With puncture repair kits, generally you get like 6-8 patches and a tube of glue.

The only problem is I can really only use the glue for the first patch because once it opens, it just ends up drying up. Am I putting the lids on wrong or something?

I have plenty of the patches left. It's pretty much the glue that makes me keep having to buy more kits. Why do puncture repair kits only have one tube of glue? Is there anywhere where I can buy just the glue in bulk?

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    In my experience, if you cap the glue tightly it will last a couple of months. And I suppose the manufacturers could address your gripe by only putting 2 patches in the kit -- count your blessings. Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 16:35
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    Of course, I haven't had a puncture in probably 10 years. Kevlar belted tires are the way to go! Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 19:46
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    I find that the glue lasts well over a year. I put the lid on almost hard enough to make the thread skip, and keep the repair kit itself shut tight (in a plastic bag with my bike repair tools). Like @Daniel, I use puncture-resistant tyres but I wear the tyres until they do puncture before I replace them. That's how I know they need replacing.
    – Kohi
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 3:41
  • 4
    I wish that glue came in little foil packets with just enough for one patch (just like hand lotion samples, but smaller). Once the glue tube is opened and used once, it is only a matter of time before it goes bad and you never know when!
    – Angelo
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 11:21
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    @Vorac, yes, those are "good enough" to get you going again in a bind, but in my experience they're never as good as traditional patches.
    – Angelo
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 20:04

11 Answers 11


In my experience:

  • You only need to apply a drop of glue a bit larger than a pea (about 7mm diameter) per patch;
  • Glue inside eventually dries. If you only have a puncture once a year, most probably the glue remaining from the last puncture would be dry "no matter what". Also, there is an expiration date of around two years, but I think it's two years if you didn't open it yet;
  • (IMPORTANT) When you attach the cover of the tube, BE SURE TO REMOVE ALL THE AIR INSIDE by pressing its bottom untill half a drop shows up in the opening, otherwise the glue will evaporate inside the very tube (happened to me a lot of times until I figured it out...).
  • These glues have a volatile nature. I wouldn't buy it in large amounts, but rather to buy new spare glue tubes (without the whole patch kit). The kind of patch I use also have this problem: the patches (a small roll I have to cut with a scissor) last much longer than the glue.

Well, hope it helps!

  • 2
    I always roll the end of the tube as I use the glue and have never had the glue dry out on me. My guess is that since there is no air space, it never has the chance to dry up. I just run out of patches before I use up my glue.
    – Benzo
    Commented May 12, 2013 at 12:26
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    Where can I purchase the tubes independent of the kits? I have 4 dry tubes and 20 patches ... Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 16:19
  • Certain Chinese webmarkets sell bicycle glue tubes without any patches. I bought 6 tubes just because I've got many patches and none non-dried glue at home. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 11:37
  • If you are in the US most bike shops can also get it for you, a tube of Sunlite brand runs about 2 bucks i think.
    – Nate W
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:04

The problem appears to be when air gets into the tube of glue - if air is present in the tube, evaporation will take place. This air can enter the tube during patching, or from a poor seal between the cap and the tube.

I was able to get a tube of glue to last for over 2 years (and 8 patches) by following advice from the other answers here:

  • Make the smallest possible puncture in the tube's foil when first opening the tube (I used a pin)
  • Apply the glue and re-cap it in a single action (i.e. never release pressure on the tube, as this will allow air to enter the tube)
  • After using the glue, always hold it vertically and squeeze out any air
  • Squeeze out sufficient excess glue to completely seal the edge around the cap

grid showing the tube from 2015-03 through to final use in 2017-04

I wanted to use the glue again last night (9 months since I last used it), and it was no longer usable, but since there was liquid glue in the tube when I last sealed it, it probably would have been usable for at least another 3 months.

One problem I experienced is that the cap split on the fifth reseal - this may have been because tubes aren't really expected to last that long, or possibly because I was being too forceful screwing it on. In any case, the excess glue sealed the split.

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    Air in the tube will not cause the glue to evaporate. As soon as the air inside is saturated with glue vapors any evaporation stops. The excess glue to seal the cap is likely the key to longer life. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 0:50
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    @DanielRHicks, true. But if the cap isn't sealed, the saturated air will dissipate into the atmosphere and more air will get into the tube, continuing the evaporation. I will reword for clarity. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 1:01
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    Nine thumbs up for your dedication on this answer!
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 1:01
  • Also @DanielRHicks every use will lose a bit more solvent until there's not enough left and gummy bits form
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 7:34

I think those tubes of glue are pretty much universally the same and I've never had an issue with a tube drying up (surprisingly). Maybe try to get the tiniest bit of the stuff around the rim of the tube so that when you close it up that will dry up and create an airtight bond that will protect the glue inside. Come to think of if, that's probably why I've never had a tube dry up because I use the tube itself as the applicator.

You can buy the tubes of glue separately but they cost roughly as much as the patch kit itself. If you really wanted to buy it in bulk, you could go to an automotive shop and purchase a tub of the stuff. Regardless of the application, it's referred to as "vulcanizing fluid"

Glueless patch kits will get you home. That's about it. Not nearly as reliable as glue type patches.


