I just had a flat, luckily only 2 miles away. It happened at night and occured when I crossed the road. I used the old style vulcanized patch that uses glue.

What about these: Park Pre-Glued Super Patch Kit

Are they just as well?

I have a small pump I can carry. I would need a wrench too.

Would it be better to just carry a new inner tube?

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    Generally, experienced bikers carry a spare tube plus a patch kit. If one tire goes flat they swap in the spare tube and repair the damaged one when they are done with the ride, using the patch kit on the road only if they get a second flat, Oct 12, 2022 at 2:01
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    I’ve had varied success with the pre-glued Park Tool patches you mention. Sometimes they didn’t stick at all, sometimes they worked perfectly (almost fusing with the tube). I don’t really know what caused the difference. At one point an old patch suddenly started to leak in the middle of a hot summer day. With traditional patches I’ve had much more consistent success.
    – Michael
    Oct 12, 2022 at 11:28
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    @DanielRHicks Just a quick note: I would not generalize that. I'm personally riding a lot in forests, 90% of my punctures (before I swapped to tubeless) where attributable to thorns. In that case, you need to locate the thorns and remove them, otherwise you'll just puncture the new tube. But most of these punctures are the slow ones, and are discovered the following day.
    – Renaud
    Oct 13, 2022 at 7:31
  • @Renaud - Yes, "standard operating procedure" is to inspect the tire after the tube is removed. I will usually sweep the inside with my hand to locate thorns, bits of metal, etc that caused the puncture. Oct 14, 2022 at 13:12
  • I use the Park patches and they always work well for me.
    – Reid
    Oct 14, 2022 at 20:43

4 Answers 4


Personally I don't bother patching on the roadside - my success rate was low.

Instead I carry a spare tube (sometimes 2) and just swap the whole thing as a primary fix. Then I patch the tube at home where it's warm and dry, using vulcanising fluid and a patch.

I do carry a small pouch of pre-glued patches (stickers) but they're not ideal for high pressure road tyres and may not have a long life. They work better on lower-pressure MTB tubes.
I've only ever used these to help other stranded riders.

You need whatever tool is needed to remove the wheel if you're changing the whole tube. That might be a 15mm ring-spanner for nutted axles, or a QR should need no tool. A through axle might need a hex driver.

For applying a patch in place, you just need tyre levers to access the tube, and a way to find the hole/s and clean out the cause from the tread.

Both methods require you to carry a pump or air-tank to inflate the tyre.

  • 6
    I've found sticker (pre-glued) patches useful in the rain. As with proper patches you need to get the tube dry, but with sticker patches you only have to keep it dry for long enough to slap the patch on, compared to a few minutes for the patch glue to go tacky. Sticker patches are also easier if for whatever reason you're avoiding taking the wheel off
    – Chris H
    Oct 12, 2022 at 9:35
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    BTW for applying sticker patches to road tubes, if possible inflate the tube until it just starts to stretch before applying - only for tiny holes of course - because they seem to fail when the tube stretches underneath them and shears the glue
    – Chris H
    Oct 12, 2022 at 9:38
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    @Adam also I've had better luck on tubes that aren't too stretched for the tyres - I run 32s or 35s and tend to choose tubes meant for 28-40+mm rather than 25-35mm, when I can. They're better for proper patches too, but that's partly because I bought rather a lot of rather stiff patches that are a pain on skinny tubes
    – Chris H
    Oct 12, 2022 at 15:04
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    @ChrisH I've never had a problem not prestretching the tube, but then again I'm not running the smallest possible tube in my tyre. It looks a bit funny the next time I inflate the tube to look for another puncture, but that's larger than it gets inside the tyre. One of the nicest things I've found is, if I can see where the hole is (which if it's glass can be pretty obvious) I can just pop the bead there, pull out a span of the tube, patch it and simply pop it back in.
    – DavidW
    Oct 12, 2022 at 20:11
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    I've stopped at the lights with my tyre resting on hot pavement at the self adhesive patch point, 20s later... pssssssssss! Oct 12, 2022 at 23:12

They can be useful, if you use them right. In particular:

  • The area where the patch will be applied still needs to be rasped a bit just like if you were applying a regular patch. The same mold release compound that interferes with conventional patches adhering also interferes with pre-glued patches.
  • If the tube is going to be run at higher pressure, you need to ‘pre-stretch’ the tube in the area where the patch will be applied, because the normal failure mode for these patches is that the glue shears, and that is much more likely if the tube stretches underneath the patch as it’s inflated. This is easiest if the hole is small enough to partially inflate the tube.
  • Make sure the area of the tube that you’re patching is dry before applying the patch.
  • Make sure to let the glue set before inflating. This typically takes a few minutes, but it makes the patching much more reliable.

That said, unless you are actively trying to absolutely minimize your overall gear weight, you should be carrying at least one spare tube as well. Provided you remove the source of the puncture, a spare tube will always be more reliable than patches, and it will quite often be just as quick on the roadside as applying a pre-glued patch. I personally carry two most of the time, plus some pre-glued patches.

Note also that if you plan to be able to fix a flat on the roadside, you will at minimum need:

  • Something to reinflate the tube afterwards. A frame pump is fine for this.
  • Whatever tools are needed to remove the wheel.
  • A pair of decent tire levers. I’m fond of Park Tool’s steel core tire levers myself, but any decent tire levers will work. Make sure you have at least two.

You may also want to bring a pair of good tweezers or better yet a hemostat, for removing thorns, shards of glass, or other such things that caused the puncture. Not essential, but I’ve had times where I actually did need these to remove whatever caused the puncture from my tire without risking cutting my fingers.

