Introduction: Re-inflating a Tubeless Wheelbarrow or Hand Truck Tire (without Explosives)

Picture of Re-inflating a Tubeless Wheelbarrow or Hand Truck Tire (without Explosives)

I have simplified a way to re-inflate small tires on around the house devices such as wheelbarrows and hand trucks with tubeless tires.
I had a hand truck sitting under my deck for several years and the tires subsequently went flat. 

After trying unsuccessfully trying to wrap the tire with a rope and twisting with a screwdriver, I decided to try a simpler method.


Step 1: Tools You Will Need

Picture of Tools You Will Need

You will need the following tools

Deflated tubeless tire
Side cutters
Half a dozen zip ties.
Air pump

Step 2: Clean the Tire Rim Seal of Debris.

Picture of Clean the Tire Rim Seal of Debris.

Remove any dirt, grass, bugs, etc from within the tire and from the rim seal.
After sitting for two years, my tire had all of the above.

Step 3: Attach Several Zip Ties Together Then Attach to Tire.

Picture of Attach Several Zip Ties Together Then Attach to Tire.

Attach several zip ties 3/4 the circumference of the tire
Surround the tire with the zip ties.
Add additional zip tie (if needed)  to completely surround tire with zip ties.

Step 4: Attach Zip Ties Around Tire and Secure With Additional Zip Tie

Picture of Attach Zip Ties Around Tire and Secure With Additional Zip Tie

Tighten BY HAND the zip ties. I found that if I tightened two zip ties opposite each other, it was easier to tighten an additional zip tie without risking completely tightening one zip tie into one of the other zip ties.

Step 5: Tighten Zip Ties and Inflate

Picture of Tighten Zip Ties and Inflate

Tighten the zip ties while stepping on tire. This will allow for addtional tightening of the zip ties.The goal is to force the sidewalls of the tire against the rim.

Inflate tire with compressor or bike pump.

Step 6: Once Seal Has Been Established, Remove Zip Ties With Side Cutters

Picture of Once Seal Has Been Established, Remove Zip Ties With Side Cutters

Once seal has been established, remove zip ties with side cutters, being sure to only cut the zip tie, and not the tire.
Enflate to desired pressure.

Step 7: Additional Help

Picture of Additional Help

I found that one of my tires needed a little "encouragement". I stomped down on the tire while my son pumped air. This helped make a seal and I was in business.

I also was able to reuse all but one zip tie for the second tire on my hand truck. Remember you only need to cut one of the zip ties to release the tire.

Save the zip ties that are attached to each other for future use on a similar project.

I apologize for the mediocre photos. When I took the photos I handed the camera to my son and said "take some photos". I was not sure it would work. When it did, I wished I had taken better photos ;)

My first publised Instructable! "Long time listener, first time caller".


harry514 (author)2014-07-19

I had tried everything and was ready to just go buy another tire for my hand truck when I came across this. Great idea that works like a charm! Within 5 minutes the truck was ready for use again. Thanks!

4u2c (author)harry5142014-07-21

Good to hear, Harry. I added some of the green slime ( to the rim before applying the zip ties to increase the life of the seal. Some older tires suffer from aging in the elements, such is the case with mine.

tomg191 (author)2017-12-05

Genuis! Worked like a charm...

LaurieH59 (author)2017-06-17

I love fixing things myself but keep running into roadblocks. I'd watched a video on how to replace a truck tire that looked so easy & thought I'd be done in less than an hour. Guess I've lost strength in my old age. So, back to google & I found this. It inflated so quick one of the Ty-wraps slipped loose, they popped off & voila!! I have a functional wheelbarrow again. You saved the day! Thank you SO MUCH for your wonderful idea and your pictures were just fine. Laurie

shteebo. (author)2017-02-11

Thank you for posting your brilliant solution. I used a canvas belt on my flat hand-truck tire and it worked beautifully.

4u2c (author)shteebo.2017-02-11

That's a great idea too. Everything I tried at the time worked ok, but the trouble came when I was trying to release whatever I had used "squash" down the tire. In one case (when using a ratchet strap) once the tire was partially inflated, I attempted to release the strap and it came off so fast that the metal part of the strap hit my hand, causing a nice bruise.

