Changing your own ATV tire is inevitable. At one point in your life, you would have to do this on your own without the help of a mechanic. As such, you need to know how to do it by yourself.
There are a lot of online tutorials that you can see online. However, not everything is as simple as they seem. You need to know which one will work for you. This guide aims to do just that.
For your safety, you would need basic tools that will help you manually perform the task correctly. Do not worry because you do not have to spend much on these tools.
How to Change ATV Tires by Yourself
First step: bead-breaking
How to change the ATV tire? Before you start with the main task of changing the tire, you need to accomplish this first: breaking the bead. This is considered the most challenging part of the entire process because this part, the bead, is an essential component of your ATV tire.
Where do you find this part? If you look inside the rim of your tire, you will notice a small protrusion near the lip that encapsulates the entire rim. Locating ATV tires and rims is the easy part.
Tire beads are found on the edge of your tire that also encircles the whole tire. These are made of a steel cable that provides the strength and durability that your tire needs.
When this tire bead has been pushed to the confines of the rim, then your tire is already considered as beaded. This prevents your tire from going sideways and out of control. As its name implies, the bead retainer was made to retain the tire in its proper position. When this part is absent, you will notice your tires to get loose whenever there is too much acceleration and breaks during your travel.
Contrary to what some people think, your bead retainer is not the cause of your tire being sealed with air. It is the air that pushes the tire toward the rim. Since ATVs were made to withstand heavy-duty trails, tire beads are necessary for this purpose. Injuries and accidents will be avoided when this part is properly in place. However, you need to be careful when going through these difficult roads because they can cause your bead to get damaged.
ATV tires that are used off the road also have lesser pressure, so there is a lower force that presses your tire towards the rim lip. The burden is transferred to the wheels, which has to have the control that it needs to keep your tire from getting flat. Thus, tire beads are essential to ensure that your tire and its parts will not get broken.
So how do you do it? There are a lot of ways on how you can break your tire bead. However, all of them require a tool that you can acquire by purchasing it (ATV tire removal tool is also available). These options include expensive machines that are mostly used by mechanics in tire shops. These tools are very efficient, but if you have a tight budget, it will not work out for you. There are individual choices that you can do by yourself. However, you need to take it with a grain of salt because some of them may be dangerous if you do not know how to handle them. If you want to be sure that you would not hurt yourself, it’s better to bring your tire to an expert. If not, here are some options that you also might want to consider.
- Crushing your tire (Not advised)
You may think that this solution is absurd, but you read it right. If you have a truck that you can use, then you would not have to spend anything on this. What you need to do is to simply position your wheel across the ground and then run over the part of the wheel that includes the tire. Some people chose to go for this one, but personally, this is not something that I would advise for you. If it would be your first time doing this, there is a high probability that you would only end up breaking your tire. Its success is also not guaranteed.
- Of lumbers and trucks (Not advised)
This method involves placing lumber (2×6) over your tire that is slightly inflated (around 3-5 PSI) and is also lying on the ground. Using your tire, you would have to drive slowly through the lumber until the bead gives off. The weight of the truck would determine the success of this method, so you might have to adjust and reposition until you succeed. Afterward, you would have to put the same amount of air pressure on your tire and drive over the other side.
If you would think about it, this option is pretty much easy and can be done in a small amount of time. However, this is also not something that I would recommend because this method is prone to errors. The amount of pressure is a factor that can easily make things wrong. Also, it is dangerous when the lumber is unable to carry the weight of the truck because your rim might get blown off its proper position.
- Do it yourself bead breaker (Good suggestion)
Since the previous methods are not advisable, I searched and thought of something that would work safely and effectively for everyone, including those who cannot afford expensive stuff. Three concepts came to mind, all made of wood.
I thought of these structures while searching through forums online. This worked for motorcycles, so I thought that it would also be useful for ATVs as long as I tweak it a bit. However, there is a huge difference between an ATV and a motorcycle in terms of the strength of the bead; that is why all of the three models were unsuccessful.
Although I was able to come up with an excellent concept using several wood pieces measuring two by four, it had to be correctly positioned on the wall or a sturdy structure so that it would not get broken.
Although it is not a hundred percent perfect, I would recommend this method, especially for those who do not have enough money to buy expensive tools since you can do it by yourself.
- Purchase a portable tire changer (better than the first)
If you have some dollars to spend, you can get something from your favorite local auto shop that can also do the job. Portable tire changers do not cost much and can be used for various tire sizes. The only requirement before you can use it is that it has to be secured by something massive or on the floor so that you can manipulate it properly.