The best solution to this extraordinarily irritating problem is to use a can or jar of vulcanizing rubber cement for most repairs and to reserve the single-use tube of cement for emergencies. Specifically:

  • Ride with a spare inner tube and a patch kit (with an unopened tube of rubber cement).

  • If you get a flat, use the spare inner tube.

  • If you get a second flat and don't have another spare inner tube, use the patch kit. Now that you've opened your tube of rubber cement, close it tightly (squeeze until the cement is showing to make sure there's no air).

  • When you get home, use a can of rubber cement (more about this below) with a brush to patch any punctured tubes you brought home with you.

  • Keep your used tube of rubber cement for at most a month or so. Once you've opened the tube, consider it used. You might get lucky, but unless you like being stranded on the side of the road, it's safest to put a new patch kit in your saddle bag as soon as possible.

I've heard mixed reports about whether all brands of rubber cement are vulcanizing. To be safe, I recommend buying rubber cement at an auto parts store in the tire repair section. I bought a 4 oz. can for about $8. Most (or all?) such cans come with a brush on the inside of the lid. This built-in brush makes it easy to apply a thin, even layer of cement.

Since you'll only use your tube of cement when you get two flats in one day, you won't have too many (if any) leftover patches when you throw out a tube of dried-out cement. And a brush is more convenient for patching anyway.

  • I agree that once the tube's open, it's no longer trustworthy, so once it's open, I do buy a new tube of glue, but I just carry both until the old one dries up. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 8:43

I use preglued patchs in the road kit.It is one less thing to carry,they go on quickly and no need to wait for the glue to dry.

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    They also come off quickly. :)
    – amcnabb
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 22:51
  • Theres still value to them though - if its quick and gets you home, thats really all that matters.
    – Batman
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 4:57
  • I carry glueless patches and a spare tube. I keep the regular patches and can of vulcanizing fluid at home. Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 11:55
  • +1 I have found pre-glued Zefal ones suitable for long-term repair of small punctures. It's the snakebite that mortal patches are powerless against and one needs a large patch and proper rubber cement.
    – Vorac
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:31

The cynic in me says, "So you will buy more puncture kits". I too have never been able to reseal the glue well enough to use it more than twice, and only then when I had two punctures a short time apart.

You can buy rubber cement in a bottle. There seem to be at least two kinds: the type used for cut and paste for layout (the paper based technique kind that preceded electronic publishing) and the type used for rubber repairs. You want the latter. Here's one example I found by searching for rubber cement. I tried contact cement, but it didn't work very well; the formulation isn't right for tube repair. I haven't tried automotive rubber cement.

There are glueless repair kits. See this question for more information.


I think that repair kits are thought for repair shops where patching tubes is more frequent, so you can use all the glue before it dries up inside the tube. Smaller kits that are for emergencies include two to five patches, and a very small tube of glue, generally enclosed in a disposable case, but are not universally available.

My trick to get a little more out of a glue tube is that I pile up a few punctured inner tubes, and patch them at home, all of them at a time so I use more glue every time. Then I always carry one of these tubes in my backpack so I just change the tube, instead of patching while in the trails.

At least in My country it's easy to find only the tubes of glue, which I find curious: Is it that manufacturers know patches last longer than the glue?


Put a bit of white plumber's tape over the end of the tube before you put the cap back on. It will make the glue last for serveral seasons without drying up!

  • This is an interesting idea. Does it really work? Do you keep the teflon tape in your saddle bag?
    – amcnabb
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 4:05
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    I tried this, but even with the teflon tape, it still dried out. I don't know if I left too much air in the tube, or if I didn't use enough tape.
    – amcnabb
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 1:08

I peeled open the small metal tube to find some rubbery residue. I figured this was all that remains once the solvent "dries up". So I pulled the residue out of the tube, rolled it into a ball (about the size of a kernel of corn), and placed it into a ceramic egg-cup. I then added a few drops of "general purpose thinners". ( I had also experimented with other fluids, such as turpentine, acetone, metho'....with varying results). Anyway, I let it sit overnight, and next morning I was able to mash it into a "glue" about the consistency of honey. I have now used this rejuvinated glue to do a standard patch. I will see how it performs tomorrow, and share the findings.

  • While interesting, this is more of a comment than an answer since it doesn't really answer the question.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 20:14

I had similar problem with a tube of super glue. My mother-in-law suggested that I put the tube in the freezer. I actually store the tube in a glass bottle and close the cap - to avoid contact with food. The glue never dries up. You can try the same with your glue.

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    That's all very well, and I do this with neoprene glue, but it doesn't do much good if the glue is needed in your bike kit to get you home.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 18:43
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    I suppose you could strap a mini fridge and generator on a bike rack. :)
    – amcnabb
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 4:29

1) It is correct that the glue dries out soon after first use. Many glues does that and the makers do not provide solutions to the problem because it will reduce sales.

2)All farmaceuticals today are sold with small quatities individual packed (each pill packed separately). It would be the easiest thing to do with glue. But see 1). Lars Bryndum

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    This is merely a repetition of the observation that the glue dries out. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 10:29

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