How to Break Bead on a Tire

How to Break Bead on a Tire

If you drive a lot, dirt getting stuck in your tires is inevitable. Clearing out this gunk is crucial to keeping up with your car’s maintenance. 

The best way to get this gunk out of your tires is to break the bead of the tire. The good news is that you don’t have to call a mechanic — it is definitely possible to break the bead of your tires and clean them out on your own! By breaking the bead of your tire, you’ll be able to clean the wheels, replace a flat, and more! 

What does breaking the bead of a tire involve? Read on to find out!

Short Answer

Depending on the vehicle, you can lay it flat on its side or elevate it. Next, deflate the tire (this step is not necessary but proves to make the process easier). Spray the area between the tire and bead with lubricant spray or soapy water. Using either a special tool or methods discussed later in the article, pry the bead out of the tire.

How to Break Bead on Tire — Step-by-Step Instructions

See below for detailed instructions on how to break the bead on the tire. With this information, you’ll find it easy to take matters into your own hands and maintain your vehicle, replace tires, and more. 

how to break a tire bead

Step 1: Preparation

You will need a few tools to break the bead of your tire. One can purchase these tools online from stores like Amazon or AutoZone. They should also be available at your local hardware store.

Here’s a list of tools you’ll need to buy if you don’t already have them on hand: 

  1. Lubricant spray
  2. Jack tool
  3. Valve stem wrench
  4. Bead breaker tool

In addition to these tools, you’ll also need strong tie-down straps and soapy water. There’s a good chance you have these at home.

Once you gather all these tools, move on to the next step. 

If the tools listed above are not available, consider checking How To Break A Bead On A Tire Without A Machine.

Step 2: Prepare the Tire

how to break a tire bead at home

To ensure that you do not cause any damage, you should coat the area between the bead and the rubber tire with lubricant spray or water. This move also makes the overall process easier. To make things even easier, deflate the tire with the valve stem wrench.

Next, either lay the vehicle on its side or take the tire off the vehicle and place it onto a jack. You can also do this with the wheel attached to the vehicle but make sure that none of the vehicle’s weight is pressing down on the wheel you are working on.

If you did not purchase the bead breaker tool, place the tire on top of the jack and secure it to the jack with the tie-down ropes. Regardless of what tools you are using, be sure to place the tire on the jack so that the rubber part of the tire is on the jack, but the metal part is not.

Step 3: Separation

 how to break bead on tire

If you are working without special equipment, raise the jack. The rubber part should be forced off of the bead.

If you have purchased the tools, grab your breaker tool and use it at the spots where you applied the spray.

If a spot is stuck, apply more spray or move to a different spot. You may have to go at the bead from different directions. You may also have to flip the wheel over and work on the other side with your spray and bead breaker.

Words of Caution

While working with any heavy vehicle is dangerous, if you follow the directions and proceed with caution, you will be okay. 

When attempting to break the bead on your tires, follow the following precaution to maximize your safety.

  1. Wear protective equipment (long sleeves, jeans, boots, etc.)
  2. Have someone with you in case something goes wrong
  3. If you choose to jack the vehicle as a whole, NEVER go under the vehicle
  4. Proceed cautiously and carefully

Remember: It’s okay to pause if you feel confused or unsure. There’s no shame in doing more research or even asking for help. What’s important is that you go about this process correctly and safely. 

You might also be interested in our next guide How To Break Bead On ATV Tire.

The Bottom Line

Breaking the bead on your tires is a relatively simple process. Once you learn how to do it, you’ll become a more empowered vehicle owner and save yourself some money. As long as you use caution and the proper equipment, you should have a successful experience. 

Fair warning: You might be the go-to mechanic among your friend group.  

Did you find this article helpful? Then feel free to look though the next guide:

How To Set The Bead On A Tire