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My rear tire has picked up a slow leak. My dealer says that his insurance won't let him plug it. He's ordered a tire for me, but it won't come in until next week.

That Fix-a-Flat stuff, does it work for motorbike tires? At least to tide me over?:confused:
 

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I had a staple in my rear tire a couple of weeks ago. I put some slime in. It is supposed to sort of leak around the embedded object and it has a slurry of stuff in it which clogs up the leak. In my case it lubricated the staple so it slid right out and my slow leak became a fountain of noxious crap spewing from the tire.

To get home I put a screw in the hole made by the staple and hand pumped it back to some pressure so I could at least ride the bike.

Got me home,wouldn't trust it beyond that. There are numerous plug type devices but I don't think any of them call out motorcycles as an acceptable application.

I was fortunate in that I had already planned to replace the tire so I had my new tire on hand. Just went on a week earlier than I had planned.
 

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Fix a Flat may or may not work depending on the cause of the leak you have.

You can buy plug kits to plug holes yourself. I carry one on my bike as an emergency repair method to get me home. I have used it a couple of times. They work best if the damage is in the center part of the tread and not up on the side where you are running when the bike is leaned over.

A better repair is a plug patch applied from inside the tire. That requires demounting the tire and is not something you are likely to be doing on the side of the road. Some dealers will apply one. They will likely limit doing that to holes in about the center inch of the tread though. I had an almost new tire that picked up a nail in the center of the tread and my dealer plug patched it for me.
 

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Fix-a-flat will make a mess out of the inside of your tire. Be prepared for your dealer to stick you with an extra hour of shop costs to deal with cleaning the area where the foam is.

My suggestion would be to dismount the tire yourself and apply a good quality internal automotive patch. If that's not possible, is there somewhere local that would be willing to mount a tire you bring in? You could order one online and have it delivered in a couple of days. One of the reasons dealers make you wait for parts is that they don't actually place the order until it is large enough to give them a break on shipping. If you're dependent on a dealer, you can wait weeks in the early spring or late fall for that reason. Some online stores (cough, cough, Ron Ayers, cough) are the same way. During the height of the summer bike season, the wait is short, but if it's something Tucker Rocky or Parts Unlimited doesn't carry, you might be in for a delay.

I don't recommend using any of the external patching methods other than to limp home. Nor do I recommend fix-a-flat because of the mess it makes. If you don't want to risk it, I'm afraid you'll be parked for a bit.
 

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Find an old spray bottle and fill it with a soapy water solution. Air up the tire and spray the water on it to find the location of the leak. You should see bubbles. Be sure to spray some of the water in the stem to see if the core is leaking. And spray it around where the stem goes through the wheel. If you want to take the wheel off the bike then put it in a tub of water and look for bubbles. Just don't get water in the bearings.

Unless you or your dealer has located the source of the leak then it is not for sure that you need a new tire. You might just need to tighten up or replace the valve core. Or you might need to replace the valve stem.
 

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Then just use the spray bottle of soapy water.

You need to locate the source of the leak before you start trying to fix it.
 

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Find an old spray bottle and fill it with a soapy water solution. Air up the tire and spray the water on it to find the location of the leak. You should see bubbles. Be sure to spray some of the water in the stem to see if the core is leaking. And spray it around where the stem goes through the wheel. If you want to take the wheel off the bike then put it in a tub of water and look for bubbles. Just don't get water in the bearings.

Unless you or your dealer has located the source of the leak then it is not for sure that you need a new tire. You might just need to tighten up or replace the valve core. Or you might need to replace the valve stem.
Like Craig said, use some Simply Green or mild soapy water and without spritzing too much, soak the bead and tire tread areas while slowly rotating the tire. You may need to pump the tire up some towards the max PSI or a bit more. If your spray bottle does a fine spray it may cause air bubbles on its own, need more of a slow stream of soapy water. Do not use any harsh soaps like Castrol Super Clean as it does not like aluminum if left on long.
 

