Mounting your own tires can be quick, easy and free if you’re using the right tools. Like anything else, this process can be tricky the first few times you try it. But with a little help from our tutorial, you’ll be mounting tires like a pro in no time.
Tools And Equipment
– Tire Spoons: You’ll need at least two, but preferably three. Without these, peeling the tire sidewall over the wheel is impossible.
– Valve Stem Tool: This allows the “guts” of the valve stem to be effortlessly removed. Removing the guts makes the process safer and more efficient. You’ll also need this tool to seat the valve stem into the wheel.
– Soap or Lubricant: Household dish soap mixed with water in a spray bottle works great. WD-40 works well also. However, my secret weapon is Simple Green because its biodegradable, slippery, pleasant smelling, and doesn’t stain the garage floor.
– Air Compressor: An air compressor capable of creating enough air volume to inflate an ATV tire and seat the bead is a must. Forget about using a portable compressor or the compressor at the local gas station — they inflate too slowly and aren’t suitable for the volume of air you’ll need.
1. Install the Valve Stem
Lube the valve stem and position it inside the wheel. Thread the valve stem tool onto the valve stem and give a firm tug. The stem should pop onto the wheel and seat itself. Remove the valve stem tool from the valve stem and use it to remove the “guts” of the valve stem. Put the tool and the guts in a safe place for later.
2. Check if Your Tire is Directional
This is important to know. If you have no idea, check the sidewall of the tire for an arrow. If there’s an arrow, the tire is directional. If not, it’s non-directional. Directional tires should be mounted with the arrow facing the direction of forward rotation. Directional tires can be mounted on either the left or right side, it’s just important to make sure the arrow points forward when rotated.
3. Clean and Lube the Tire Bead
Make sure the bead of the tire is free of debris. Once clean, lubricate both inside and outside beads of the tire to make them slippery. Without lubrication, getting the tire to slip over the wheel is very difficult.
4. Position the Tire on the Wheel Correctly
Wheels have a dished in section on their inner surface that are designed to create a void. The purpose of this void is to give the bead of the tire a place to fall into, offsetting the tire and providing additional space for the bead to slip over the wheel.
5. Mount the Tire
Depending on the tire and wheel package, this can be done one of two ways. With stiff-walled six ply tires, it’s often easier to leave the tire on the garage floor and push the wheel into the tire. With flimsy walled tires, it can be easier to leave the wheel on the garage floor and push the tire over the wheel. In either case, just make sure to do whatever is easier.
6. Tire Spoon the Second Bead
The final bead must be pried over the wheel with tire spoons. Spray a few squirts of lube onto the bead again and use a tire spoon to pry the tire over the wheel. I like to stand on that portion of the tire, which pushes the bead of the tire down into the void in the wheel. This makes prying the rest of the wheel easier. Using two or three tire spoons, continue working your way around the tire until the whole bead is pried over the wheel.
7. Seat the Bead
Even with the tire beads over the wheel, the tire is still unable to hold air until the bead is firmly “seated” onto the wheel. After making sure the tire bead is firmly lubed yet again, begin inflating the tire with air. Be careful not to exceed the maximum inflation pressure, which should be stamped onto the sidewall of the tire. As the tire is inflated with air, both inner and outer beads will seat themselves. If you did it correctly, you’ll hear two loud “POPS”! After the tire pops, let all of the air out and deflate the tire. Even with no air, the bead will remain seated.
8. Inflate the Tire
With all of the air out of the tire, reinstall the valve stem guts with the valve stem tool. Using the air compressor, inflate the tire to the pressure desired. Remember to put the valve stem caps on to keep it free of debris.
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