How to Take a Tire Off the Rim

How to Take a Tire Off the Rim

If you own a vehicle, you probably know how annoying and expensive repairs can be. In fact, for some cars, such as a Lexus GX, it can cost an average of nearly $800 per month to maintain them — which can really add up.

One of the best ways to save money on your vehicle is to learn how to do basic repairs. If you want an easy method of keeping your vehicle in excellent condition, it’s a good idea to know how to do it yourself.

Read on for everything you need to know about how to take your tires off the rims DIY-style.

Short Answer

The short answer to how to take a tire off the rim is that it depends on a wide range of factors including:

  • The type of tire
  • How thick the tire is
  • The equipment you have
  • Your strength and experience

However, there are three main methods — manual removal, cutting it off, and purchasing a tire machine. 

Read on to know exactly what you need to do and how to choose the best method to remove a tire off its rim.

how to cut a tire off a rim

How to Cut Off a Tire

One of the easiest ways to remove a thin tire is to simply cut it off. However, this only works if you’re aiming to discard it later. If you just want to temporarily change the tire — for example putting on a winter tire for a few months — this method won’t work.

What Equipment You Need

You will usually need some kind of specialist knife, such as a drywall knife or saw blade. This is because tires are thick and durable, so a sharp, powerful knife is needed to cut them. You will need to cut through the rubber, bead wires, and the tread surface. This sometimes has steel reinforcement.

Downsides of This Method

If you struggle with arm and chest strength, you may not be able to do this. However, if you want to know how to take the tire off the rim without cutting it, find out below.

how to cut a tire off the rim

Remove by Hand

To remove a tire from the rim, you will need:

  • Lubricant – you can also use oil or dish soap as a last-minute alternative
  • Either a pry bar, crowbar, or a tire lever
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Saw blade

When performing this process manually, you will need to break the bead by hand. In this instance, you will need a knife or any other cutting tool.

Step One

First, deflate your tire. Do this by removing the air cap. You will need to use your pliers to extract the cap from the rim, twisting them counterclockwise inside. The air cap is located where the tire is inflated and is made from either metal or rubber.

This process should loosen the cap, allowing you to remove it from the tire. You should then allow the air to drain by releasing it. 

Step Two 

You now need to debead the tire, which is one of the most crucial parts of the process. The bead is the edge of the tread and is found near the inner circle of the tire, secured against the rim with strong glue and braided steel cable.

Perform this step by cutting the bead from the rim using your saw blade. To cut, follow the seam that runs next to the bead. Ensure you don’t touch the metal rim. 

Step Three

Next, grease the edge of the rim with whatever lubricant you chose, as well as the bead. This is preparation for prying the tire, as it will be easier to remove the bead from the top of the rim once lubrication has been done. 

Step Four

The next step in the process is to open the space between the rim and the tire. Use a screwdriver and pry bars to do this, as this part can be stiff. 

To do so, lay your tire flat against the ground, and step on the rubber to create an opening. 

Next, insert the prybar into the opening and lift up the bead until it is raised above the rim. Hold this in place with the pry bar as you use your screwdriver to move and bead up the other half.

Step Five

You will still need to continue working on prying the other half. This is because the bottom half will only be loosened, and the other half of the tire still needs work. 

To pry the whole wheel from the rim, turn the tire on the other side and repeat the prying process of step four. You can use as much lubricant as you need to remove the whole rim.

Step Six

For the final step, remove the metal rim from the rubber. You should have loosened half of the wheel by now, so all that is left to do is reach for the rim and pull until the bead becomes free.

When to Use a Tire Machine

how to get a tire off a rim

It’s a good idea to purchase a tire machine if you remove wheels regularly. It is a lot easier than removals by hand. Although it is expensive at the start, it can often save you a lot of time and effort, making it worth the price.

They usually work with little human input. All you need to do is attach the tire to the machine, usually with screws, and follow the instructions on the machine. This makes it easy to use, even if you’re a beginner.

Downsides of This Method

The main downside of this method is that it can be very expensive. These machines often cost over $1,500. If you’re just looking to swap out wheels once or twice, it probably isn’t worth the price.

After dismounting, you will probably want to put your tires back on the wheel.

Bottom Line

There are several ways you can remove a tire, and the best depends on your individual circumstances. However, whether you want to invest in a machine, cut off the item, or manually remove it, it’s important to know how to take a tire off the rim.

There have been over 15,000 criminal convictions for unsafe tires in the UK alone in the past three years. Although it can be tempting to save money by doing a DIY job, you should always make sure that it is done safely — so make sure you know everything there is to know about how to take tires off their rims.

Did you find this guide helpful? Consider checking:

How To Take A Tire Off A Rim Without A Machine
How Much Does It Cost To Get Tires Mounted
How To Use Tire Machine
How To Stretch A Tire
How To Mount A Tire
How To Mount ATV Tires