How to Mount Car Tires

by braniac

There may come a time when you have to mount a tire on a wheel, and not have access to a repair shop. While a professional with a tire mounting machine can mount a tire in under a minute, it can be done by hand. It will however take a little longer. This will be very difficult if you have a low profile tire. This is how to mount a car tire on a wheel...without a machine.

Tire Information

Lay the wheel on flat stable ground. Take the tire and lean it on the wheel. It is best to have the tire just touching the ground on the side in front of you. If available, it always helps to lubricate the bead of the tire. This is the part of the tire that come into contact with the wheel. You could use water, soap, oil, or anything that will help the bead pop onto the wheel easier. Now squat down and place your knees close to the bottom of the tire, straddling the wheel. Then place your hands on the top of the tire, opposite of your knees. Apply pressure with your knees, and start pushing down with your hands using a rocking motion. With enough force the tire should pop down onto the wheel. You now have half of the tire on the wheel.

To get the other side of the tire on the wheel will take a little more work. The hardest part is getting it started. You can stand on the tire and try to force the bead down onto the wheel. However, the best approach is to take a sturdy piece of metal and use it to pry the tire onto the wheel. An "L" shaped tire iron will work for this. You will notice that the tire is sitting over the edge of the wheel. Take the tire iron and place the end (without the socket) over the edge of the wheel. Make sure that it is down about 1/2" (one half inch) into the wheel. If done properly the tire iron will be slightly inside the wheel. Now carefully pry the tire iron back towards you. This will force the bead of the tire over the edge of the wheel. Now start working your way around the tire with your hand pushing down on the tire to get it fully on the rim. If you find that you can't get the tire to seat this way, place your foot on the tire where the tire iron is to hold the tire down where the bead is seated. Use the tire iron to work your way around the tire, prying the tire down onto the wheel, being careful not to let the previously seated part of the tire pop out.

Once you have the tire seated, you just need to pump up the tire. Be very careful doing this step. This can be very dangerous. When the bead seats on the tire, the force can propel the tire and wheel into the air. You will need compressed air for this. This is necessary to have the amount of force needed to seat the bead. If there is any way for you to secure the tire and wheel to something, do it! Strap it down if you can. Start to inflate the tire, usually the bottom bead will seat first. You will hear a "pop" when this happens. You will then see the sidewall start to bulge, and then notice that the top bead starts to come up around the tire. Once about 3/4 of the bead is seated, stop inflating the tire and step back. Wait about a minute, a lot of times the pressure being applied by the air to the unseated part of the tire will cause it to seat. If it does not, slowly add more air, and then step away again. It is best to have some distance between you and the tire. While most of the time it will only pop up a couple of inches, you don't want to be the unlucky one looking over the tire when it pops up with a lot of force.

Tips

  • check Get some help from a friend if you can, many hands make light work.
  • check This is of course best left to professionals. Even as an experienced mechanic, I have been hit by tires that have "jumped" off of the tire mounting machine that they were secured to.

Warnings

  • close Be very careful when doing this. It can be extremely dangerous when trying to seat the bead on an unsecured tire.
  • close If there is any way possible, leave this to a trained professional. This should only be attempted if you have no other choice.

Items you will need

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera www.firestone-usa.com