Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Sometimes I fish around in my shed for a repair kit and pull out a pair of patches which have been sat around for a while (a year?) I find the patches are stiff (even though they're still in their foil).

I proceed with the repair but suspect it isn't as sound as it would have been with a freshly purchased malleable patch.

Tonight, while doing a repair, I actually looked at the patch and the kit box to see if there is a Best Before date (there isn't).

But what is the useful shelf life of an unused patch?

share|improve this question
I generally toss my patch kit every year or two. Sooner if the glue has been opened, later if not. I would guess that an unopened kit is good for 3-5 years, and the main clue it's getting old would be that the glue is too stiff. (I basically don't get punctures since switching to belted tires.) – Daniel R Hicks May 11 '12 at 10:48

It depends very much on how the patches are stored. I have a box of strips of patches that lasted about 10 years before the patches became unusable. But that was a whole box, in a plastic bag, in a cold dark place (a box of bike stuff in the garage). On the shop counter that same box would probably age out within 3-12 months depending on how often it got direct sunlight. What matters is heat, how well sealed the container is, and light (probably in that order). I think you're doing the right thing by inspecting the patch and deciding whether to use it.

That's not too useful if you're really asking "how often should I buy a new patch kit". In my experience at least two years, normally more like five. Again, I store my patches in a patch kit (plastic box), in a plastic bag with some tools, in my pannier. It's pretty cold and dark in there too. I find that the glue tube gets really gummy and useless before the patches wear out. But since I wear my tyres pretty much down to the canvas I go through a few patches most years, so that's not normally an issue. (I run the tyres until I get a puncture that seems to be attributable to tyre wear).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.