John Ciccarelli (author)2017-02-05

I realize this is an old thread, but wanted to thank you for posting the how-to. It worked like a charm, in under 5 minutes, on my neighbor's old wheelbarrow that I borrowed today, saving me a trip to a tire store or service station. (I knew there was a reason I'd saved a bag of super-long zip ties all these years!)

4u2c (author)John Ciccarelli2017-02-11

I still use this technique :)

DaveK913. (author)2016-11-05

Worked like a charm on a pneumatic tire for my chipper/shredder/vac. Fiddled with the dang thing for an hour before doing a search for "trouble filling tubeless tire". I used some 1/4" rope, hit it with my compressor(Which I literally wanted to do at one point) and it was filled in seconds.


4u2c (author)DaveK913.2016-12-28

I tried a rope as well without success. If I had my air compressor setup at the time that would have made it easier as well!

ScottA126 (author)2016-12-20

Thank you so much for this idea! You saved my bacon (I had a flat on my snowblower). The zip ties I had on hand were not so heavy duty, so I just kept inflating until they snapped right off. Anyway, I am so glad that your idea worked out for me. when I was in a pinch.

4u2c (author)ScottA1262016-12-28

Thank you for the complements. I too was in a bind at the time and had tried several things, all of which failed. I tried rachet straps, which nearly broke my finger when I released it. I tried twisting a piece of rope around it and that didn't work either.

brincon (author)2016-11-01

Awesome idea...I've tried to inflate my hand truck on and off for about five years...took me all of 5 minutes with a ratcheted strap. Genius idea. Thank you!

Daveybo (author)2016-10-23

I've solved it by going to a gas station and using high pressure air.

EricC209 (author)2016-07-19

I inflated this same size tire with only a canvas belt and a compressor. Just tighten the belt around the tire and that is enough to create the seal. Release the belt when the tire starts to inflate. Pumped the tire up without a problem!

checktheshills (author)2016-06-30

you're awesome!

jolshefsky (author)2016-06-09

Yah! I had found a wheelbarrow tubeless tire in the trash—presumably because the previous owners couldn't figure it out. I used a lashing strap to cinch down around the middle of the tread which worked a treat to get the bead seated enough to take air. A few PSI was all it took for it to stay and I was able to pry off the strap enough to let it loosen. Woo hoo! Free wheel!

ErikL55 (author)2016-05-28

Nice! I substituted some rachetting tie downs instead of the zip ties, which made it easier still. Good news is you can get a decent set for under $15 (I found one store with an 8-pack for under $20), and if you own a truck you should already have some.

sparkertoo (author)2016-04-18

There are MANY things I've never had to repair for myself until now, and a flat tire (on anything) is among them. When my first ambitious project of the year stalled because of a flat wheelbarrow tire, I did everything I could think of to get it to hold air but eventually decided I'd just buy a new wheelbarrow. Mine is dual-wheeled and two new [slightly larger] matching wheels were going to cost as much as I'd paid for the thing when new! However, I completed my project without the purchase just three days late (the same day I found your fix) and my old wheelbarrow – in good shape but for that tire – is good for another season!

I'd still love to have the fancy Worx AeroCart with wagon conversion accessory I'd picked out, though... lol

ThankYou So Much For The Fix!

dfruccio (author)2016-04-16

Even easier: tie rope loosely around middle of circumference of tire, tighten rope down by twisting with a hammer (or something similar), and then inflate. Works great!

GregoryA16 (author)2016-04-10

I did not think this would work, so I priced a replacement tire. What?! It really did take only 5 minutes and the dolly is good to go! Thanks so much!?

4u2c (author)2016-03-28

Glad it helped!
I've used this several times since 2012 when I originally posted this.

Purplestrains (author)2016-03-28

Man you are a straight G!!! MacGyver ish right there. I spent hours on this stupid hand truck tire and in less than 5 minutes it was back! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

SeanQ1 (author)2015-12-22

Thank you for the great tip! It saved me a trip to Canadian Tire, not to mention the $$$!

4u2c (author)SeanQ12016-02-25


Rig Man (author)2016-02-25

Your process works great! I had to re-inflate a small tubeless tire on a handtruck exactly the same type as shown in your pictures. Tire was holding holding air within 5 minutes. I'm glad I found this instructable before I attempted to try and figure it out myself as I know I saved time. Good job, Thanks.

