Sealing motorcycle tires is a trend that has taken shape real fast. Tires are sealed with a special sealant as a preventative or corrective agent when a puncture occurs. Fibers in the sealant automatically create a self-sealing layer over the puncture and can cover damage of up to ¼ inch in diameter.
Sealing your tires is a basic and straight forward procedure that you can effect on your own. When using a sealant as a preventive agent, you introduce it into the tire and it stays in the same liquid form until when a puncture occurs. Once it occurs, the escaping air pushes the liquid sealant towards the puncture, using the centrifugal force of the spinning tire. The sealant, using the fibro-seal technology employed by the sealant, quickly forms a protective dam that seals up the puncture. It will prevent your tire from suddenly going flat once it starts to lose air. Tire sealants are composed of a super mix of polymers, binders and various congealing agents.
Sealing your tires is not a permanent solution to repairing punctures; you should have your tire repaired at the next repair station. If not, do not ride on it on for more than three days or at most, 100 miles.
There are sealants you can pre-install in your tires (Preventive) and there are some you may use as soon as you realize you are losing pressure (Corrective). If you have not done sealing application yourself before, here are some easy steps to follow in sealing your motorcycle tire;
Take out the tube for easy access to the valve.
If you can manage to access the tube ale without necessarily taking it out, then that is also fine. You could just pop it off from one side of the rim. You can improvise and make a plastic tube that you can use to put in the sealant through the vale to reduce spillage. If you purchase a sealant that comes with a tube, then you are in luck.
Take off the valve core.
A lot of sealants come with a removal tool, but if your choice does not, once again you will have to improvise. It is an easy process but requires care and precision. First, you take off the dust cap and then insert the removal tool right up to the end of the valve. At this point, you turn it slowly and carefully until you can feel the teeth slipping into the recesses inside the valve core. Once this happens now turn it in an anti-clockwise motion until the valve core is free of the threads in the valve stem.
Put in the Sealant.
Pour in the sealant into the empty vale system while ensuring minimal spillage. Also, if you are doing this in an environment that you need to keep clean, line the surface with protective material to make it easier to clean up. Once you are done, put everything back together and get ready to hit the road confidently. It is as easy as that.
Is it safe to use tire sealants?
You have to remember that sealing tires is a temporary fix and must not be used as a permanent tire fix. It is perfectly safe to use sealant for your tires but you must observe a few safety rules;
- Do not ride out too long once you have a puncture. Ensure you replace your tire or tube before hitting the 100-mile mark.
- Ensure you get a sealant that suits your bike and that it is well installed. There are dozens of sealants in the market and you could check for recommendations with your dealer before settling on a particular brand.
- Keep away from flames when applying as most sealants are highly flammable. Do not smoke as you do the application either.
- Sealing is not recommended for tubeless tires and it is best to check with your dealer or repair merchant before using it on your tubeless motorcycle tires. There are increasingly more sealants suitable for tubeless tires incoming into the market currently.
Advantages of sealing motorcycle tires.
- It is perfect in giving you a cover in emergencies. It gives you time to ride to a repair station as opposed to stalling in the middle of the road situations.
- The self-sealing feature of the sealant protects the tire and extends its life span by protecting it against sudden punctures and blowouts.
- It is easy to apply and can easily be removed if you do not want to use it for whatever reason.
- Enhances the safety of your riding experience. Sudden blowouts and punctures that could throw your bike off balance are unlikely to happen.
- It is economical. One application is enough to last your tire its entire lifespan. You do not need to keep refilling and it is usable in both tubeless and tube tires.
- It saves you a lot of time trying to locate leaks as they are instantly sealed as soon as they begin losing air.
Disadvantages of sealing motorcycle tires.
- It is not a permanent solution. Trying to use it as a permanent fix could have disastrous and catastrophic repercussions. It is also not recommended for extremely high performing tires as in the case of superbikes.
- If the proper application is not done, or the tire movements are not enough to move and warm it well within the tire, it may damage the tire by settling at the bottom of the lowest point. It could cause tire wrinkling that could cause an accident.
- The chemicals in the sealant may be harmful and corrosive, damaging the tubes or tires if kept on too long.
Is sealing your motorcycle tire worth the time and effort?
It definitely is a worthy purchase. Sealants cost anything between $5 and $12 and will last a long time. A can could last you anything between 6 months to more than a year as long as you use sparingly and not wastefully. While it saves you the effort of having to always carry a replacement tube every time you are riding, it still accords you a lot of time saved dealing with punctures and tire changes.
Sealing motorcycle tires does not work when damage is highly extensive. When you run over large sharp materials that make huge gashes on your tires, sealing will not aid in any way. Your first and safest option should always be in replacing your tires especially in case of such incidents.
Sealant should also not be installed as a way to balance the tires, this is not its core function (although it aids). Have your wheels balanced at the dealer’s if you feel they are not well balanced?
Remember that tires can still be professionally repaired even after the use of a sealant. The professional just need to be aware of it so he can clean it out and go ahead to either patch or plug the tire.
So what is the verdict on the use of sealing tires with the riders’ community, to seal or not to seal? This is a definite no-brainer, when there is a product out to enhance and provide comfort when you ride, then, by all means, go for it!