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How to Deflate a Bike Tire? (w/ Presta & Schrader Valves)

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how to deflate a bike tire

Tires are one of the most integral parts of a bike. Therefore, to ensure your vehicle operates flawlessly, especially on long trips, it’s advisable to take good care of the tires. Most of the time, checking the air pressure and wear marks should get the job done. However, you may experience cases where you need to deflate the tires to let some air out.

Here, we’ll discuss how to deflate a bike tire, why and when we should do it, and as well as the proper procedures and things to remember when maintaining your bike tires.

Different brands may use different valve mechanisms when manufacturing bike tires. These valves change how we deflate the tires. So, bear with us as we show you to properly remove the air from your tires.

What to Prepare

To get started, here are a few general tools you’d need to deflate your bike tires.

  • Screwdriver
  • Pin cap
  • Tire valve tools (or remover)
  • Needle-nose pliers

How to Deflate Tires with Presta Valves

Follow the instruction below to flatten bike tires with Presta Valves:

Step 1: Prep the Bike and Loosen the Cap


Secure the bike’s frame before starting. Make sure it’s not moving and elevated to work on the tires efficiently. To let the air out of the tires, you simply have to loosen the Presta valve’s cap over the valve’s top.

Presta valves are mostly narrower than the Schrader and common among most bikes. To loosen its cap, simply grab and twist until it comes off.

Step 2: Unscrew the Brass Cap


Next, unscrew the brass cap located on the stem. Before deflating the tires, ensure the tire’s valve is loose enough. Press down on the stem and listen to any faint hisses – a sign of air escaping.

In case you don’t hear any hissing sounds coming out of the valve, just loosen the cap a little bit more.

Step 3: Press on the Valve’s Stem and Fold


Finally, open the brass cap of the valve, then press on its stem. Be sure not to take the lid off while deflating to avoid any dirt from seeping in. Once you’ve taken the majority of the air out, fold the bike tire and carefully press on it to take the remaining air out.

How to Deflate Tires with Schrader Valves

Follow the instruction below to flatten bike tires with Schrader Valves:

Step 1: Prep the Bike and Disconnect the Rubber Cap


Prepare the bike to deflate a Schrader valve and ensure it is well elevated and secured. Once ready, remove the top rubber cap covering the valve before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Press Down and Hold the Stem Down


Once opened, allow air to escape from the valve by holding down the stem using any metal object like a pin cap, screwdriver, or pliers. Continue pressing the needle down on the valve’s center until it is appropriately deflated to your preference. Put the lid back on once you’re done.

And there you have it! You can also deflate your tires without tools, a pump, or a screwdriver. You would still need any pointed object to work on loosening the valves.

Why and When Should You Deflate a Bike?


Now comes the questions: Why do we even need to deflate tires? When do we have to?

Besides deflating tire pressure, there are a few other reasons why we should release the air from your tires. These include repairs for punctures, over-inflation, and replacing tires or tire tubes.

So, when should you deflate a bike wheel? Here are the most common situations where you need to flatten the tires:

  1. When your tire is overinflated: An overinflated tire is dangerous. It could burst and damage you and your bike. When your tire is about to burst, the best way to adjust is by deflating the tire.
  2. When you’re taking your bike out to ride on rough terrains: Airing down tires is crucial when you’re taking the bike off-road. A flat tire has more surface area, allowing it to “hug” the uneven terrains better. Depending on the roughness of the trails, it’s advised to reduce tire air pressure by 25-35%.
  3. Changing tire parts: Changing tires and tire tubes require letting the air out of your bike tires. Before attaching your new features, deflate and fold your bike to avoid damage.
  4. Repairing punctures: Punctures are pesky little mishaps that need immediate mending. Once the punctures are identified, deflating the tire before repairing could safely mend the little holes.

How Long Does It Take to Deflate Bike Tires?

Bike tires often take a few seconds up to a minute for them to be fully deflated. For most bike tires, the average time would be 30 seconds to a minute to deflate a tire fast.

A good rule of thumb to remember about deflating tires would be that the bigger the tire and larger the tire pressure is, the longer it’ll take to reduce; ultimately, it’d take at least a minute.



Do bike tires naturally deflate?

Bike tires, or even tires in general, do deflate naturally. They lose 10% to 20% of their air capacity each day. Compared to a car or a larger vehicle, the air loss in bikes are more significant, and they’re more prone to deflate or flatten quickly with time.

Does deflating tires damage them?

Tire deflation is very delicate and may damage your tires. Since the valves are the most used part of this procedure, any wear or tear on them could severely damage your bike’s tires.

Can we deflate tubeless tires?

You can deflate tubeless bike tires. However, using a tire plug kit to make temporary, necessary repairs on your bike is much better than reducing it. It takes a lot to deflate tubeless tires.

For any necessary repairs on a tubeless bike tire, you need to take them to your local bike shop.

What about Woods valves?

Wood valves resemble Schrader valves but similarly function like a Presta valve. They have a few distinguishable differences:

Bike Found in: Air pressure Deflating Procedure
Schrader Mountain Bikes Accessible but cannot control. Pressing on the pin or needle.
Presta Road Bikes Air pressure can be controlled. Squeezing the small ring located on the valve.
Woods Everyday bikes Uncontrollable air pressure. Remove the safety lid and pull the valve out completely.

Once you remove the valve’s top piece, the air immediately comes out. You must use the same procedure as a Presta Valve tire to deflate these tires.

Why should we learn how to deflate bike tires?

Deflating tires has benefits, saving you any chance of accidents and overinflation. These would include:

  • It’s convenient. Knowing how to deflate your bike tires can let you deflate them yourself, especially when it is urgent.
  • It can save money. When you do it yourself, you don’t have to spend for transporting and repairing your bike for any maintenance or damages.
  • It saves you time by allowing you to complete the procedure quickly.


Bike tire maintenance shouldn’t be complicated. Deflating and inflating your tires are quite straightforward. Learning how to deflate a bike tire goes a long way for your bike and safety.

It’s part of maintenance and is simply done in a few steps. Whether it’s bike tires with a Presta Valve, a Schrader valve, or a Wood valve, removing the cap carefully and pushing the valves can easily do the trick and even save you time and money if you do it yourself.

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