Wrenchin’ Wednesday: Valve core removal tool

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Phillip Thomas

Valve stem core removal tools, also known as Schrader valve tools, are essentially special screwdrivers for removing the check valve that seals up the valve stem. They reach around the top of the valve, which locates into a slot in the tool. This gives you the interface for the tool to spin the valve core in and out, but with tight clearances between the stem and valve core, it’s difficult to spin one with just a normal screw driver. Though possible, doing so can sometimes result in damaging the valve stem beyond use.

There are few problems a cut-off wheel can’t solve, and today’s Wrenchin’ Wednesday subject is one of them.

Phillip Thomas
Phillip Thomas

You can use a broken screwdriver if its diameter is smaller than .19 of an inch, but I started with an M6 bolt that was just skinnier than the inside diameter of the valve stem. With a lot of finesse, a cut-off wheel can be used to make a single cut about an eighth of an inch deep, as its kerf is nearly the same width as the top of the valve core—and a Dremel tool can also work here, though those types of cutting wheels tend to be skinnier and will take several tedious slices to dig the slot out. Test fit the valve core after deburring, and once you’re happy with the fit, go ahead and thread the core back into the valve stem.

Phillip Thomas

That’s it! Quick and simple, throw it with the rest of your tire tools or next to where you keep an air-chuck for when you need maximum air-volume through the valve stem. One pro-tip is that the female end of many quick-release air fittings can be placed directly over the valve stem, which will reach far enough to pop open the pintle inside. This move allows for little to no drop in pressure, as you’re not choking the air path through a restrictive air chuck. That can be all the difference when trying to seat the bead on a tire at home or when quickly airing up large off-road tires.

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