Over time and with frequent use, even the best tires will wear out. When your tires wear out, it’s best to change them as soon as possible, as worn-out tires reduce the vehicle’s efficiency in braking, increasing the chances of an accident.
Of course, to change a tire, you must remove it from its rim (or wheel). Removing a tire from the wheel is relatively easy and does not require highly specialized skills or equipment. It can be done manually, by hand or with a manual tire changing machine.
Removing a tire from the rim is a relatively straight forward process:
- Remove the valve/air cap to deflate the tire.
- Detach the tire’s bead from the rim.
- Apply lubricant to the edge of the rim.
- Raise the tire over the edge of the rim using a pry bar and screwdriver.
- Pry out the tire on the other side of the rim.
- Remove the tire from the rim.
Removing the Tire From Rim by Hand
Here’s what you’ll need to remove a tire from a rim:
- Lubricant (such as oil or dish soap).
- Flat-head screwdriver.
- Valve core remover.
- Pry bar.
- Optional tire bead breaker.
Step #1: Remove the Valve Core/Air Cap to Deflate the Tire
Place the tire on the ground or any level surface, and locate the air valve—a small rubber or metallic device. The valve has a cap, which you will need to take off (by twisting anti-clockwise) to reveal the valve core inside. The core is a metal cylinder in the valve, by which the tube in tire gets inflated, and removing it releases the air in the tire.
You will need to use a core removal tool to remove the core from the valve. The tool is similar to a small screwdriver; you put the end into the valve and again twist anti-clockwise to let out the air. The tools are inexpensive and are available in auto stores and online.
Step #2: Detach the Tire’s Bead From the Rim
The bead is the edge of the tire attached to the rim. When the tire’s air pressure is sufficient, it keeps the bead firmly attached to the rim. Therefore, deflating the tire and with the application of force, you can separate the bead from the wheel and remove the tire.
There are several ways to remove the bead after deflating the tire. Some of these methods include:
- Drive a car over the tire.
- Lift and lower the vehicle on the tire.
- Cut through the bead.
- Use a bead breaker.
Drive a Car Over the Tire
This method is perhaps one of the simplest ways to disengage the bead from the rim without using any additional tools. Set the tire on the ground and drive over the tire. Doing so forces the edge down and out of the groove.
Sometimes you may need to repeat the process a few times before the bead breaks. However, take care to drive only on the rubber and not the metal, which may damage the rim.
Lift and Lower the Vehicle on the Tire
Lowering a vehicle over the tire is another relatively simple way to break the bead. It involves raising the car with a jack and then pushing part of the tire under the vehicle. The car gets lowered, resting on the rubber right next to the metal wheel, consequently pushing the edge of the tire out of its groove.
However, do not attempt this method if you do not fully understand how to jack a car, as there are some technicalities involved.
Cut Through the Bead
You can also cut through particularly tough beads using a sharp knife. However, cutting through will cause largely irreparable damage to the tire. To cut, lay the tire flat on the ground, and saw along a section nearest to the edge, taking care not to veer toward the metal wheel to avoid damaging it.
Use a Bead Breaker
As the name suggests, a tire bead breaker is a tool designed to detach the tire from the wheel. This tool is the easiest way to detach the bead without damaging the rim.
Step #3: Apply Lubricant to the Edge of the Rim
You may use any available lubricant such as oil or dish soap, applying generous amounts around the edges of the rim and tire. Ensure that the lubricant gets under the rim too. The purpose of lubricating is to make it easier to pull out the tire over the rim’s edge.
Step #4: Raise the Tire Over the Edge of the Rim Using a Pry Bar and Screwdriver
Having lubricated the wheel and tire edge, use your feet to press down on the rubber, creating an opening. Carefully push the pry bar into the newly created opening, and lift the tire up and over the edge of the rim.
Hold the pry bar in place, and insert the flat-head screwdriver next to it, using the screwdriver to pull out the edge over the entire circumference of the wheel. Flatter pry bars and screwdrivers work best for this task.
Step #5: Pry Out the Bead on the Other Side of the Tire
After successfully extracting the bead, you will need to do the same thing on the other side. Start by applying generous amounts of lubricant to the edge of the rim and bead, again ensuring that the lubricant gets under the rim.
