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How to Install Tire Studs

by Jody L. Campbell

Tire studs are small metal studs inserted into pre-manufactured holes in a winter tire designed specifically for them. As do tires, tire studs come in different sizes. The larger and thicker the tire, the large and broader the tire stud. Most tires that accept tire studs will designate what size stud they take on the manufacturer's sticker on the tire. Another place to look is the sidewall of the tire. Only insert the proper-sized tire stud into the tire. You may also want to check on your state's tire stud laws before installing them. Some states have limitations to what months they can be on your vehicle, and some prohibit them altogether. As a driver, it's your responsibility to know the laws of whatever state you're driving in.

Spray a very small amount of lubricant into each stud hole of each tire you're studding. This will help seat the stud in the proper location.

Attach the stud gun to an air hose, and allow pressure to build up in the air compressor.

Load the studs into the basket and spin the basket in order to feed the studs into the chamber of the stud gun. Depending on the size of the studs, you may be able to fit an average of 20 or so studs per load. Less for larger studs. Each time the chamber clears, you'll have to reload the chamber by spinning the load basket.

Press the three-pronged tip of the stud gun into each lubricated stud hole of the tire, and squeeze the trigger. Do not bury the stud too deeply, as you could puncture the bladder of the tire. Do not allow the stud to stick out too far, as it will most likely peel out and fly off from the tire under duress while driving.

You want the tip of the stud to extend just past the surface of the tire. If studs enter the hold crooked, use the needle-nose pliers to extract them and try again.

Stud the tire one hole at a time. This can be performed on a mounted and air-filled tire, provided it's not a used tire or a re-stud. It is not recommended to stud old tires that have been used on the road before.


  • It's not uncommon for slight mishaps to occur like the gun jamming and/or a stud inserting into the chamber upside down. Just pay attention to what you're doing and what's coming out of the gun to correct it as you go. Labor for studding tires along with the studs themselves can be pretty expensive, so if you have the right equipment, it could pay off by tackling the project yourself.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

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Photo Credits

  • tire texture image by João Freitas from