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I would have a hard time trusting a dealer that is selling you a tire and he doesn't even know why it is leaking. As has been said, it could be a valve stem, valve core or even a leak around the rim. Also, I have plugged tires on cars, motorcycles, scooters and lawn mowers for years and have not had problems. You can plug them if the leak on in the tread area but not on the side or sidewall.

ps. I worked insurance claims for 31 years and never saw a tire plug exclusion in any policy I have ever read.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I would have a hard time trusting a dealer that is selling you a tire and he doesn't even know why it is leaking. As has been said, it could be a valve stem, valve core or even a leak around the rim. Also, I have plugged tires on cars, motorcycles, scooters and lawn mowers for years and have not had problems. You can plug them if the leak on in the tread area but not on the side or sidewall.

ps. I worked insurance claims for 31 years and never saw a tire plug exclusion in any policy I have ever read.
How much is a plug likely to cost?

I've definitely decided against using Fix-a-Flat.
 

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Problem with a plug is that you are not likely to find any business that will do it for you. You will have to do it yourself. There are a number of different kits available. The one I carry is a Stop & Go. They are pretty easy to use and the cost of the kit will vary from around $30 to $65+ depending on the kit contents. Here is a link to their web site http://www.stopngo.com/.

A lot of motorcycle shops carry the Stop & Go kits or other type plugging kits. The rope and glue type kits can sell for as little as $10 or $15.

You may be able to find a shop that will do an inside patch or plug and patch. The cost will depend on what their labor rates are and if you remove the wheel yourself or have them do it. The inside patch itself is cheap but the labor to install it is about the same as mounting a new tire. And you are going to want to have it rebalanced as well. So you are going to pay for the patch plus the going price for mounting and balancing a new tire. If you have them remove and reinstall the wheel on your bike you are going to pay for the labor to do that too.
 

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You can pick up one of the strip plug kits at any auto parts place for under $10. The plug is a gooey piece of cord, usually black and about 4" long, that you push into the hole with the included tool. I have used them several times on car tires and never had one fail. never had to do it on a bike tire but it it the same process. Again, it only works when it is well in the tread area, never in the side or if one of the tire cords is damaged.

To have a tire dismounted and patched, if you are paying for the labor, might as well bite the bullet and spring for a new tire. The only exception would be if it were an almost new tire. Athen I might take the chance on paying for a patch job.
CB
 

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Long distance, adventure riders carry a plugging kit. When you are in the middle of Uzbeckistan or Nowhereucanpronounce you can get going with a plug and ride for a long time.

Ride-on (http://www.ride-on.com/tire-protection-system.html) makes a very good tire sealant that washes out with water - no mess.
 

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My rear tire has picked up a slow leak. My dealer says that his insurance won't let him plug it. He's ordered a tire for me, but it won't come in until next week.

That Fix-a-Flat stuff, does it work for motorbike tires? At least to tide me over?:confused:
My Burgman 650 rear tire had a slow leak (around half a pound per day) for years. Changed tires at 10,000 and 22,000 miles, replaced cracked valve stem once. Nothing fixed the slow leak.
Then I tried tightening the valve core. Problem solved! Either the 90-degree bend in the stem causes the core to work loose, or the stems are delivered with the core not tightened enough.
https://www.amazon.com/4-way-Tire-Valve-Stem-Core/dp/B00425QX8M
 

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Had a hole in mine, used ride on without plugging it (actually enlarged the hole a tetch) and it's well under control.
Just checked the tire for the first time in three weeks of increasingly chilly weather lost a few pounds. Nothing spectacular.
I probably should put in a string or a plug to help it out a bit, but so far haven't felt the need.
Ride on vs. other similar products. Ride on cleans up with water, so no big deal when you pull the tire off.
Hypothetically extends tire life a bit as well.
 

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I have used the rope style on several occasions over the past 25/30 years with no problems. Holes were always in tread area and small punctures by nails etc.
 
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