Electric Scooter Tire Repairs: How to Fix Flats and Replace Tires

zoomed-in shot of the tire wheel of the Apollo Air e-scooter

zoomed-in shot of the tire wheel of the Apollo Air e-scooter

The Apollo Air uses large, 10-inch pneumatic tires for a comfortable ride and great traction and handling

If you’ve ever changed a bike tire on the side of the road, you’ll know how difficult it can be. Even if the bike has quick-release wheels, the work of separating the tire and the rim can be enough to make many people throw up their hands and give up.

Remounting and seating the outer tire back on the wheel rim and filling the inner tube poses its own set of challenges.

zoomed-in shot of the tire wheel of the Apollo Ghost e-scooter

When removing the rear wheel of the Apollo Ghost, you’ll need to disconnect the motor cable and the brake cable before unscrewing the nuts from either side of the wheel

The not so great news is that electric scooter tire replacing can sometimes be harder than replacing road bike tires or inner tubes, especially if you’re stuck on the roadside.

Small diameter wheel rims can sometimes make tire levering an athletic event, and some electric scooter tires use angled valve stems that need an adapter, or you can forget about getting a pump to fit.

Then there’s a lack of standardized wheel mounts among scooter makers, and the lack of easily available tubes for smaller tires….

It’s little wonder that flat tires are one of the biggest frustrations scooter manufacturers hear about from their customers. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to fix your own flat tires, if you have the right tools and some patience and persistence. Riding scooters is amazing, and the possibility of a flat tire shouldn’t scare you off. 

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Types of Electric Scooter Tires

There are, broadly-speaking, two kinds of tires for electric scooters, pneumatic, or air-filled, and solid tires. In this article, we’ll be primarily talking about pneumatic tires with inner tubes.

Although you can change most solid tires on electric scooters, it can be incredibly difficult and is often best done by the manufacturer.

side-view of the rear wheel of the Apollo Air e-scooter

Pneumatic Tires

Pneumatic tires are air-filled tires – the same kind of tires your car, bike, or motorcycle use.

You can replace most pneumatic tires if you want to upgrade to a better-known brand, swap road tires for off-road tires, or vice versa. That’s just one advantage pneumatic tires have over solid.

Air-filled tires are also considerably more comfortable to ride since they deform around obstacles and absorb bumps instead of bouncing over them.

Not only can pneumatic tires be changed if they’re flat or worn out, but they can also be run at lower or higher pressures to accommodate different conditions and rider sizes. This is especially true with tubeless tires.

Tubeless tires are – just as the name says – tires mounted directly to the wheel rim with sealant and filled with air, no inner tube needed.

Solid Tires

Solid tires have a bad reputation, and often they deserve it when it comes to ride quality. They’re unable to absorb vibrations or provide handling and traction like their air-filled cousins.

Some solid tires work better than others, with air pockets or polyurethane foam filling to help absorb shocks. Nonetheless, even the best set of solid honeycomb tires won't compensate for a rough road like air filled tires.

Why do electric scooter makers continue to use solid tires? It’s simple, really: they keep riders from having to read articles like this one.

Solid tires can develop flat spots -- if, for example, you skid in an emergency stop, the wheel might go out of round and need to be replaced. What you won’t ever get with a solid tire is a flat – as in, a total loss of air.

Until electric scooter flat tires are relatively simple to fix or scooter repair shops are as plentiful as bike mechanics, solid tires might be a sensible choice for riders with no mechanical acumen.

rear right angle view of the rear wheel of the EMOVE Touring e-scooter which uses a solid tire

The EMOVE Touring uses a solid tire in the rear and a pneumatic tire up front

Mixed Configurations

Occasionally, electric scooters will use a mix of solid and air filled tires. While this combination is rare, at least one model, the EMOVE Touring, uses it, with an air filled tire up front for comfort and better handling and a solid tire in the rear to prevent flats and tire tread wear.

Self-Healing

As electric scooter technology continues to advance, manufacturers such as Apollo are working to address some of the most common issues experienced by riders. One such innovation is the introduction of self-healing tires, which are available on the Apollo City 2022 model and planned to be included in the Pro 2023 and other future models. These self-healing tires contain a unique self-heal gel inside that automatically patches punctures, effectively preventing flats. This innovative feature aims to alleviate the challenges and frustrations often associated with tire repairs and replacements. With these self-healing tires, riders can enjoy a more reliable and worry-free experience on their electric scooters, particularly when it comes to the Apollo City's large, 10-inch pneumatic tires that already provide excellent traction and handling.

Tire Maintenance

Sometimes flat tires are just unavoidable if you happen to run over a nail or some broken glass. At other times, they can be the result of an improperly maintained tire.

In order to minimize flats, check your tire pressure at least once per month, making sure to top off the tires to the recommended air pressure or close to it. When tire pressure is too low, tubes can get caught between the tire and the wheel rim, resulting in punctures.

You'll also want to check the tread pattern on your tire. If the tread is wearing down and beginning to flatten out in places, then your tire will be much more prone to flats and should be replaced.

Fixing a Flat

So what do you do if you find yourself with a flat tire in need of repair? If you’ve got pneumatic tires with inner tubes, you don’t need to find a scooter mechanic.

You can also learn to fix tubeless tires, but these can be much more difficult to mount without professional equipment like an air compressor.

As long as you’ve got a few simple tools and a place to work, you can follow the steps below and learn to fix a flat yourself.

It’s a good idea to carry a few tire repair tools with you on the road as well (though as we’ve mentioned, repairing a scooter tire on the side of the road is far from ideal).

