Tire Changer

Changing a tire can be a difficult and strenuous task without the right tools and technique. A tire changer is a device that helps remove an old tire from the wheel rim, and also helps with putting a new tire on it. The three main types of tire changer are the mini, manual, and automatic. Both the mini and manual types are suitable for home use, but the expensive automatic types are more suited to commercial garages. Some automatic tire changers can also help with balancing a tire.

A tire changer supports the tire and allows the operator to gain extra leverage by using its pivot points. The first step is to break the bead between the rim and tire wall. The tire is placed on the stand and the bead breaking bar placed on the wall. The operator pushes down on the lever, which is connected to the bar and the central column, pushing the wall away from the rim. The tire is then turned over and the other bead broken using the same method. The dismount bar is then inserted inside the tire and rotated around the column, lifting the tire wall over the rim. The other side of the dismount bar is used to push the walls of the new tire over the rim.

A mini tire changer is a short metal support that holds the rim while the tire is being changed. It is only intended for changing the small tires used on motorcycles, golf carts, trailers, compact cars and wheelbarrows. It takes up very little space and can be bolted to the floor in the corner of a garage. It is also lightweight and can be bolted to a base plate and taken anywhere. A bead breaking bar and mount/dismount bar is usually included with each mini tire changer.

A manual tire changer is a larger version of the mini changer, and is used mostly for car tires and small truck tires. It has a taller stand that allows the tire to be changed without bending down, reducing the risk of back pain. While the manual tire changer is much heavier than the mini version, it can also be mounted on a base plate and taken anywhere. The bead breaker leverage bar is mounted on the side of the stand, allowing the operator to apply more downward force. Both the mini and manual tire changers are inexpensive, with the manual version costing slightly more.

The most economical choice for workshops that perform many tire changes each day is an automatic tire changer and balancer. These large machines are very expensive but they are faster and easier to use than the manual types. A powerful motor takes the effort out of turning the bar to get the tire over the rim. These machines also help with balancing a tire by spinning it up and showing the operator where to put small weights around the rim. An automatic tire changer requires a source of electrical power and is not very portable, making it an unsuitable choice for use outside the workshop.

Several accessories are available that make using a tire change much easier. Lubricant reduces the effort required to change a tire by helping it slide over the rim. There are both spray bottles filled with liquid lubricant and jars filled with the paste lubricant. Water-based lubricant is cheaper than other types but it can cause rusting on the rim, so it needs to be throughly cleaned off afterwards. Rim protectors are plastic covers that fit over the rim edge and provide protection from the metal parts that rub against it when changing a tire. These not only protect show rims but also stop metal shavings from getting inside tire and causing a puncture.

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