How to Inflate a Stuck Ball Valve Needle

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Many different sports balls require you to pump air into the bladder via a specialized needle. However, sometimes the needle gets stuck in the valve hole. When this happens, use a tested method to remove the needle and get the ball pumped back up.

Items you will need

  • Pump

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cotton balls

  • Vise-grip locking pliers

Step 1

Remove the pump nozzle from the needle adapter. Pour some rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and swab around the needle entry area at the hole. Pull the needle up as far as possible with your fingers, and wipe down as much of the needle with the alcohol as possible.

Step 2

Grip the needle adapter top with the vise-grip locking pliers, placing the ball between your knees. Pull up and out with the vise grips to remove the needle out of the ball. Wipe around the hole once more, adding a drop of the rubbing alcohol to the hole itself.

Step 3

Push the needle adapter back into the hole and bladder. Attach the pump and inflate to the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) for the ball. Add two to three extra pumps after the target PSI is reached to account for air loss when the needle is removed.

Step 4

Pull the needle out after inflating the ball.

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

Photo Credits

  • basketball image by Alexey Klementiev from