Sometimes a new tube or a patch kit is all that stands between you and an agonizing long walk home (or expensive Uber van ride).

side view of an e-scooter front wheel

Steps to Fix a Flat Tire on an Electric Scooter

  1. Find a flat surface on which to work, especially one that can support your electric scooter deck from below while you make repairs.
  2. Gather your tools needed: you should have a tire lever, a new inner tube or patch kit, and a pump. Also make sure you have the right-sized screwdrivers, wrenches, or hex head tools as specified in the owner’s manual. (Getting these tools set up before you begin can save a lot of time digging through a tool box in frustration.)
  3. Disconnect all necessary cables. If you’re servicing a wheel containing a hub motor – which can be housed in either the front wheel, rear wheel, or both in a dual motor scooter – you’ll need to disconnect the motor cable before you begin removing the wheel. If you’re unsure about how to disconnect this cable, make sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions first. NEVER start pulling on cables to disconnect them unless you know what you’re doing. You could end up damaging a connector or breaking an expensive part. Do the same for any brake cables attached to a (front, rear, or both) disc brake caliper.
  4. Remove the wheel. Use the correct tools to loosen the nuts, bolts or screws holding the wheel in place. Then, slide the entire wheel off the wheel mount. Make sure to place all screws, bolts, nuts, and washers in a safe place far from toddlers and cats, laying them out in order of removal so that you can be sure to put them back together properly.
  5. Remove the tire: Make sure the tire is completely flat by pressing on the valve stem to remove all remaining air. Use a tire lever to work your way around the wheel and pry the tire off the rim. Once one bead (the inside edge of the tire) has been removed, use your hands to finish removing the tire from the wheel rim. If the tire is particularly difficult to get off, using a mixture of hot water and soap around the bead can help loosen up most tires.
  6. Remove the inner tube: work your way around the circumference of the tire and use your fingers to gently separate the tire from the rim, being careful not to pinch the inner tube as you go. Once you’ve loosened the tire, remove the inner tube from the tire. Locate the puncture: fill up your old inner tube and submerge it in water. Look for the tell-tale bubbles to locate where the puncture occurred. Repair the puncture: Once you’ve identified the puncture, thoroughly clean the area around the hole. Use the patch kit to apply a patch that is slightly larger than the puncture. Press the patch firmly onto the tube and hold it in place for a few minutes until it sticks. Alternatively, if the inner tube cannot be repaired, you can replace it with a new tube.
  7. Reassemble the tire: Reinsert the inner tube back into the tire and work the tire back onto the rim. Start with one bead, and then work around the circumference to install the rest of the tire onto the rim.
  8. Inflate the tire slowly, checking the bead on each side of the rim as you go. The bead should “seat” evenly around the rim. Make sure the tube doesn’t get pinched between the tire and the rim. This can lead to “pinch flats,” or snakebite punctures.
  9. Make sure to inflate the tire to the appropriate pressure, which can usually be found printed on the tire itself. Reattach the wheel: slide the wheel back onto the axle and tighten the bolts or screws. Give the wheel a spin to make sure it’s seated properly. And that’s it! You’ve successfully fixed a flat tire on your electric scooter.

Side view of the Turboant X7 Max front wheel which has a pneumatic tire. It has a bent valve.

Several budget electric scooters like the Turboant X7 Max come with pneumatic tires. Notice the bent valve. Typically, this will require an angled adapter that attached to a regular bike pump hose

Replacing an Electric Scooter Tire

Sometimes a pneumatic tire is beyond repair and needs to be replaced entirely. Tires do wear out after, all especially the rear tires since rear tires bear nearly all the rider's weight on e scooters.

You might also decide to upgrade to better quality tires, or change to wider tires or off road tires for better stability or traction in wet conditions.

In any case, here are the steps on how to replace an electric scooter tire.

Steps to Replace an Electric Scooter Tire

  1. Remove the wheel: use the appropriate tools to loosen the nuts, bolts or screws holding the wheel in place. Then, slide the wheel off the mounts.
  2. Remove the tire: use a tire lever to pry the tire off the rim. Once one bead has been removed, use your hands to finish removing the tire from the rim.
  3. Remove the inner tube: work your way around the circumference of the tire and use your fingers to gently separate the tire from the rim, being careful not to pinch the inner tube as you go. Once you’ve loosened the tire, remove the inner tube from the tire.
  4. Remove the tire from the rim: if you’re replacing the tire entirely, you’ll need to remove it from the rim. This can be done using a tire lever to gently pry the tire off the rim. Be careful not to damage the rim as you do this.
  5. Install the new tire: place the tire onto the rim and work it around the circumference until it’s fully seated on the rim. Be careful not to pinch the inner tube as you do this.
  6. Reinsert the inner tube: after the tire is installed, reinsert the inner tube into the tire.
  7. Inflate the tire: inflate the tire to the appropriate pressure, which can usually be found printed on the tire itself.
  8. Reattach the wheel: slide the wheel back onto the axle and tighten the bolts or screws. Give the wheel a spin to make sure it’s seated properly. And that’s it! You’ve successfully replaced the tire on your electric scooter.

Conclusion

If you find yourself struggling to replace a tire or fix a flat, don't hesitate to reach out to a repair shop. They will have the necessary tools and expertise to get your scooter back on the road in no time. Additionally, it's a good idea to regularly inspect your tires for wear and tear, as well as keeping them properly inflated to avoid the need for repairs in the first place.

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side view of the rear wheel of a propped up electric scooter that is getting serviced

Table of contents

    1. Types of Electric Scooter Tires
    2. Pneumatic Tires
    3. Solid Tires
    4. Mixed Configurations
    5. Self-Healing
    6. Tire Maintenance
    7. Fixing a Flat
    8. Steps to Fix a Flat Tire on an Electric Scooter
    9. Replacing an Electric Scooter Tire
    10. Steps to Replace an Electric Scooter Tire
    11. Conclusion