There are several reasons why you would want to learn how to let air out of a tire. It’s crucial during a tire or tube change or when fixing a puncture and after over-pumping a bike tire. So, how do you do it?
Start by opening the top cap that protects the tube valve to allow air to escape. But to ensure that air gets to escape almost seamlessly, hold down the valve with a metal object or your nails. Continue holding down the valve until you let out enough air.
Remember, however, that the technique may vary slightly depending on the valve type. We’re going to look at how you can deflate a tire tube with a Schrader, Presta or Woods valve.
I’ll also help you distinguish each of the three tube valves to help you know what you have.
How to Let Air Out Of a Tire – Your Three Options
Before you can start deflating your bike’s tire for whatever reason, you first have to know the type of tube valve that you have.
In general, there are three tube valve types as follows:
a. Schrader Valve (American Valve)
Schrader valves usually are shorter and thicker than the other tube valves. Usually, a rubber cap secures the valve.
You’ll mostly find the valves mostly on cars and motorbikes, and when it comes to bicycles, you’ll find them on mountain bikes.
b. Presta Valve (French Valve)
Unlike Schrader valves, Presta/French valves (View on Amazon) are longer and narrower and are popular with premium road bicycles.
Like Schrader valves, Presta valves are cap-secured. They feature a top ring or cap that you press down to deflate the tire.
c. Woods Valve (English Valve)
These valves look like Schrader valves, but they are more massive. Their working mechanism, however, is similar to that of Presta valves.
Woods valves are only found on bikes. But unlike Schrader valves, wood valves come as a two-piece. So, once you remove the top piece, the air will get out uncontrollably.
Now let’s talk about how you can remove air from tires with the three tube valves:
1. How to Deflate a Tire with a Schrader Valve
Now that you know how the Schrader valve looks like, here are the steps for deflating a Schrader valve tire:
- First, open your Schrader valve by disconnecting the top rubber cap
- Once you open it, allow air to escape from the tube valve
- Continue pressing down the needle on the center of the valve until you achieve your preferred deflation before closing the valve cap
Remember, you can hold down the valve stem using any metal object. That includes a pin cap, screwdriver, valve remover or needle-nose pliers.
And if you are looking to deflate the tire completely, you’ll have to hold down the valve longer until you hear a hissing sound.
2. How to Deflate a Bike Tire with a Presta Valve
Once you recognize that what you have is a Presta valve tire, follow these steps to deflate it:
- Remove the valve cap from the top part of the valve
- After that, unscrew the brass cap you find on the valve stem
- Ensure the brass cap is loose enough before holding down the valve stem using a metal object or your fingernail
- Continue holding it down until you achieve your preferred deflation level
- Once you are done, return the brass cap as it was not to lose it and to prevent dust from getting into the valve
3. How to Remove Air from Tire with a Woods Valve
Given that wood valves have a similar working mechanism as French/Presta valves, you have to deflate them the same way as Presta valve.
But given that these valves come as a two-piece, you have to remove the top piece, and air will come out. The disadvantage is that you would not stop air from coming out once you take off the top piece.
The advantage is that the deflation is much quicker, and you won’t have to hold down the valve stem as it’s the case of the other valves.
All you have to do is remove the ring-like circle on the valve stem before pulling out the top piece.
When Would You Want To Let Air Out Of A Bike Tire?
Here are typical situations when you would want to deflate your bike tire:
1. After over-inflating a tire
There is always a danger of over-pumping a bike tire. For one, it results in a bumpy and uncomfortable ride, which you wouldn’t want to experience.
Also, an over-pumped tire can easily result in an accident as it becomes harder to control the bike.
To avoid all that, consider deflating your bike tire slightly if you happened to have over-inflated it.
2. When fixing a puncture
Punctures are pretty typical for cyclists. When fixing one, you’ll need to first deflate the tire after diagnosing the puncture point.
That’ll allow you to fix it more comfortably before returning it to the wheel.
3. During a tire change
You have to deflate your old tire before you can replace it. By deflating it, you make its removal from the tire and folding easier.
Remember, it’s never easier to remove a tire even with little air. So, simplify the whole thing by first deflating it.
4. During a tube change
Like you have to deflate a bike tire when replacing a worn-out tire, you also have to do it when replacing an old tube.
By deflating the old tube, which is inside the bike tire, you also deflate the tire. Overall, you do this to ease the process of removing the old tire tube.
5. When transporting a bike
Sometimes, deflating the bike tire can help you make your bike less bulky, thus easy to transport. That’s more important when you have to squeeze your bike into a small space.
Why Learn How To Let Air Out Of Tire?
So, why go through the problem of learning to deflate your bike tire? If that’s your concern, then here are the convincing reasons:
- Tire protection – If you over-inflate the tire, it could be risky to ride your bike in such a condition. So, deflating it allows you to protect it from busting. Moreover, it enables you to reduce its pressure to a rider-friendly pressure level.
- Save time – You don’t have to waste time trying to figure out how you’ll get your bike to the mechanic. Knowing how to deflate a tire goes a long way in helping you fix your bike tire much quicker.
- Save money – Since you don’t have to take your bike to a mechanic, you save money. You get to do it yourself instead of paying someone else (a mechanic) to do it.
Tools for Letting Air Out Of Tires
Overall, you only need a metal object to press down the valve to deflate it. In that case, any of these tools can work:
- Pin cap
- Needle-nose pliers
- Valve remover
- Any screwdriver
Remember, if you cannot access any of the above tools, you can use your fingernails to hold down the valve. It’s, however, going to be more challenging.
Things to Remember When Learning How to Take Air Out Of a Tire
Remember these tips when learning to deflate a bike tire:
- Knowing your valve type is key
As I mentioned earlier, the method for deflating a bike tire depends on the tube valve type. You have first to identify your tube valve type to determine the strategy to use to deflate it.
- Maintain the correct bike tire pressure
When deflating your tire after an over-inflation, you must know when to stop. You wouldn’t want to over-deflate your tire.
Most road bike tires are okay with a pressure level of 90-120 pounds per square inch (PSI).
But if it’s a mountain bike or any off-road cycle, you’ll need to reduce the pressure level to about 35-60PSI for a more comfortable ride. That will allow the tires to absorb the bumps more and offer you more bike control.
Overall, follow the listed tire pressure when inflating or deflating your bike tire.
Now you know how to let air out of a tire. So, if you ever need to change your bike’s tire or tube or fix a puncture, use the guidelines that I’ve shared.
With practice, you’ll be able to do it much quicker and better, like a real pro.