Changing the tire on your ATV or side by side is a pretty straight forward process. There are some specialty tools that can make the job easier, but you can also accomplish a tire change on your own with some cool little tricks.
The hardest part about mounting a tire is getting the old tire off the rim and the new tires on. There’s a couple ways to go about this and some tips to make your life easier. Balancing the ATV tire is really only necessary if you’ll be getting up to speeds over 45 – 50 mph.
Here’s the steps you’ll use to remove the old tire and mount the new tire, don’t worry I’ll go into more detail on how to do each of these step by step.
- Remove Wheel And Deflate Tire
- Break The Bead On The Tire
- Remove Tire From Rim
- Clean Rim Lip And Apply Sealer
- Lube New Tire Bead
- Mount New Tire On Rim
- Inflate New Tire Setting The Bead
Always start with safety when performing maintenance on your machine. It’s best practice to wear gloves and eye protection when working on your quad.
Remove Wheel And Deflate Tire
First off, get the wheel off the quad and deflate the tire. It’s easier is loosen the lugs a little bit before you jack the quad up. Loosen and remove the lugs in a criss-cross pattern, the same way you would install them. Once you have the wheel off the ATV it’s time to deflate the tire for removal.
To deflate the tire, remove the cap and release all the air in the tire. Most tire pressure gauges will have a little notch on one side, that you can use to push in on the valve stem to release the air in the tire.
Or you could always use a screw driver or punch tool, basically you just need to push down on the valve stem to release the air somehow. Once all the air is released from the tire, you can use a valve remover tool to get the valve cores out.
Here is a link to a Tire Valve Stem Tool Remover & Installation Kit on Amazon. This kit has everything you need to deal with the valve cores of the tires. I highly recommend getting a tool like this if you ever plan on doing any type of maintenance to your tires.
You can try to remove the cores yourself with a wrench or something similar, but that option usually leads to damaging the valve cores beyond reuse. In fact, I’ve never seen this done successfully without a valve stem removal tool.
Break The Bead On The Tire
Once the tire has been deflated, it’s time to break the bead seal. This is sometimes the most difficult part of the entire process because the bead is set into the rim a lot more firmly on off-road tires than it is on car tires.
And to top it off, a lot of times there is some sort of bead sealer on the bead to keep the tire from popping off.
If you plan on changing a lot of tires, I suggest looking into getting a tire changer tool. This PowerLift Manual Tire Changer Base on Amazon is only about 55 bucks and makes this step so much easier. If you don’t want to spend the money, that’s ok, this can be done with basic garage tools as well.
A popular option to break the bead is to put the tire on a piece of plywood, or something so the tire doesn’t dig into the dirt.
Then place a jack on the tire near the bead, then simply jack up into something heavy like a truck bumper or hitch.
Repeat this process around the tire on both sides in places where the bead is till set.
Or you could build your own homemade bead breaker with a couple 2x4s like in this picture here.
I would use a chain or something connecting to a piece of wood underneath the tire instead of a car as leverage, but that’s the fun of doing it yourself, use your imagination.
The whole goal of this step is to get the bead off the rim so you can remove the tire.
However inventive you’d like to get is up to you. I’ve seen people use a giant clamp to pop the bead off the rim before. You could use two pieces of 2×4 on each side of the tire and a ratchet strap to pull them together to press the tire off the rim.
Remove Tire From Rim
Now that you’ve got the bead of the tire unseated from the rim, it’s time to get the whole tire off the rim. This is sometimes called peeling the tire off the rim.
You’re going to want to take extra special care to peel the tire off the short side of the rim.
You can find the short side of the rim by looking at the depth on both sides of the wheel. The short side has a shallower depth and will be the easiest side to pull the tire off on.
The best tool for this step is a set of tire spoons or a tire changing tool set, like this Fasmov Tire Iron Tire Changing Tool Set. If you don’t have one of these, not to worry, they’re pretty cheap to buy a set, or you could just use a couple pry bars or something similar instead.
