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How to Change an ATV Tire. Repair and service shops may charge an expensive fee to change an ATV tire for you–often so much that you could have bought new ATV tires after just a few seasons. If you’re reasonably good with tools, however, you can change your own ATV tires in your garage at home and save your money.
Most ATV owners will at some time have to repair or change a tire on their bike. Recently, I decided it was time to stop being depended on a tire shop to do this job for me. I set out to find the best way to do this job myself.
I did the research, I did the testing, and have found a method that works quite well. This guide will tell you what you need to know to change an ATV tire by hand.
You can get the job done without breaking the bank on expensive specialist tools. But some basic hand tools are required to be able to do the job safely and efficiently.
Separate the ATV Tire
- Drain all air from the ATV tires you want to change. You can do this quickly by removing the valve stems with a valve stem remover or slowly by depressing the nut inside the valve stem.
- Break the seal between the tire and the wheel. This is a wire rim in your ATV tire that sits in a groove in the wheel. You can break this seal by pressing hard on the sidewall of the tire.
- In some models of ATV tire, you will find a tab you must flip to release the wire rim.
Remove the Old ATV Tire
- Wedge in the flat blade of your tire iron between the edge of the ATV tire and the rim of the wheel.
- Wedge the second tire iron in about 8 inches (20.3 cm) along the rim from the first.
- Slide the second tire iron around the rim of the wheel until it makes contact with the first.
- With some tires, this will be sufficient to fully remove the ATV tire. With others, you’ll have to repeat with the opposite edge of the tire.
Install New ATV Tire
- Set the new ATV tire on top of your wheel. Do this with the wheel lying on a wide, flat surface. The wheel won’t be as stable as when you were removing the old tire.
- Lever one section of the tire onto the wheel using your tire iron. Be careful not to cut or otherwise damage the new ATV tire
- Slide the other tire iron in place and pass it around to set the tire on the wheel.
- This is essentially the same process as removing the old ATV tire, reversed.
- This step may be easier if you apply a thin layer of lubricant to the edge of the ATV tire.
- Repeat with the opposite wall of the tire, if necessary. As with getting tires off, some models will require this step, while others will fall into place with just the first pass.
- Fill the new ATV tires with air using an air compressor.
Tools for breaking the bead
There are many ways to break the bead of a tire.
What most of them have in common is that they involve some sort of tool. Some of which are expensive. Others are almost free.
At one end of the scale, you have the several thousand dollars tire changing machines that the tire shops use. These are very effective, but usually way out of budget for the average home mechanic.
At the other end, you have some more-or-less effective, almost free, and sometimes downright dangerous DIY solutions.
Mounting ATV tires by hand
The second most tricky part of changing an ATV tire by hand is mounting it back on the rim again and having it bead properly.
With a couple of tire irons and some soapy water, you should be able to get the tire onto the rim without any big issues. Just take your time and work systematically.
As for beading the tire, this can be a bit tricky on tubeless tires. But in the guide, I’ll show you a simple trick I have learned that should help you succeed.
Underneath are the most common options, good and bad.
I’ve included my top 3 recommendations which are the ones I consider to be the most effective and least risky.
That’s “least risky”, not risk-free. You can still mess up. If you want risk free, take the tire to a tire shop.
Run over the tire with a truck or tractor (Not recommended)
This may sound brutal, and that’s exactly what it is. The method is completely free, as long as you already own a truck, and don’t break anything in the process.
The idea is that you lay the wheel flat on the ground, and drive your truck over the tire part of the ATV wheel.
While there are several reports of people successfully performing this method, it’s not one that I recommend. There is a great chance of bending or damaging your rim with this method. Its effectiveness is also quite questionable.
The 2×6 piece of lumber and truck method (Not recommended)
Lay the wheel flat on the ground with a small amount of air (about 3-5PSI) still left in the tire. Then place a piece of 2×6 lumber on top of the tire, as close to the rim as possible.
The idea is you slowly drive a truck up the piece of lumber until the weight of the truck breaks the bead. It may be necessary to reverse, reposition the tire and apply weight several times before the bead will break.
Then back off, refill with 3-5 PSI of air to stiffen the tire and do the other side.
This method is fast and may work fine in most cases. But it’s not something I would suggest for anyone as their go-to method for de-beading a tire.
There is a lot that can go wrong, and no guarantee it will work. If you forget to leave some air there is a great chance of damaging the tire. The piece of lumber fill just slides down the tire sidewall.