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Bike Pump Not Working: 4 Common Causes & Fixes

If you are an avid cyclist then you should certainly own at least one bike pump, they are the most important tool to have at your side whenever you go out on a bike ride as you never know when its services may be required.

This being said, there are sometimes occasions when a bike pump can let you down and this can be a real problem, especially if you find yourself miles away from home or the nearest point of civilization. 

There are many reasons why bike pumps stop working and today we will take a closer look at just some of them as well as the ways to mitigate against them. 

The main reason a bike pump stops working will be due to air escaping the tires, this is usually caused by a puncture and should be repaired as usual before attempting to use a pump. Other reasons include a broken seal allowing air to escape, improper usage of the pump, and over-usage of a pump.

All of these causes can be dealt with by purchasing a brand-new bike pump or the methods explained in this article. 

1. Air Leaking from the Tires

The first cause of a bike pump failing to re-inflate your tires is almost always down to something other than the pump itself.

Punctures are caused by many different things and be a real nuisance to cyclists the world over, as well as those trying to pump up their tires.

If your tire has punctured, air can escape from it in this area meaning that when you go to pump it up, it will not work.

To avoid being stood there for a while wondering why your pump isn’t working, you should always check for a puncture before attempting to use a bike pump on a deflated tire.

To check for a puncture you can use a bucket of cold water to check where the air is escaping from the inner tube inside your tire (obviously do this once the inner tube has been removed). 

Once the puncture is repaired you should once again be able to pump up your tire, if not then perhaps one of the other reasons in this piece could be what is causing your issue. 

2. Broken Seal 

A second reason why bike pumps stop working relates to the tiny seal at the top of the pump, this seal is used to keep the air inside the pump and essentially travel in a straight line into the tire.

If this seal is compromised in some way air can escape from other directions, meaning that it will take much longer to pump up a tire than it normally would, and this is frustrating. 

To fix this problem you are either going to need to use some more sealant on the pump, ensuring that you are accurate enough with its dispersion that you don’t cover up the hole where the air comes out of as this would seal the pump shut.

Unfortunately, another option is to simply buy a new bike pump as often once the seal is broken it cannot be repaired to the same standard.

3. Improper Usage of the Pump

You may read this next point and think to yourself ‘I know how to use a bike pump’, however, improper usage of the pump is actually a very common occurrence.

To use a bike pump, one should ensure that the nozzle of the pump fits into the area that it is trying to inflate perfectly, essentially creating a tunnel for air to travel through.

If you place the head of the pump in the wrong place, or do not join the two areas together properly you risk air escaping both the tire and the pump which would lead to the tire becoming flattered and the pump not working. 

It might sound simple, but the best way to deal with this problem is to read the instruction manual that comes with any quality bike pump, this manual will properly explain how to use the pump correctly and prevent any air from escaping while trying to inflate a tire.

Alternatively, there could be a weak connection between the pump and the tire that could be caused by a defect in your pump. In this case, I would contact the company you purchased the pump from and either ask how to use it properly or ask for a working replacement. 

4. Overusing the Pump 

Tools are often something that people treasure, with many around the world using the same tool kit for years before admitting it needs some refreshing and the same can be said about bike pumps.

Most casual cyclists don’t actually need to use their bike pumps that often, however, those that do may not admit to needing a new one once it stops working properly. 

Over-usage can wear out the components of the pump, such as the nozzle and pumping system which can once again lead to air escaping when trying to use it. It can also cause the pump to lack power, therefore meaning the time it takes to inflate anything is greatly increased. 

The only real way to deal with this situation is to accept that it may be time to buy a new bike pump as the time and effort it would take to restore the pump to its former glory is hardly worth considering for most people (if you are that way inclined then go for it by all means).

Hopefully, this short guide into the common causes and fixes of a bike pump not working has proven helpful for you and you have managed to deal with the problem you were facing. If you know of any more niche ways of repairing a bike pump I would love to hear about them, don’t be afraid to let me know!