4u2c (author)Rig Man2016-02-25

Excellent! Thank you for the feedback.

StrongFire (author)2015-12-19

Thank you so much for this Instructable! It was a quick and easy fix.

DanB62 (author)2015-09-18

Worked like a charm! Thanks for the clear, concise instructions. You saved moving day!!

4u2c (author)DanB622015-10-14


MarkM72 (author)2015-08-10

It worked! Thanks.

jemenake (author)2015-06-09

Pure genius. This is one of those little life hacks that I will take with me to the grave.

4u2c (author)jemenake2015-06-09

I've used this several times. A tie strap works as well :)

AnyaA1 (author)2015-04-08

I was told by two people that it would be near impossible to re-inflate my tubeless wheelbarrow tire that was off its rim. I bought a universal replacement wheel. But before installing that, I wrapped the wheel in zip ties, tightened them up while stepping down on the wheel and was able to pump the tire up!! Good to go. I can return the universal replacement tire, and dance a little jig! Thank you Instructables 4u2c!!

jerry.tenney (author)2015-04-04

This is a great tip. It works. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't tell that the problem I had was sidewall dry rot until I got it inflated.

mooseo (author)2015-01-24

Thanks for this. I spent a lot of time trying a bike pump, deciding a fast fill would help so dug out the air compressor, realized it needed oil, bought oil, found an extension cord, etc. with no success. You and your zip ties got me in business in no time!

4u2c (author)mooseo2015-01-26


fredbed (author)2014-09-13

YOU sir, deserve the Nobel Prize for simple answers to vexing problems. Yours is a brilliant adaptation of the ratchet and strap method. Bravo!

Worked for me the first time... took less than 5 minutes. Thank you so very much.

john.munroe.9469 (author)2014-09-06

I want to thank who is responsible of having this information on the Internet.

It worked like a charm. I was fighting with my tire for a good hour before I figured I'd should go on the Internet

and see if someone else has a better idea. Your idea worked perfectly.

I call it the dad or the grandfather ha ha I dear.

Before when both of them was with us and I found myself in a predicament like this they were a phone call away.

Thanks again.

chobbs1957 (author)2012-08-24

Great idea! When in high school, I used to work at a service station and had to mount tires. The little ones were always so hard! Next time I have a problem, I am going to use YOUR trick!

4u2c (author)chobbs19572012-08-28

Thanks Chobbs.

chobbs1957 (author)4u2c2013-05-04

Had to use your idea TODAY! I had a flat front tire on my old Snapper, and put your idea to work. I was away from the house without any zip ties, but found a piece of wire that I wrapped around the tire, wrapped the ends around a screwdriver, and rotated the screwdriver to draw the tread in, flexing the tire bead outward. Then when I attached the air hose, it seated the bead and inflated the tire! THANKS AGAIN!

4u2c (author)2012-11-15

What are these ratcheting tie down straps I keep hearing about? :)

jtfarms_101 (author)2012-11-12

i like to use ratcheting tie down straps around the tire, be careful tho loosen it before it snaps. worked for me many times on bigger tires.

mekennedy1313 (author)2012-08-27

I found adding a small bead of silicone or latex caulk provided the momentary seal to enable pressure to push the sidewalls against the rims. Had the additional benefit of sealing slow leaks at the rims.

4u2c (author)mekennedy13132012-08-28


marc.cryan (author)2012-08-24

This is really useful.

A few days ago I tried the starter fluid method. I used carburetor cleaner -- but the less-volatile kind. No explosion just an on-fire tire! Put out the fire with a bucket of water, then the tire was sealed (melted really) to the rim, but the tire was full of water. Eventually got it fixed, but it was a long struggle.

Your way is much better!

4u2c (author)marc.cryan2012-08-28

LOL Marc, glad you are okay. Reminds me of Dukes of Hazard for some reason...

dasreboot (author)2012-08-23

i use a ratchet strap and soap to do mine.

4u2c (author)dasreboot2012-08-28

Makes sense. I didn't have a strap and was trying to figure out what to do instead...

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