How to Break a Tire Bead By Hand

How to Break a Tire Bead By Hand

Don’t know how to break a tire bead by hand? No problem. We have you covered with all the information you will need in this step-by-step guide. 

We break down the procedure from knowing what the tire bead is to successfully breaking it. Read on to save yourself from a trip to the auto shop! 

What Is the Tire Bead?

The tire bead is a steel cable covered in rubber that holds the edge of the tire to the wheel. It prevents the tire from shifting out of position when it rolls. 

When the wheels are fully inflated, the bead is secured in place within the grooves of the rubber by the air pressure inside. 

Why Remove the Tire Bead?

how to break a bead on a tire without a machine

A couple of reasons you might want to remove the bead yourself are saving money and keeping up the maintenance. Breaking down the bead helps keep the rubber surface clean because it allows you to remove any dirt or debris that would otherwise be locked in the surface. 

A mechanic can do the removal but will charge you for a simple task easily done in your driveway. So, let’s learn how you can do it yourself. 

how to break a stubborn tire bead

Step One: Position the Tire

Before you can get started on how to break a tire bead by hand, the first step is to position the tire on the ground. 

You want the wheel to lay down flat on a hard surface. Working on concrete will be easier than on grass or dirt, where the surface may be uneven. You will need to release the air evenly before moving onto the following steps that will require you to have a good grip on the tire. 

Step Two: Release Air from the Tire

 how to break down a tire by hand

Releasing air from the tire will bring down the PSI or pounds per square inch, so the pressure against the wheel’s rim will decrease. This will make it easier to separate the bead from the rest of the rubber. In any other circumstance, you want to make sure your wheels are properly inflated. 

One method is to rotate the cap on the valve stem counterclockwise to expose the metal pin located in the center of the valve. Use a screwdriver, a pair of needle-nose pliers, or a similar small tool to press down on the metal pin. 

Once enough air has been released, lift the tool off the pin, and the wheel will stop deflating. Replace the cap when finished.

If you want to deflate the tire entirely, you can also unscrew the metal pin with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Air will escape much quicker. 

Whichever method you choose, do not lose the cap for the valve stem or the metal pin. Keep them in a safe place until you are done. 

Step Three: Prepping the Area

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The next step leading to the action of how to break a tire bead by hand is to prepare the area around the inner circle of the wheel. When the PSI is below the necessary level for keeping the bead secure, the rim will be easier to pull off. If the tire bead is stubborn, you may need to either deflate it some more or apply more pressure by standing on the tire as you pull it apart. 

Since the bead is held firmly against the rim by steel cable and glue, you need to use a lot of force to break the connection. Applying an automotive lubricant along the edge of the rim will make it easier to slide the rubber out from around it. To prevent the metal from being scratched, you can tape it before adding the lubrication.

Step Four: Separating the Bead

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You want to push the rubber downward as hard as possible so the bead can pop out. Be careful to follow the seam to avoid damaging the metal rim. If you follow the prepping step above, the metal should be well protected. 

The lining should be easy to grip and loosen until it can be pulled out from around the rim. The rim can also be removed without requiring additional tools or a machine. When the bead pops out, it will tear away from the rim.

Consider checking: How To Break Bead On ATV Tire

The Bottom Line 

When learning how to break a tire bead by hand, realize that there’s a chance you can cause harm to yourself or the metal rim. Remember to stay safe and follow our step-by-step instructions.

If you ever have doubts, feel free to reach out to a certified mechanic.

Did you find this guide helpful? Then feel free to check out:

How To Set The Bead On A Tire