Flat tires are the most common (and aggravating) problem encountered by electric scooter owners. They can be a surprising hassle to fix. It turns out that with a little effort, you can all but eliminate flat tires. Read on to learn some simple (and cheap) ways to prevent your electric scooter from getting a flat.
What is the best way to prevent flats?
To prevent (or reduce) flats on your electric scooter, here are your options:
The easiest way to prevent flats is to keep your tires at the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires are more prone to getting punctured. This is our favorite preventative measure because it is basically free and requires little effort. All you need is a bike pump. We recommend getting one with a built-in gauge because it makes it much easier to get the tire to the proper pressure.
What is tire sealant, also called tire slime?
Tire sealant or tire slime is a viscous green liquid that is injected into your tire to prevent flats or seal ones that have occurred.
The tire sealant is a proprietary mixture made of glue, fibers, and other fillers. A small amount is added to the tire (either the inner tube or tire itself if you have tubeless) through the valve. During normal operation, the tire sealant will coat the inside of the tire (or tube). When the tire is punctured, escaping air will force the sealant through the small hole. The sealant dries, plugging the hole and preventing your electric scooter from getting a flat.
Tire sealant will work on punctures 1/4″ or smaller. Most road debris such as glass or construction staples are much smaller. The smaller the puncture, the more likely it is to seal quickly and correctly. Tire sealant will not prevent or repair punctures or tire failures that cause a blowout. Blowouts are typically caused by severe failure of the tire or inner tube material, pinch flats, overinflation, or very large punctures.
We like tire sealant because it is dirt cheap (you can even make your own if you’re adventurous) and installation is a breeze.
Read our how to on preventing flats with tire slime.
Tire liners are a flexible, heavy plastic and rubber material that are installed between the inner tube and tire. Unlike tire sealant, they only work for inner tube tires. This is not a huge disadvantage, because most electric scooters with pneumatic tires have inner tubes. Currently, only very high-end electric scooters have tubeless pneumatic tires.
They are fairly inexpensive and can completely eliminate flats. Because you do have to remove the tire and inner tube to install tire liners, it is best to do it after your first flat or if you need to replace the tires anyway.
We really like Mr. Tuffy Tire liners, available on Amazon Prime.
Solid tires are an option to prevent flat tires on your electric scooter. Solid tires contain a solid filler and don’t rely on air pressure for structural integrity. They aren’t harmed by punctures. You can either buy an electric scooter that already has solid tires installed or buy solid tire replacements. This is our least favorite option because you sacrifice a lot of performance.
Compared to pneumatic (air-filled) tires, they also:
- Have higher rolling resistance
- Have poorer traction
- Have poorer ride quality
- Are very difficult to replace
In our opinion, these trade-offs aren’t worth it, especially if you take flat preventative measures.