I would advise against a screw driver though, the larger ones may work pretty good, but be extra careful not to damage the tire or rim. Well, I guess you can damage your old throw away tires, but you need to do this later on to put the new tires on too.
Start by pushing the tire down into the open area near the rim. Use your tire tool or pry bar to pull the tire up over the rim. It’s best to use the the tool like a lever, sticking the tool down so that just a piece is under the tire and pressing down to pop it over the rim.
Hold that piece of tire over the rim and use the tire tool piece with a lip to work your way around popping the rest of the tire over the rim. Like you see in the picture above. It’s easiest when you use all three tools in the kit because the middle tool will get freed up with each new section of tire you pop over the rim.
Eventually you’ll get to a point where you can just pull the tire off by hand. Then you’ll use one of the tire tools to simply pop the tire off the other side of the rim.
Clean Rim Lip And Apply Sealer
Now that you’ve got the old tire off, you’re going to want to clean the lip of the rim where new tire bead will sit. It’s important to clean this area really well to be sure you get a good fit with the new tire.
You won’t always need to use a bead sealer, but will always want to clean the lip of the rim. You will only need to use a bead sealer if you think the tire bead won’t seal well enough on the rim on it’s own.
This is usually only a concern if the tire is real beat up around the bead or if the rim is bent up and gashed to the point where the tire won’t seal on the rim.
If you can get away with not using a bead sealer, than I wouldn’t use it. It makes it harder to remove the tires next time you do a tire change anyways.
Lube New Tire Bead
You will have to clean and lube the tire bead to help with mounting the tire on the rim. To clean it, just make sure the bead is free of debris and gunk. Usually a new tire won’t have dried up sealer or other stuff in the bead yet.
After you’ve made sure the tire bead is clean, it’s time to lube it up and put the tire on the rim. They do sell nice and fancy expensive tire lubes, but I’ve found that some soapy water works just as good. Lube both sides of the bead, inner and outer, if you don’t, it’s going to be really hard to get the tire on the rim.
Now’s a good time to check tire direction. Most ATV and UTV tires will not be directional, but they do make tires that should only be put on a certain way. This is because the tires is designed with groves facing a certain direction to help with traction.
You could look at the side wall of the tire for an arrow, or just decide for yourself by looking at the tread which direction you want the tire to be mounted on the rim.
Now to get the tire on the rim, remember to start with the shallow side of the rim. Place the rim on the ground, on something that will keep it from sliding away from you, with the shallow side facing up. Now poke the bead part of the tire into the shallow side of the rim and press down on the tire until it pops onto the rim.
Mount New Tire On Rim
Ok, you’ve popped the tire onto the rim, now you need to get it seated and the bead lined up correctly. You can kneel down on one section of the tire and use the tire tool or pry bar to seat the rest of the tire into place, as you can see in the picture.
Try using your knee to keep the tire from popping back up on the other end, your free hand will help with this as well. After you get to a little more than half of the tire pryed onto the rim, it will be easy to just push it the rest of the way on.
Inflate New Tire Setting The Bead
Now that the new tire is on the rim, it’s time to set the beads on both sides of the tire. If you have a small portable air compressor for airing up tires, that might not be enough to seat the beads.
You can try inflating the tire with the core out, to help you get more air in the tire more quickly to seat the beads. Then once the beads are seated, put the cores, or valve stems in and inflate the tire.
You will usually need a higher powered air compressor to seat the beads. The even make special designed Tire Seating Blaster Inflator Air Compressors made specifically with enough power to seat the bead of the tire. That’s because a compact portable air compressor doesn’t have enough power to do it.
Another popular option you could try is to spray starter fluid into the tire and light it with a lighter. The starter fluid burns all the air out of the tire and pulls the bead into place. To legally cover myself I am going to say to never do that. But, I’ve used this method plenty of times and it works like a charm.
Then once the bead is set, put the core back in and inflate the tire like you normally would using any air compressor you have. If you plan on riding at speeds over 35 mph, it’s a good idea to balance the tires at this point.
Check out my How To Balance ATV Tires article for the step by step instructions on how to balance your tires.