How To Bike Deflate A Tire (Any Valve Type!)

There are many reasons why you might want to deflate a tire, overpumping it the most common but how do you deflate a tire?

Open up or remove the external cap so that the air can escape for a start. To ensure the air does leave the tire, you should apply pressure to the valve with an object. Keep the pressure applied until enough air has left the tire.

Depending on your valve type, the technique is going to differ and that’s the specifics I get into below! 😁

Why Deflate A Bike Tire?

As I said earlier, the most common reason for needing to deflate a bike tire is overpumping. To prevent this, on the side of every tire, you will find a safe pressure capacity and you shouldn’t go beyond this. 

Why?

It’s dangerous, particularly for road cyclists. I appreciate that it’s tempting because tires that are hard do give you less rolling resistance and this means less pedaling effort. Having said that, it can lead to your tires blowing up when you’re cycling and therefore you’ll have an accident. Not so great, right?

The risk of this happening increases when the weather is warmer as the hot temperature affects the pressure of the tires.

So yeah, ideally follow what your tire says before you overpump it, save yourself some hassle!

Bicycle mechanic fixing a tire

Changing Bike Tires

You may also need to deflate your tires if you are changing them. 

Taking the air out of the wheels can make the job easier. It doesn’t have to be much air to make the difference.

Change Of Tubes

Fairly obvious ones but if you’re changing your tubes, it’s easier to do when they aren’t full of air!

Fixing A Puncture

The dreaded puncture. It’s bound to happen at some point (the furthest point away from home if you’re like me…). 

Be prepared for this to happen! 

One of the best ways for you to be prepared is to learn how to inflate and deflate a tire as when you are repairing a puncture, you’re going to have to find out where the puncture is. To do this, you’ll have to inflate the tube. 

Once you’ve found where the puncture is, it’s possible you’ll have to deflate the tube and replace it with another one.

Honestly, I’d practice doing this before you find yourself having to do it on the roadside, in the rain! You can thank me later! 

Related article – The Best Bicycle Saddle Bags

How To Properly Deflate And Fold A Bike Tire Tube

Your first step is to get every last bit of air out of the tire. It’s easy to get most of the air out of a tire but getting the remainder of the air out is the tricky bit.

Presta valves are easier than Schrader valves.

You should start by getting as much air out as you can. Once you’ve got to this point, take the tube out of the tire and fold it in half. Ensure that the valve is sticking outwards and in the middle.

Roll each side of the tube into itself, while you’re doing this, you should keep the valve depressed as this helps to get rid of the extra air. Once you have expelled the last of the air you should unroll it and then fold it back. Again, ensure the valve is facing outwards. Keep folding the ends back on top of themselves. You can then use a soft string to keep the tube folded in place. 

My tip and strong advice is don’t use a rubber band. Over time they can become bonded to the tube so when you come to use it, you won’t be able to. At this point, I usually pop it in an old sock to keep it protected, and then it goes into my saddle bag for when I might need it.

Bike tire tubes

Tools For Deflating A Tire

You can use specific tools designed to help you deflate a tire. 

  • Pin cap
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Valve remover
  • Screwdriver

One thing to note is that if you don’t happen to have any of these tools handy, you can just use your fingernail and it’ll do the job. Sure, it’s going to be more difficult but if you’re in a tricky situation, it’s good to know.

How Long Does It Take To Deflate A Tire?

This will depend on the type of tires you have, whether you’re wanting to totally deflate or just partially deflate your tires. The weather outside also plays a part. 

The range can be between a few minutes or a few hours! 

If you leave your tire to deflate without interfering then it could take several hours. However, if you’re wanting to play a hand in getting it to deflate then it can take several minutes – especially if you use some of the techniques in this article!

Types Of Bike Valves

There are three most common bike valves, these are:

  • Schrader Valves. Sometimes known as American valves
  • Presta Valves. Otherwise known as French valves
  • Woods valves. Sometimes known as English valves.

Schrader valves are mainly found on mountain bikes so if you ride a road bike then you should expect to find your tires to have a Presta valve.

Related article – Tubeless vs Inner Tube For Commuting – Which Is Better?

How To Deflate Each Type

Each valve type works slightly differently so let’s go through the process for each.

How To Deflate A Schrader Valve

The Schrader valve is a popular valve found on mountain bikes, cars, and motorbikes. 

Compared to the other two valves here, it’s the most tricky but doable. 

There is a valve stem, which is surrounded by a threaded core. When you compare a Schrader valve to others, they are shorted and wider. 

So the first thing to do to remove the air is to take the cap off the valve. The reason this cap is there is to keep dust from getting into the valve. Once this is removed, you should push down the valve stem. To do this you can use a pin cap, toothpick, or a screwdriver. 

Keep the valve stem pushed down until you have expelled the amount of air you want to. If your aim is to deflate the tire completely then keep the stem down until you can’t hear any more air leaving the tire.

Want a visual aid?

How To Deflate A Presta Valve

Presta valves are very common in bikes. Compared to a Schreader valve, they are more narrow and longer in length. There is an external cap that protects the outer valve stem. 

Before you can deflate a tire with a Presta valve, the external cap will need to be removed. Once removed, you will see a brass cap, screw this so it goes to the top of the valve stem. 

You can then press the middle of the valve stem to expel air. Once you have expelled the required amount then screw the brass cap in place. 

Again, if you’d like to completely deflate the tire, keep pressing the middle of them until you can’t hear the air leaving. 

Then be sure to pop the external cap back on.

How To Deflate A Woods Valve

A Woods valve is sometimes known as a Dunlop valve. In size, they are similar to a Schrader valve. Though they differ in that they work the same way a Presta valve does. It has an outer valve stem and an inner one. 

So if you want to remove air from a Woods valve, it’s the same process as it is with a Presta valve.

Related article – Best Road Bike Inner Tubes

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Deflate A Tire Without Tools?

Yes, there are many ways to take the air out of tires without the use of any tools.

Using a sharp point will do the job! You need to ensure that you’re pressing down on the middle of the valve stem.

I’ve used a toothpick and a penknife in the past – both successfully! 

Why Does My Bike Tire Keep Going Flat?

There are many reasons why your bike tire keeps going flat. The most common reasons are:

  • Outer tube puncture
  • Inner surface tube puncture
  • Pinch bite
  • Worn out rim tape
  • Tire blow out
  • Valve failure

All of these issues are fixable, it’s just a case of diagnosing them first! 

Here are a few examples!

At what PSI will a tire explode?

This will depend on your tire specifically as there are different PSI levels for different tires. A perfect PSI level for one tire might cause another to explode.

The best thing to do is to check the side of your tire and it will tell you the correct pressure.

Final Thoughts

Are you feeling much happier about deflating your bike tires now?

I’d recommend practicing when you have a spare afternoon and getting confident with the process so that when you do need to deflate a tire in a stressful situation, you won’t panic!

Know your valve type and you’re halfway there! Roll on!

Hi, I'm Harry, the owner of this site! A 30-something MAMIL - a middle-aged man in lycra. An avid cyclist who is looking to maintain a baseline level of fitness to be able to enjoy the great outdoors on weekend rides with his mates!

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