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How do I Fix a Flat Wheelbarrow Tire?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 16, 2024
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Fixing a flat wheelbarrow tire, as opposed to buying a new one, is something that many do-it-yourselfers can accomplish in just a short amount of time. Not only does this often save money, it will reduce the impact on the environment. There are a few methods for fixing a flat wheelbarrow tire, depending on the reason it's flat. If your tubeless wheelbarrow tire has been punctured, using a tire repair kit, which can be found at most automotive or DIY stores, could be the answer. If the tire is leaking from the area where it sits on the rim, the tire probably just needs to be reset, which can be accomplished using ordinary dish soap or a ratchet strap.

Puncture holes in tubeless wheelbarrow tires are not uncommon, because of the strain put on these garden supplies. The first step to repairing them is to find out exactly where the tire has been punctured. Sometimes a nail or screw can be seen sticking out of the tire, but other times, the hole may be a little harder to find.

To pin down a puncture hole in a flat wheelbarrow tire, a solution of soapy water can be used, mixing the soap and water at a one to one ratio. Next, apply this mixture to the tire and add air with an air compressor. The location of a puncture can be found wherever the soap mixture starts to bubble, and it should be marked using chalk or a small strip of tape.

Most tubeless tire repair kits come with one or more plugs and two tools to aid you with the repair. The long, circular file with a handle, referred to as a tire reaming tool, is the first one that should be used. Push this into the hole in the tire and twist it in and out a few times to roughen the edges of the hole. This will mar the edges of the hole, which will help the plug stay in place.

After the hole in the flat wheelbarrow tire has been reamed, the next step is to add the plug. The other tool that come in these kits often resembles a larger version of the eye of a needle attached to a handle on the other end. The plug should be put through this needle, and half of it should be hanging out on either side. Push this through the hole until there is roughly 0.25 to 0.5 inch (0.6 to 1.3 cm) of the plug sticking out of the outside of the tire. Yank the tool out of the tire, leaving the plug inside, trim off any excess plug, and re-inflate the tire.

If there is a leak around the tire where it sits on the rim, called the bead, the flat wheelbarrow tire most likely needs to be reset. Before attempting this, first clean the bead and rim thoroughly. After it has been cleaned, coat the rim with a generous amount of soap, preferably dish soap. Inflate the tire using a compressor until the tire bead sets on the rim, which can usually be heard as a sharp popping noise.

If the tire bead fails to set on the rim using the soap method, a ratchet strap or heavy rope may be used. To do this, wrap the strap around the tread of the tire and tighten it. Add air until the bead sets on the rim. Remove the strap, and continue to add air until the tire is fully inflated.

Some companies have begun manufacturing wheelbarrow tires that never go flat. These are typically made from polyurethane foam with tiny air pockets throughout, and they are sold with or without the rim. A flat-free wheelbarrow tire is designed to let you go about your yard work without the risk of putting damaging holes in the tire.

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Discussion Comments
By anon997609 — On Feb 02, 2017

Most old wheelbarrow tires have a metal rim. The metal rusts and creates little air paths which eventually lead to a flat tire! I took my rubber wheel off and wire wheeled the rim clean. I then used alcohol to clean the rim where the bead of the tire will sit and then applied silicone adhesive the bead seat. I let it cure and carefully installed my tire. Then I used 5/8" foam backer rod to seal the rims so I could use my home compressor to fill the tire. I fill it until I know its inflating the tire and then I stop and pull the backer rod out of the tire and then inflate the tire to pressure. I submerge this tire in a water bath and at 30lbs of pressure there were absolutely no leaks! Hope this helps someone.

By Animandel — On Mar 05, 2014

This is a very helpful article. I was at an estate sale last weekend looking for used yard tools and equipment. I saw several old wheelbarrows at really good prices.

There was wheelbarrow I really liked. It was in better condition than the others I saw; it had no rust. However, it had a flat tire and I decided not to buy it because of the tire. I had no idea I could repair the wheelbarrow myself, and so simply.

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