Electric Scooter Flats: The Best Ways to Prevent and Repair Flats
- Read Time: 6 min
Tire punctures will happen, even on an electric scooter. It is a bummer but, what can we do? Well, actually, there are ways to minimize the risk.
Avoiding the most common mistakes should be a given and it is not difficult to do them.
We run through the obvious ones of what to do and what not to do.
Common Causes for Flat Tires
Flat tires can happen for many reasons, but often it is difficult to pinpoint the precise cause. Here's a list of common causes that might lead your tire going flat:
- Puncture by sharp objects
- Strong impact
- Wrong tire pressure
- Improper installation of the tire
- Lack of tire care
Puncture by Sharp Objects
If you hit a sharp object just so, it will puncture even a car tire. A nail or other similar object being run over by a tire at the exact angle it needs to penetrate the inner tube is not much you can do about it. The difference between a car and a scooter is that you have a chance to spot it better from the electric scooter and try to avoid it.
Avoid riding over broken glass and other sharper objects is the only way to go.
Hitting a curb at high speed or riding fast over rough terrain can also result in flat tires. And if you don't have sufficient tire pressure, you might even get what's called a "snakebite" puncture. The inner tube is penetrated in two places from the same impact.
Wrong Tire Pressure
Don't be that person who never checks tire pressure. Most electric scooter riders never do and it is astonishing how many ride with underinflated tires. Not only are they more prone to puncture but it also makes mileage suffer, not to mention overall performance.
Improper Installation of the Tire
If you need to replace a tire make sure whoever does it that it is installed properly. Cleaning the wheel rim and making sure nothing is pinched is crucial.
Lack of Tire Care
Check your tire valve and give your tires a look over regularly to see if something is lodged in the tread pattern. A nail or sharp smaller object can sometimes work its way through the tire.
How to Prevent Flat Tires
The first thing on this list is to make sure you have the correct tire pressure. An underinflated tire is more prone to puncture.
Correct air pressure is crucial for any vehicle to be able to travel with less resistance and friction and thus, longer range on the same amount of fuel/battery power. You can rest assured that the pro bikers in the Tour de France have the correct tire pressure as they know the extra energy it will cost if they don't.
Overinflating a tire is also wrong. Make sure to follow the recommended tire pressure by the manufacturer.
A standard bicycle pump is all you need. Get one with a built-in gauge. Makes it easier.
Use Tire Sealant
Add tube sealant, sometimes called tire slime, which is a liquid injected into the tire to help prevent flats and/or seal one that has already occurred.
This is a concoction of various types of fillers, fiber, and glue. It is added either to the inner tube or the inner tire (if it is a tubeless tire) through the valve. It spreads out and coats the inside. When a puncture occurs, the escaping air will force the sealant through that hole. The mixture then dries plugging the hole and preventing a flat.
This works for smaller penetrations. Debris, small pieces of glass, or even smaller nails should be ok. The smaller the hole, the better it works. It is easy and also cheap. It won't help against bigger punctures like a proper blowout.
Install Tire Liner
Another option is tire liners. It is a flexible rubber and plastic material installed between the tire and inner tube. They can prevent and even eliminate flats as they protect against penetration. This is only an option for inner tube tires. Most electric scooters have inner tube pneumatic tires though. A few select high-end scooters are the only ones with tubeless air-filled tires at the time of writing.
Check your tires regularly for any damage or other possible ongoing issues. Clean off anything that is stuck in places it should not be.
Kick your tires before riding to make sure the air pressure is correct. On an electric scooter, you can't see if the pressure is too low in the same way as on a car. And check the tire pressure at least once a week.
It is more common to suffer flat tires from reckless riding than from hitting sharp objects. Hitting something at high speed is a bigger risk of running a flat than a piece of glass for instance.
Avoid riding in wet weather. Not only because electric scooters are not exactly "water animals" but also because debris stick to wheels easier in wet conditions. Smaller particles can find their way inside the wheel, between the tire and tube.
Riding with your whole body, bending your knees over bumps, and under braking will preserve the tire longer. And never jump off curbs.
Replace Old/worn-out Tires
Trying to squeeze as much life as possible out of a worn tire is a surefire way to eventually suffer a flat. Overinflating older tires doesn't help either. Best to replace them sooner rather than later.
And if you do, depending on what type of electric scooter you have, you might choose an off-road type tire. On these, flats are less common. They are built to take more punishment and will not have a problem with broken glass or other types of similar debris.
Solid Tires Vs Pneumatic Tires
If you are hell-bent not ever suffering a puncture, then solid tires are the only way to go. There are different versions. But they all contain solid material with no reliance on air pressure. Some scooters are delivered with solid tires. You might want one of those. Or you get a replacement tire for your scooter if you have one with pneumatic tires.
But you should consider the following, a solid tire has poorer traction, poorer ride quality, a higher rolling resistance, and are less comfortable. And they are difficult to replace.
A lot of trade-offs to be considered.
The tire is one of the most important parts of any road-going vehicle. Performance, safety, and comfort are all factors that tire manufacturers spend a lot of R&D on. Just look at car or motorcycle racing and see how much the overall performance is down to correct tires and tire management. Proper tire pressure is not left to chance in those circumstances. It should not be for us regular road goers either.
The whole experience of enjoying the benefits of our electric scooters is so much stronger if we can avoid flat tires. Following the above simple tips should go a long way.
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