Changing your tires can seem daunting to some — a task best left to the professionals. Conversely, you also get a few DIY dads who are supremely confident in their abilities and insist that they can get the flashy new tires they bought to fit a rim when the tires are patently too small.
Don’t get us wrong — we love DIY dads. However, we also want them to get it right every time, and that also goes for anyone who fears they may not be able to change a wheel at home. Follow this simple guide to learn how to put a tire on the rim.
You can mount tires by yourself at home using a pry bar, lubricant, and a lot of your strength. Be prepared to exert some serious effort, as mechanics usually complete this task with a heavy piece of machinery.
The first thing you must know about how to put a tire on a rim by hand is your materials list. It’s quite short, as you’ll only need three items:
- A specialized lubricant
- A pry bar
- A piece of cardboard
Once you gather your materials, you can begin the process:
Step 1: Lubricate the Tire Bead and Rim
Use a specialized lubricant to lubricate the tire bead and rim thoroughly. Apply liberally, especially to the rim’s outer edge and the tire’s interior bead. You can find tire lubricant sold as a paste in most auto shops.
If you don’t have any store-bought paste on hand, you can opt for a few alternatives, including liquid dish detergent or Windex spray.
Step 2: Set the Rim Flat on the Ground
You’ll likely complete the mounting process in a garage, driveway, or parking lot with a concrete or blacktop surface. If you work carelessly, you might scratch your rim on these unsmooth surfaces before you even get to put your new wheels to the test. Protect your investment by setting up a piece of cardboard in your working area. Place the rim on the cardboard, and then place the tire on top. Ensure the bottom bead meets the rim’s upper lip.
Step 3: Stand on the Tire to Press it into the Rim
At this point, you should be ready to exert some physical effort. It will require you to stand on top of the tire so that you can guide its lower lip onto the rim.
This step might cause you to feel shaky and unbalanced. Ask a friend to provide their hand for support, or set up your tire and rim near a steady, heavy object you can hold onto.
Start by placing one foot onto one side of the tire. Bring your other foot up and step on the other side. This process will force the tire’s bottom bead over the rim’s top lip.
You might need to hop and bounce a bit to force the tire over the rim. Ensure you always have a good hold on a friend or nearby object, as you might stumble and injure yourself.
Step 4: Apply More Lubricant
Even once you get the lower bead situated, your job is far from over. The most difficult part is getting the upper bead seated.
Lift the wheel slightly and apply more lubricant to the top bead (the bottom one won’t require any more). This process will help force the rubber down.
Step 5: Get the Bead of the Tire Into the Tuck of the Rim
Your next task will be to get the bead of the tire into the tuck of the rim. Start by pressing the wheel’s upper lip down onto the rim of one side.
Use your pry bar to work small sections of the tire underneath the lip of the rim. Prepare yourself for some resistance.
Tip: You can use a screwdriver if you don’t have access to a pry bar. Whichever tool you use, be careful not to scratch your rim.
You’ll need to use your feet and one hand to hold all of the sections in place, so as to not un-do your work. Go section by section until you mount the whole tire onto the rim.
And you’re done!
How to Mount a Tire on a Rim with a Machine
How to mount a tire on a rim with a machine? There are increasingly sophisticated machines available to mount tires. Professionals may use these to apply tires to a consistently high standard. However, they can be complicated and are generally too expensive for home use.
How to Put a Tire Back on the Rim with Fire
We don’t recommend this method. It can work, but you should never try it unless you’ve practiced several times with someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. It’s very dangerous if it goes wrong and not suitable for general home use.
How to Mount a Small Tire on a Rim
Essentially — don’t do this. Typically, if the sizes appear to be a mismatch, there’s a reason they’re not supposed to be together. You can ask a professional to try making it fit, but they’ll probably tell you to use a larger tire. Learn more in our guide – How To Stretch Tires.
How Much Does it Cost to Put a Tire on a Rim?
If you’re still unsure you’re up for the job, there’s good news: hiring a professional is pretty cheap. It’s the cost of the tires you have to worry about, which is why it’s worth being extra sure that they’re a fit for your rims. learn how much it costs to get tires mounted.
When you take a methodical, confident approach, changing your tires isn’t as hard as it looks. Get your toolkit together and learn a valuable life skill today!