How to Mount ATV Tires

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Video atv tire mounting

How to Mount ATV Tires

Mounting ATV Tires at Home

If you’ve been thinking about changing ATV tires or UTV tires at home, know that while it can be tricky the first few times because these tires tend to have stronger beads than on-road tires, it’s a pretty straight-forward process as long as you have the proper tools, and follow this step-by-step tutorial from the tire experts at Treadworld. Also keep in mind that air under pressure is potentially dangerous so take any necessary precautions. Balancing your ATV tires can be difficult and is likely not necessary unless you’re racing or engaging in high-speed ATV and UTV activities.

The Tools You Will Need to Change ATV Tires

  • Tire changing spoons or big screwdrivers.You’ll need at least two and preferably three to help you peel the tire sidewall over the rim. To be certain you’re not damaging your rims, you may also want to consider getting plastic protectors or spoons with protective plastic.
  • Valve stem tool.You’ll need this tool on both ends of your project. First, to easily remove the entire valve stem when you’re removing the tire, then to seat the value stem into the wheel with the replacement tire.
  • Lubricant or soap.To make getting the tire onto the rim infinitely easier, you’ll want to use a commercial tire lubricant or household dishwashing soap mixed with water.
  • Air Compressor.You’ll need a fairly heavy-duty air compressor to provide enough volume of air to properly seat the beads of the new tires. Portable compressors or compressors at your local gas station often are not powerful enough to do the job.
  • Ratchet Strap.You may need a ratchet strap to assist you in getting the new ATV tire seated, back on the wheel and inflated.

Remove the wheel from the ATV

When mounting ATV tires at home, it’s best to start with your ATV on a hard floor like a garage. Loosen the lug nuts a little to make them easier to get off, then jack up your four-wheeler so you can remove the wheel. Consider getting the bolts off using a hand tool rather than an impact wrench, which can on occasion be powerful enough to snap a bolt.

Deflate the ATV tire

Remove the cap from the valve stem and release all the air in the tire using either a valve stem core removal tool which will remove the stem and is the quickest method, or a tire pressure gauge that has a notch on the side used to push in on the valve stem or a screwdriver, which will take longer.

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Break the bead on both sides of the ATV tire

This is likely the toughest part of changing an ATV or UTV tire because the bead is set to the rim a lot more firmly with off-road tires, than with on-road tires. That’s because off-road tires are asked to do things on-road tires don’t, like ride steep slopes, travel rocky terrain and land jumps. First, here are a few details. The bead retainer is a small ridge that goes all the way around on both edges of the wheel rim. It is intended to keep the tire in place so that aggressive riding won’t result in it sliding and losing the air seal. The tire bead is on the edge of each tire. Essentially, it’s a strong steel reinforced loop around both edges of the tire. Many times, a bead sealer is used on the bead to further keep it from popping off. In a nutshell, with this step, you’re getting the bead off the rim so you can remove the tire.

3 options for breaking the bead on ATV tires at home

There are essentially three ways to break the bead on an ATV tire. Likely the easiest method is with a BeadBuster, a tool designed for the job that clamps onto the rim and forces a wedge between the rim and the tire. BeadBusters are quick, simple and offer less chance for damaging the tire than other methods. A quick look shows they currently sell for around $100 at online shops. A cheaper alternative is using another of the several available portable tire-changing tools, generally available at any hardware store or auto supply shop. Most models need to be bolted to the floor, or some other heavy object. If you go with this alternative, you’ll want to leave 3-5 PSI air in the tire to facilitate success. Finally, there is the DIY method, which involves your inventiveness. Start by putting soapy water on the bead to help it slide. Devise the best way to get the tire in position so you’ll be able to force the tire to break free of the bead. You may want to use a 2×4 set as close to the rim as possible to push the tire edge away from the bead. Then flip the tire and do the other side. Again, it may help to have 3-5 PSI of air left in the tire with this method.

Peeling the ATV tire off the rim

You’ll want to use tire spoons or large screwdrivers for this step. Place one of the irons between the tire and the rim, and lift a section of the tire over the rim. Using one tool, hold that section away from the rim, and use the other tool to edge the rest of the tire over the side of the rim. Continue with this process until the full tire is from the rim, then remove the tire from the wheel rim completely.

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Clean the lip rim on both sides and consider a sealer

The better you clean the lip rim on both sides, the better your new tire will fit. Wash off any dirt and debris. Use a stiff brush if necessary. Remove any rust. To get a good airtight seal, you need the surface to be smooth. If your rim shows any signs of pitting, nicks or other damage, you’ll likely want to apply a bead sealer, which is a rubber product designed to aid in bead seating. You may want to skip the bead sealer if you don’t need it in order to make changing the tire in the future easier.

Clean and lube the tire bead on the new ATV or UTV tire

So that the rubber will slide easier, put commercial tire lube or some soapy water on the bead retainer on both sides of the wheel rim. You can also use a light coating of baby powder, but stay away from WD40 as it can deteriorate rubber.

Check to see if your ATV tire is directional

Tires can be directional or multi-directional. Directional ATV tires should be mounted in a certain way for best traction and optimal performance and safety, while multi-directional tires work in either direction. Some types of four wheeler tires are directional depending on usage, like ATV mud tires for example. Look on the tire sidewall for an arrow, which indicates the tire is directional and should be mounted with the arrow facing the direction of the forward rotation. Another way to tell is by looking at the tread. A tire with an aggressive V-tread is likely a directional tire and should be mounted so the tip of the V hits the ground first. Directional tires can be mounted on either side.

Pop the new tire on the rim and get it seated correctly

The next step is to get the tire seated and the bead lined up correctly. Start by putting soapy water or lube onto the wheel rim. With stiffer walled tires, place the tire on the garage floor then push the wheel into position. With tires that have a less-stiff wall, placing the wheel on the floor and positioning the tire may be easier. Push straight down with both hands to slip the bead of the tire over the lip of the wheel. To get the second bead pried over the lip of the wheel, you’ll need to use your tire spoons, working your way around the tire until you have the entire bead pried over the wheel. To hold air, the tire needs to be firmly seated on the bead. At this point, be sure the tire is lubed up and begin using your higher-powered air compressor to put air in the tire. Don’t over inflate. The maximum inflation pressure should be stamped on the sidewall of the tire. The expectation is that as the tire inflates, both beads will seat themselves, as indicated by a loud “pop”, which should happen at a fairly low air pressure, 7-8 PSI. Once that occurs, let the air out of the tire. The beads will remain seated.

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You may have difficulty getting the air into the tire fast enough to get the beads seated. That’s due to the gap that still exists between tire and rim. A good way to solve that issue is to tighten a ratchet strap around the middle of the tire, pushing the tire walls out towards the lip of the wheel on each side. Stop tightening as soon as the tire touches the tip of the rim. Then the tire should hold air because the gap has been closed.

Reinstall the valve stem and inflate the tire

Use your valve stem tool to reinstall the valve stem, then inflate the tire before capping the valve stem to keep it free of debris. Now you’re ready to reinstall the tire on your ATV, having solved the problem of how to mount ATV tires at home.

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