Okay, ya'all should know the drill now. "WW4M" stands for "What Works For Me". NOTE- It may not work for you. Consider everything here carefully. Think it through, and if it makes sense, it may work for you as well. Or.....it may not!
|How do you know when your sealant is dried up?|
So, here's the first question: "Is there a "normal" amount of leakage over time?"
In my opinion, a "good" tubeless tire and tubeless set up should not leak down faster than your typical tubed set up, and a really good tubeless set up will actually be better than a tubed set up in this regard. So, if your tubed set up leaks down 10psi in the course of a few days to a week, you should expect your tubeless set up to do exactly the same thing. I recommend checking air pressure before every ride, and monitoring the results as you go to get a feel for how your tires, sealant, and over-all set up is performing, because when you notice a change, it may be time to add more sealant.
"How do you know when you need to add sealant? Any tips for doing so?" Well, as I have just stated, a change in your air pressure readings from your previous check which shows a lower pressure than normal is a clue. When sealant gets dry, it begins to be less capable of keeping air from escaping the tire's casing, not to mention the ability to seal punctures goes out the window. So, it is critical to understand when to add sealant. Keeping tabs on air pressures is one way to do that. However; there may be mitigating factors which might change when you would want to check your sealant. Things like extreme heat, a hot, dry storage area, a puncture which caused a loss of some sealant, or just the passing of time, all of which may point to a different time to check that sealant than normal.
|Many sealants are coming packaged in such a way that you could bring it with you on a ride now.|
You can use the auditory method. Take you wheel off the bike, hold it vertically, so that any sealant pools in the bottom of the tire's circumference, and shake the tire. Listen for any sloshing noises. If you cannot hear anything, it may indicate a dry, or nearly so, sealant situation. There is also the "dipstick" method. You can use this method with the wheels on the bike. Park the bike for a period of at least an hour or more to allow the sealant to settle in the bottom of the tire. Also- It works best if you have the valve stems at the six o'clock position. After the bike has sat awhile, take out the valve cores, allowing all the air to escape. Then, using a toothpick, or similarly thin, long-ish object, dip the toothpick into the valve stem and use it like a dipstick in a crankcase of a motor to see if you have wet sealant at the bottom of the tire. This may not be preferable if the tires you are using have a looser fit, because letting the air out may break the bead seal, and that might be a headache, but usually it is not an issue.
Getting more sealant in a tire is usually pretty easy. Again, you typically will have to remove the valve core, and the proper tool for that job, or the appropriate sized spoke wrench will remove that core easily. Then you can use a small length of plastic tubing, or buy a Caffelatex Injector, (my absolute favorite tubeless tire tool), or a used Stan's single serving bottle, if you don't buy the aforementioned injector, and add in about two to three ounces of new sealant, depending upon how big your tire is. (More for bigger mountain bike tires) While that may seem like a lot, I'd rather have extra than "just barely enough". Your mileage may vary. By the way, Caffelatex has a great tubeless tire table concerning this which you can find HERE.
|Sometimes it is best to remove a tire and do some "Spring cleaning"!|
Other sealants form a dried layer, or a "skin", which can either be washed off with mild, soapy water solutions, or peeled off like a Sunburned layer of human skin. It is good to do this from time to time to keep the layers from building up and adding unnecessary weight to your tires. Sometimes layers of dried sealant coagulate around the valve stem area, and can impede the inflow of air when you are trying to inflate a tire. This should be cleared off if that happens. Beads of tires and bead seats of rims are also places where you may need to clear off excess dried sealant at times.
How often you break down a tire and clean it up is not a hard and fast rule, but I would suggest at least doing that once a year and more often if you use Stan's as a sealant. Obviously, switching out tires presents a perfect time to clean up the rim and inspect your rim tape as well. Don't forget to clean up those removable valve cores from time to time also.
Hopefully this additional info was helpful. Again- Please ask any questions in the comments section.