How to Remove a Presta Valve Core Without A Tool

Learning how to remove a Presta valve core without a tool can be very useful especially when you need to replace the tubeless sealant, or seat an old tyre onto an old rim.

Riding bikes can require quite a few specialized tools, however, and it is quite easy to get caught out. There are a number of shortcuts and tricks of the trade that can be used in order to get around these situations. 

So how do you remove a Presta valve core without the correct tool and how easy is it to do? 

How to Remove a Presta Valve Core Without A Tool

Solution 1 – Pair of Pliers

Most people have a pair of pliers kicking around their home somewhere. This solution is not ideal as it can damage the head of the valve, but if you have nothing else it will do the job. Simply hold the head of the valve with the pliers and twist anti-clockwise to loosen and clockwise to tighten.

How to Remove a Presta Valve Core Without A Tool

Solution 2 – Chain Tool

Most people that ride bikes should own a chain tool, and if you don’t it might be worth considering one. Simply slot the head of the Presta valve core into the end of the chain tool, and twist anti-clockwise to loosen and clockwise to tighten.

How to Remove a Presta Valve Core Without A Tool

What Is A Presta Valve?

The Presta valve is a commonly used valve found on bike inner tubes. The valve is the system by which air is pumped into the tire.

The valve is made up of an inner body and an outer stem.

The Presta valve was invented by the Frenchman Etienne Sclaverand and is also known as the Sclaverand valve or the French valve. The name Presta comes from the Latin word for fast or hurry.

The outer valve of the Presta is narrower in diameter than the other most common valve used on tires – the Schrader valve. It is 6mm compared with the Schrader valve’s 8mm. The length is variable depending on what they are being used for.

The narrower diameter means that they need smaller holes on the bike rim. This means that they work better with narrow wheels without sacrificing strength. However, the narrower size also means that inner tubes equipped with Presta and Schrader valves are not interchangeable.

Are All Presta Valve Cores Removable?

  All Schrader valves are removable, but not all Presta valve cores are removable. However most Presta valve cores are removable.

How To Tell If Your Presta Valve Core Is Removable

Have a look at the valve stem. If you see that the valve is made up of two parts then that means it is removable. If the core is removable, that means that it can be used for a tubeless setup. Sealant can be added through the valve.

What Is A Presta Valve Tool?

A number of different companies make cheap valve tools that work with both Presta and Schrader valves. They attach to the valve and allow you to remove the core.

These tools cost about £10. They are easily available and small enough to take with you anywhere.

What Is A Presta Valve Tool?

Is Presta Better Than Schrader?

There really is no answer about which one of them is better or worse. Both of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some people have particular preferences, while other people are more prone to simply use whatever is available.

Schrader valves are more common,  and sturdier and their core is much easier to remove. 

Presta valves do not have a valve spring, which makes them easier to pump. They are also much better on thinner rims due to their smaller size, which makes them well suited for road bikes.

Presta valves are also lighter, although the benefit of the lower weight is fairly negligible, and they can handle pressure better. They are also better at staying unclogged, which makes them well suited for mountain biking.

How Durable Are Presta Valves?

Presta valves are fairly robust. As with all things, they can break, but they are not known for being excessively brittle. In fact, if anything, they have a reputation for sturdiness. Just ensure you don’t bend the valve when removing the Presta valve core or it will break!

Can You Put Air Into A Tire That Has A Broken Valve Stem?

No, however, It is fairly easy and inexpensive to replace the valve core. Simply remove the broken valve core and screw in a new core, being careful not to strip the thread or damage the rim tape. 

Can Presta Valves Be Lengthened?

Presta valves can be lengthened if needed using extenders. This might be necessary with deeper rims, such as those on aerodynamic race bikes.

If you are looking to get extenders for your valve, it is worth noting that there are different extenders for valves with removable cores and those without, so make sure that you check which one you need and buy the correct one.

Presta Valve Core Extender 

How To Remove A Presta Valve Core Without A Tool

If you find that you need to remove a Presta valve core and you do not have the correct tool to hand then there is no need to worry.

A number of tools that you are likely to have lying around can be used to remove the core. 

Pliers, such as needle-nosed pliers, can be used to perform the job. Vice grips will also work. However, the best solution to remove a Presta valve core without the tool is a chain tool or a number 11 spoke key.

If you do not have these to hand, then a little bit of ingenuity with whatever you have to hand can work wonders.

How to Remove a Presta Valve Core and Replace Tubeless Sealant?

To start you will need to remove the Presta valve core and then remove the tire. You can see our full tutorial here: How To Fit Tubeless Mountain Bike Tyres | 9 Simple Steps

See our other tutorials here:

Peter Ballin

Pedro is the primary writer on the site. He’s raced downhill and enduro at a high level, spannered at mountain bike world cups, and also written a book called Mountain Bike Maintenance. He’s appeared in both print & online major media publications across the Uk, France, and Japan (and even appeared on French Television). He’s made his living from bikes in various forms, from mountain bike guiding in France and Spain, Trail building in New Zealand and Canada, and working as a bike mechanic in the French Alps for many years. Pedro loves a good adventure and is often settling random challenges like riding down Mount Fuji, swimming across Lake Geneva, and hitchhiking across America.