  • Hemmelgam Learned a lot of new stuff. I had a spare inner tube, but it's stem was too short. I spent quite a while trying to patch it up but gave up and decided to just get a new inner tube. My bike has those deep tires requiring a 48 mm length stems. My regular bike shop was closed so I went to another to buy a new tube. I bought 2 Bontrager tubes at $11 apiece. They had time to mount the tire and it was $12 which I thought was very reasonable and it minimized the aggravation.
    – fixit7
    Oct 12, 2022 at 19:10
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    A small pliers type multitool (mini leatherman for example) is another good thorn-remover, even sometimes using the knife blade for glass. It's so useful generally that I keep one in my bike toolkit
    – Chris H
    Oct 13, 2022 at 5:47
  • @fixit7 not my bike but I've encountered the same with a fellow rider whose spare tube was fine, but then she got new deeper wheels. We used a sticker patch then
    – Chris H
    Oct 13, 2022 at 5:49

I keep one of these kits in my mobile toolbag for unexpected flats while out and about. When I can, I'll also carry a spare inner tube for good measure, but at minimum it's the toolbag and patchkit.

I had my doubts about their long term performance when I first purchased them, but I've since used them all up, and bought a second kit of them - so I'd argue they do the task just fine.

I have not used them to patch any incredibly bad punctures - the worst hole I've covered with them was maybe 1/8th inch, from a sheet metal fastener.

The Park Tools branded glueless patches I have used all have held up well enough to not only get me home after suffering a punctured tube while out and about, but held up well enough that I forget it even happened by the time I am home.

All in all, they're a product I'd suggest any avid cyclist might appreciate keeping in their travel kit.
They work well enough, they're convenient, inexpensive, and significantly less fuss than traditional tube patches are to install.
They share the same caveat as traditional patches that you need to find the puncture and clean the area around it, but with the noteworthy advantage that you aren't fussing with a tube of glue that went dry three months earlier. No fuss and no mess.

  • When I had my flat, it lost air very quickly. But it was at night and their were lighted areas nearby. If I used a glueless patch, would the leak be fairly easy to find without taking the tire off but just pulling the inner tube loose? If not maybe I need to bring a small spray bottle of soapy water. @PowerLuser
    – fixit7
    Oct 14, 2022 at 21:24
  • ...aren't all flats unexpected?
    – Criggie
    Oct 15, 2022 at 1:30
  • When biking on trails and in the roadside gutter in certain parts of the city, flats are expected (and not getting them is celebrated), and planned for accordingly. As for finding the leak in the inner tube, a spray bottle of soapy water would be clever planning ahead! I tend to use my travel pump or find a gas station and feel for leaking air by hand, if there isn't an obvious bit of debris sticking out of a puncture to guide me in the first place. As for night? I nearly always carry some kind of lighting - like my headlamp or phone.
    – PowerLuser
    Oct 20, 2022 at 0:33

I don't think pre-glued patches should be used. There are concerns on whether they are as permanent repair as ordinary patches.

If you do patching properly, it's a permanent repair, and the tube becomes as good as new. What you do is to first remove the mold release using sandpaper, then apply a thin layer of glue with your finger (no, you won't get a cancer from that), wait for it to slightly dry (you will see it visually), apply the traditional type patch, create a slight slit in the middle of the plastic cover with a razor blade, stretch it along with the tube so the new slit becomes larger, and peel the just halved plastic cover away from the middle so it won't lift your patch, and NOT USE THE PATCHED TUBE YET. Yes, that's right, a recently patched tube should not be used for a day, because it takes a day for the glue to fully dry.

So if you can't use the patched tube immediately, you need a spare tube (and the recently patched tube becomes your new spare tube). Usually one is enough. In absolute worst possible case you get multiple punctures in the same day, and if that happens, then you obviously have to use a recently patched tube, but that's so rare that it's probably better to just use recently patched tubes and treat them as possible loss than to start carrying N spare tubes -- which wouldn't help in any case since you can get N+1 punctures.

Theoretically you could delay patching the tube so that you can start riding your bike faster, patching later at home, but then you may get a second puncture, run out of spare tubes, and need a recently patched tube as a spare. It's better to use a tube patched 30 minutes ago than a tube patched 1 minute ago. Also, patching is very fast so better to patch right away.

  • 3
    I was changing off a worn tyre once and discovered the tube inside it had 6 of the Park glueless patches on it. I've only ever had one patch fail on me once the tube was reinstalled. I'm not going to argue they're just as good as "proper" patches, but for day-to-day commuting they're perfectly acceptable.
    – DavidW
    Oct 12, 2022 at 20:07
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    There is no need to remove the thin clear plastic foil from the patches. I think some official instructions even specifically tell you to leave it in place.
    – Michael
    Oct 12, 2022 at 20:20
  • When I get another flat, I will replace the tube with a new one and patch the other at home.
    – fixit7
    Oct 12, 2022 at 20:48
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    In light of the emphasis on not riding on the freshly (traditionally) patched tube immediately, it strikes me as noteworthy that I have ridden on tubes fixed with the Park glueless patches immediately after applying the patch without problem or issue. While they may not demand the same attention to detail as a traditional patch, in my experience they are every bit as effective as a traditional patch - and possibly even a little better, for convenience sake at least.
    – PowerLuser
    Oct 13, 2022 at 6:15
  • @PowerLuser You make a good point.
    – fixit7
    Oct 13, 2022 at 13:14

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