I have just replaced an inner tube on the front tire, and discovered it had a presta valve. My old floor pump is fitted for a Schrader valve. I learned I could buy an adapter, however, I decided to buy a new floor pump with a dual nozzle. I opened up the valve on the presta valve by screwing open the tiny nut. I also used the small screw ring to lock down the valve on the rim. I pushed on the side of the nozzle for the presta valve and locked it on with the lever. As I pumped air was escaping out of the other nozzle for a Schrader valve. I took it off and tried again pushing the nozzle down as far as it would go – about 1.5 cm, locked it down, and again found air escaping through the other nozzle. Thinking the lever must be in the up position to push it down, I tried again. This time the nozzle would not push down very far, and air was escaping through the other nozzle. I'm sure I have the correct nozzle on the presta valve (It is a smaller opening). I'm not sure what to do next, and I would welcome any insight. Thank you.

  • 4
    Do you have a photo or a name or model number for your dual head adapter? Some switch over depending on which way you flip the lever. Others require pressure or the lack thereof on one side to cause the valve for the other side to open or close.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 2:03
  • 1
    One thing that is often helpful is to first stick the head in a cup of water and agitate well (to wash it out), blow a little air through it (to clear out the water), then drip about ten drops of liquid hand soap into it (and leave it in the chuck). Finally, operate the level several times and work the chuck onto tube valves (of both types) several times. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 16:22

3 Answers 3


This really depends on the specific model and design of your dual head (i.e. two valve holes, one for presta and one for schrader).

Dual head adapter

I've seen at least three variations of dual pump head mechanisms:

  1. The locking lever controls which valve is active by the direction it's turned to.

  2. When you insert the presta or schrader valve in the right hole, the valve body itself hits a small lever on the side that closes or opens the appropriate pump head valve. Sometimes this is actuated by the closing of the locking lever.

  3. Inserting the head of the tire valve trips a lever deep inside at the bottom of the valve hole.

  4. Some valves in dual head designs react to pressure, i.e. when plugging one of the valves into a tire with air the pressure closes the other valve. When filling empty tires and the air keeps coming out from the wrong valve, pressing the outer tube against the inner tube valve while simultaneously pumping air creates pressure that opens the correct pump head valve.

So for troubleshooting, I'd first see if your lever can flip the other way. Then, I'd ensure the tire valve is fully seated (pushed in all the way and maybe give it a wriggle as you push it in). Then I'd try putting the other type of valve (presta or schrader) in to see if the switching mechanism can't reset. Finally, I'd gently prove with the blunt end of a disposable chopsticks inside the sides and end of the valve body to see if you can't locate and unstick the switching mechanism.

This all assumes you can't find the manual which would tell you specifically what to do. I find the cheaper dual head designs to be failure prone, I prefer pumps with single "universal" heads such as this Lezyne.

Lezyne pump

p.s. I'm noting that the black cheapo dual-pump head whose image above I shamelessly stole off e-bay only goes for 1-3 eurodollars, shipped from China. You could just get another one at that price. I'd personally recommend: 1) continuing to use the one you have using a schrader-presta adapter; 2) get a dedicated single-head; or, 3) get a well-machined universal head.

  • 2
    Great answer. There's still the chance the unit is faulty from new and has no chance of working right. Unlikely but not impossible.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 19:57
  • Thank you RoboKaren for your detailed answer. A neighbour with experience with these two valves and various pumps tried to help, and also discovered was leaking through the Shrader nozzle. He put on an adapter, put on the Shrader nozzle side, and the tube filled with no problem. I'm wondering if the small switch mechanism inside the dual-head nozzle may be stuck. Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 4:05
  • The presta to schrader adapters are only 1-3 Eurodollars. But your pump head is brand new. I'd take criggie's advice and maybe return it to where you bought it as it may be DOA.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 18:10
  • I'll note that the individual chucks and/or the hose assemblies are often available as repair parts, and are easy to swap. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 16:23
  • @kaappi your edit is absolutely correct, but we'd normally put suggestions like that in comments
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 19:58

I had been upset with this same style pump for months till I read this. I couldn't get my Presta side to work/inflate air into the tire, only air would come out the Schrader side. Yes, RoboKaren's answer was correct with mine in that when using the Presta valve, it has to be inserted a certain distance into the pump head for it to actuate the valve inside it to switch which direction the air travels on the dual Schrader/Presta nozzle fill head. My Bell pump seems to always stay on the Schrader unless you press it far enough on the Presta stem which moves the valve to allow air not to flow out the Presta side. When head is removed from filling the Presta side, it automatically springs back into position for filling the Schrader side.

  • Worth noting that some Presta valves may be too short to trigger this switch. Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 13:04

I had the same problem with my Beto dual-head standing pump. Schrader always worked fine, had to inflate Presta last week and there was no way to get air come out of the Presta nozzle.

I assumed the internal ball got for stuck for some reason on the Schrader position, so before attempting to dismount the pump head, I detached the head from the pump-tube and used the tube to inject high-pressure air inside the Presta nozzle.. it did work!!

As I was hoping the internal ball got moving again and now it works as expected, so it may be worth a try before attempting more complicated solutions.

Good luck!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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