It takes a lot of practice and adjustments before people can use it successfully as a bead breaker. Some beads are fastened way too hard that you may end up just misplacing the bead of your tire. It can get a bit frustrating for some, especially when you are unable to do it after a lot of attempts. However, this is still something that you should consider because when you learn how to do it properly, you will be able to break your bead effectively. Also, it is cheaper than the other choices.
One tip that I can give you to be able to make the tire changer work is to ensure that only a small amount of pressure is present in your tire (only 3-5 PSI or lesser). This is the key to successfully breaking your bead since a higher pressure would only cause the bead to slide off. You might also want to try spraying a bit of water mixed with soap on the bead to help in slightly loosening it. This will work for most tires, but there are still specific models where you will find it hard to use it.
- Purchase a Bead buster (best option)
This is the best among all the methods mentioned here in this guide. The tool, sold by Bead Buster, allows you to directly attach something on the rim so that space can be created between the tire and the rim. This means that it does not involve only the side border of the tire but the tire bead itself. Because of this, there is a lesser chance of breaking the wheel and the other parts of your tire.
This tool is useful because the rotating bolt can be tightened accordingly by merely turning it so that it would have the force that it needs to push over the bead. It can accommodate all types of ATV tires, so it is a good investment. The only downside is that it is also the most luxurious. However, if you have the money, do not hesitate to buy it because it is the next best thing.
- Tire plyers
This tool may also be used to remove the ATV tire from the rim. The difference is that it provides you with leverage because of its handle. It can be used for several types of ATV tires, although it might get broken when the attachment of the bead is too tight. As such, this would not be a good suggestion.
Manually installing ATV tires
Next to breaking the bead in terms of difficulty is putting the ATV tire on the rim and getting it beaded properly. However, you can finish this task with less hassle if you have enough water with soap and tire irons. Included in this guide are some tips that you can use to get your tire back on the rim.
Changing ATV Tires – Step by Step
For those who own ATV tires without tubes, here’s how you can do it. The only difference of this process with that of ATV tires with tubes is that you have to release a valve and ensure that you do not damage the tube while doing so.
Jacking the ATV and detaching its wheel –
- Make sure that your ATV is adequately parked on an even surface or a smooth pavement, such as in your garage.
- Similar to ordinary cars, you would need your jack to raise the ATV so that the wheels can be detached from the main body. Make sure that you put stands for security since tire jacks usually have a limited operation time.
- Using a 4-way lug wrench, detach the wheel from your bike. Using an impact driver is not recommended because it is way too strong for your tire.
ATV tire removal –
To do this, you might want to use a tool that can be used to remove the valve stem core of your tire. Collapsing a tire will take time if you do it manually. You just have to know how to use the tool properly, and then you can finish this part in less than a minute. Just make sure that you hold on to the valve properly so that it would not get lost.
As soon as the tire is completely deflated, do not forget to return the valve stem core to its place with just the right amount of tightness.
Break the bead on opposite sides –
To break the bead, we recommend the following methods that you can select from:
The DIY de-beading tool –
- Incorporate around 3-5 PSI of air to your tire.
- To help make the parts of your tire slippery for easy removal, use soapy water on them.
- Position the wood near the rim as much as you can. Ideally, it should be placed vertically for optimal results.
- The longer wood should be pressed over the bead until it is detached. Once a portion of it has been removed, all the other parts will soon follow.
- The same instructions should be followed for the opposite side. Again, incorporate the same amount of air pressure as you go along.
Portable tire changing tool
- Using this tool is pretty much easy because you just have to read the manual that comes with your purchase. You need to use the bolt and ensure that adequate air pressure is left in the tire.
- Just read the manual of instructions from the company where you bought the tool.
If you are unsuccessful with one of the above options, then it is already necessary to bring your tire to the local auto shop.
Use tire irons to detach the tire from the rim –
For the next step, you would need the following materials: two irons used for tires, several screwdrivers, and plastic protectors for your wheels. You may also use plastic to cover your tire iron to prevent scratches on your tire.
- The first step is to put one of your tire irons in the middle of the tire and its rim. Put some leverage on the rim to life the tire.
- The second tire iron should be used to do the same step on the other side.
- Continue removing the tire from the rim using the first iron while holding on to the other one. You can use something to attach to so you can make sure that the tire will not go back to the rim.
- Do this until the bead has been removed from the inside portion of the rim.
