How to Use a Tire Machine

by Jody L. Campbell

Many of today's tire machine's in most tire shops are stand-up models. These feature a bead breaker, a turntable with locking jaws, an adjustable tool arm and an air hose to fill the tire. Some more modernized machines have even more attachments and hydraulic arms to assist in mounting and de-mounting specialty tires, such as low profile tires or wide, stiffed sidewall tires. Today's tires are getting fancier and more technical and with that, the tire machines are following suit.

How to Use a Tire Machine

Put on your safety glasses and familiarize yourself with the tire machine and all the moving parts. Some may have two foot pedals located on the bottom of the front of the machine, while others may have three. It is recommended to step on the pedals to see which one activates what part of the machine and get familiar with it before de-mounting or mounting a tire. The placement of the pedals is not always universal, however for the most part, the pedal closest to the apparatus is what activates it. For example, on a three pedal system, the far right foot pedal will activate the bead breaker bar, the pedal in the middle will activate the turntable, the pedal on the left will activate the locking jaws on the turntable. Most all of the machines will have an air inflation pedal located on the far left side of the machine away from the moving parts on the front.

Remove the valve stem cap. Remove the valve core using the valve core removal tool. Allow the tire to deflate.

Place the tire on the right side of the tire machine standing up. Swing the adjustable bead breaking arm so that the blade is placed just on the outside edge of the rim, but only touching the tire. Make sure the blade does not contact the rim in any way. Activate the bead breaking pedal to activate the bead breaking arm and blade. Do not hold the handle of the blade after you've activated the arm. You can hold it long enough to ensure the blade won't come into contact with the rim, but the moment the blade is safely contacted the bead of the tire, release the handle. You may have to spin the tire and break the bead down on the opposite side. Flip the tire around and break the bead on the other side of the rim.

Place the tire onto the turntable. Activating the locking jaws is determined by what type of rim the tire is on. Most all steel rims can be locked from the inside diameter of the rim. To activate the lock for that type of rim, place the tire on the turntable (top of the tire and rim facing upward) with the locking jaws retracted and activate the locking jaws pedal to extend them. A specialty aluminum rim might call for the bottom of the rim to be clamped from the outside of the rim. For this procedure, the locking jaws would have to be open all the way, the rim and tire placed on the turntable, then the locking jaws pedal depressed to activate them to close around the outside of the rim, being cautious not to pinch the sidewall of the tire inside the locking jaw. Determine the type of rim and activate the locking jaw.

Swing the adjustable tool arm so that the duck-head covers the outside of the rim edge. There is a large adjustment screw located at the hinge of the arm that can be tightened or loosened. Adjust the screw if you need to. When the duck-head of the adjustable tool arm is in place, swing the locking arm (attached to the adjustable tool arm) over to lock it into place.

Take the tire tool bar and place it into the bead of the tire over the front of the duck-head and pry the bead over the duck-head. Holding the bar down close to the rim, activate the turntable pedal in a clockwise motion. Go slowly at first to make sure the bead stays over the duck-head and the top bead is being pulled off without causing damage to the bead of the tire. Allow the tire tool bar to rotate with the table and do not try to hold it against the moving turntable. It will get wedged between the tire and bead and turn with the turntable until 3/4 of the bead is pulled off and then it will release.

Lift the bottom bead of the tire up and pry the tire tool bar down inside the circumference of the tire by the duck-head. Repeat the same procedure by trying to pry the bottom bead over the duck-head with the tool bar and activate the turntable in a clockwise motion. If you miss, the turntable can be backed up by lifting the foot pedal with your foot making it turn counter-clockwise. Go slowly on the bottom bead and, in some cases, lifting the tire on the outside near the duck-head will assist in making sure the bottom bead does not slip over the tool bar and back onto the rim.

Remove the tire by unlocking the adjustable tool arm lock and swinging it back out of the way.

Remove the valve stem using a valve stem puller. Replace the valve stem with a new one. If you locked the rim on the outside by the locking jaws, this would be a good time to reposition them to lock from the inside so you do not mount and inflate the tire with the locking jaws stuck between the bead and the rim.

Place the tire on the rim when you're ready to replace it. Using the tire lubricant swab, place a generous coat of tire lubricant around the circumference of both bottom and top bead. Tip the tire toward the right side of the machine so the top of the tire is facing upward and swing the adjustable arm so that it locks the duck-head to the rim through the center of the tire.

Twist the tire slightly in a clockwise fashion to make the bottom bead angle onto the rim in the front of the duck-head and activate the turntable pedal in a clockwise motion.

Repeat the procedure for the top bead.

Insert the air hose to the valve stem and depress the air inflation pedal to inflate the tire and set the bead. Most machines will have a dial indicator to show how much air is being pumped into the tire. Inflate to the proper pounds per square inch recommended for the tire.

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.