Like before, press down the tire and insert a pry bar into the opening, lifting the tire over the rim’s edge. Again use the screwdriver to pry the tire out on all sections. At this point, the tire should be entirely free of the wheel, and you can easily lift it from the tire.
Using a Manual Tire Changing Machine
While removing the tire from a rim by hand is not an overly complex procedure, it is a rather hands-on process, and not everyone prefers this method.
One other way to remove the tire from the rim without going to the mechanic is to use a manual tire changing machine.
This compact machine allows you to skip the greater part of the tedious process of separating the wheel from tire, and is manually operated, unlike those found in a mechanic’s shop. Manual tire changers are cheap and available in stores and online. The machine also comes in handy if you don’t know how to put a tire on a rim by hand.
In addition to the machine, you will need:
- A piece of plywood (¾-inch thick).
- Metal rod.
- Core removal tool.
- Some 5-inch bolts.
Step #1: Trace the Outline of the Machine on the Plywood Board
Place the machine over the plywood board and use a pencil or pen to trace the outline onto the board, indicating the bolt positions. You may use boards other than plywood, just ensure that it is of sufficient thickness (at least ¾ inches).
Step #2: Fasten the Machine To the Board With Bolts, Nuts, and a Screwdriver
Screw the bolts into the wood, at points marked for holes. Using 5 inch long bolts with ½-inch diameter works best for this.
Flip the wood over and position the machine over the bolts, securing each bolt with a nut and washer.
An alternative to wood is to bolt the machine to a concrete floor. This option affords greater stability, but it is more tedious to achieve, as it requires the use of a masonry drill.
Step #3: Deflate the Tire
Locate the air valve on the side of the tire, removing the cap to expose the core within. Insert the core extraction tool into the valve and twist counterclockwise to deflate the tire.
Step #4: Place the Tire on the Machine and Fix It in Place
Set the now deflated tire and rim on tire changing machine. Ensure that you hook the rim to the small triangular-shaped nub at the base, and that the front of the wheel faces upward. Next, drop the machine’s arm onto the rubber at the edge of the rim. The arm resting on the rubber is wedge-like, to fit between the metal wheel and the rubber.
Step #5: Separate the Bead From Both Sides of the Tire Using the Changing Rod
Typical tire changing machines come with a changing rod to help in removing the tire. However, any metallic rod with a pointed end will suffice. Insert the changing rod into the open end of the arm, and slowly apply pressure; this will cause the arm to press down on the rubber and reveal the wheel.
Rotate the tire, pressing down the tire changer arm on all points along the edge of the rim. Afterward, flip the tire and repeat the process to break the bead on the other side.
Step #6: Place and Secure the Tire on the Top of the Machine
Set the tire over the machine’s top by sliding it over the central tube connected to the machine arm. Next to the central tube is a smaller spoke that should pass through one of the rim’s lug nut holes.
Place the bracket piece, which is a large ring with four spokes attached. The spokes prevent the tire from tilting or turning when you start to pull the bead over the rim. Finally, place the cap over the bracket piece and twist clockwise to secure the tire firmly.
Step #7: Apply Lubricant To the Edge of the Rim
Before you attempt to remove a tire, apply generous amounts of lubricant to the edge of the wheel and adjoining rubber, ensuring that the lubricant gets under the rim as well.
Step #8: Pry the Tire From the Rim Using the Changing Rod
Gently push the pointed end of the changing rod between the rubber and the rim, then lift the bead over the rim’s edge. Slide the rod along the circumference of the rim, using the central tube as leverage.
When all the tire sections are free from the wheel, push the rod down to the bottom of the tire and repeat the process to free the tire on the other face of the wheel.
You can remove a tire from a rim either by hand or using a manual tire changing machine. Hand removal can be tedious and requires screwdrivers, pry bars, lubricants and a core removal tool. You will need the same set of tools when using the changing machine for removing the tire.
The manual changing machine also comes in handy if you do not know how to put tire on rim by hand.
Whichever way you choose, the processes of removing a tire from a rim are fairly simple and easy to follow.