- Once most of the tire portions have been detached already, you may already use your foot to complete the rest simply.
Smoothen the rim completely –
Don’t get too excited to put on your new ATV tire. You have to clean and wipe the rim first to make it smooth and shiny. There might also be other unnecessary particles that were stuck, so you need to wipe them off as well using a piece of cloth or a brush. You also have to be very particular with rust because it can also stick to your new tire when not removed. There are a lot of tools that you can use, such as a screwdriver with a head that is flat, a wire brush, or a grinder. If you have enough budget, you may also do some blasting and just paint again. Another advantage of cleaning the rim is to ensure that there is proper air seal on your tire.
Adding color to your tire –
It is an optional step but is still commonly done after rust removal. Painting the bare metal can also serve as protection from rust. Your ATV tire will also look more aesthetically pleasing.
Optional step: sealing your bead –
This is another step that you can skip, but this is something that you should consider because it can also protect your tire from having leaks. You might have noticed that there is a space between your tire and rim, which is prone to damage when left unchecked. Small particles can get stuck on this gap and cause scratches and other forms of damages, such as corrosion. When this is sealed, you do not have to worry about stones and other materials that can get stuck, especially when you are driving off-road.
There are a lot of sealers that you can buy which are within your budget. It’s a good investment for the future, but the risk is that it might be more difficult for you to change your tire the next time because of the sealers.
Lubricating the new installation –
Do not throw the soapy water that you have previously used because you will use it again at this point. The beaded retainer also needs to get washed for the rubber to come off faster. If you do not want to get wet, you can use a powder that will give the same effect. Using WD40 is not recommended because it can damage the material in the long run.
How to mount ATV tire
The wait is over. You may now put on your new tire. Mounting ATV tires should be smooth. Here’s how it is done:
- Ensure the proper orientation of the tire. The arrow can serve as your guide.
- Place the rim on the ground.
- Put the tire over the rim with the correct angle. The bead and other parts should be appropriately aligned.
- Manually press over on the 3 and 9 o clock position first using both of your hands. You would know that you are doing it right if the bead attaches to the rim correctly. Use your tire iron if you cannot get it done.
- For the next bead, make use of the tire valve by putting force into it with the help of your feet.
- Do this until the step is done. You may use your tire irons to set things properly wholly.
Filling the tire with air
The installation process is not yet complete once you were able to attach the tire to the rim. You need to put the right amount of pressure on your tire to be able to have it beaded. Ideally, you can use an expensive tool for this that would fill the space between the rim and the tire. However, this is a rare tool, and not everyone can access it. A good alternative is a sturdy ratchet strap. How do you use it?
- Encircle your whole tire with the strap. It should be placed in the center.
- Position the tire vertically with the ratchet over the tire and the rim on the center.
- Adjust the tightness of the strap accordingly. This will cause the side portion of the tire to give off.
- Stop the adjustment when the tire is already leveled with the rim. At most, 5-10 clicks would be enough. This would cause the space to be obliterated and the air to be sealed properly.
Expand the tire until it gets beaded
The last part is to infuse air to your tire until it gets beaded. To achieve the best results, you should use a tire-inflator with a gauge.
- Attach the tire inflator to your tire valve.
- You may initiate inflation with proper timing. Remember that you should not put too much air on it, especially when the strap is still in place (not higher than 7-8 PSI).
- You will know that the tire has already been beaded again when it makes a noise similar to a “pop.” This sound will be audible first on one side than on the other. Stop inflation if you heard this sound.
- If you are not able to achieve this, try removing the strap and then inflate it again.
- If beading is achieved, suck just the right amount of air to remove the strap.
- Attach the valve stem core again and put back the air in the tire until it is adequate.
- You will know the maximum capacity of your tire because it should be inscribed on it. Do not ever try to put a higher amount of air than what is written.
- You do not always have to reach the maximum. It is better to put a lesser amount of air.
- After this step, congratulations because you are finished already. Just put on the wheels again and off you go.
Frequently asked questions
- Is this doable at home?
Yes, you may do so as long as you have space and the tools needed. However, you should know how to handle all the tools and practice extra precautions, especially when dealing with pressurized air.
Changing ATV tires by hand should not be too much of a hassle.
- What is the level of difficulty of changing tires?
Now that you have a guide, all it takes is some familiarity and practice. ATV tires may be more complicated than ordinary bikes because the parts are more robust. However, if you have all the information that you need, it would be as easy as installing a new one.