in that much amount after doing it once, but keep it in there for 2-3 days just to make sure that it’s got every single possible area covered.

is it bad to Ride your bike with sidewalls leaking :

Not really, something to keep in mind if you want to ride your bike right away make sure that you top up the sealant more than usual and keep the air pressure higher by 8-9psi than what you usually ride on because the sealant would be trying to seal those holes and you would be losing your air pressure while riding.

and a little higher air pressure would also give room for the sealant to move quicker and splash around the sidewalls that you need the most at this point.

Other than that there shouldn’t be any problem but just in case do get a spare tube and ride with that because in case the tire starts losing air you at least have some kind of backup plan.

Conclusion :

I tried my best to cover the topic as in-depth as I could, and if this problem is new to you then don’t worry too much because eventually the sealant will kick in and the problem would be solved.

If you use tire inserts and you may have questions relating to tire inserts and you had like to read more about that as well here’s a good place to start Pinch Flats with Tire Inserts | Can you ride with pinch Flats and some quick fixes