Want to save a couple of bucks and learn to change your tire at home? Removing the tire from the rim is the hardest part of the process. It can be done, but you’ll need a lot of force and some basic tools.
We’ll walk you through all you need to know about how to remove tires from rims so you can get those tires changed at home.
Here are some of the things we’ll go through in this article:
- How do you take a tire off a rim at home?
- How much does it cost to remove a tire from the rim?
- How do you take a tire cover off a rim?
- Can I cut a tire off a rim?
How Do You Take a Tire off a Rim at Home?
When you need to remove a tire from a rim, and you don’t have all the tools pros use, it can seem hard at first. Tires are heavy and tough, and your tire center uses a specialized machine for removing a tire. However, you can remove a tire at home with normal tools, as well.
Step 1: Remove the Tire and Let the Air Out
First, you’ll need to remove the tire from the car. If the tire still has air pressure, you’ll need to let it out first. To do this, lift the car with a jack, remove the lug nuts on the wheel and take the wheel off the car. Locate the valve on the rim on tire and remove the valve cap.
Then, you’ll need to core to let the air out of the tire. When you press on the valve stem, it should let out some air, but you’ll need a valve core removal tool to deflate it. It’s a small tool that doesn’t cost much, but it is specialized, and you shouldn’t try this with a standard screwdriver that might damage the valve.
Step 2: Break the Bead
Breaking the bead is the hardest part of the process, and it does require some force. There are a couple of different ways to do it.
With a Jack
To break the tire bead using a jack you’ll need a car, a trailer or another heavy and stable vehicle. You’ll also need two jacks, one for your car and one for the tire.
- If your car isn’t already raised, lift it until it’s high enough so that you can fit the tire and the other jack under it.
- Put the wheel on the ground, the hubcap side up. Spray some soapy water at the point where the rim meets the tire all around it to act as a lubricant.
- Place the tire halfway under your car, and place the jack on the tire. It should be right over the rubber part, not over the rim.
- Start raising the second jack that’s over the tire until the upper part meets your car, and then keep raising it. The weight of your car will push the rubber downwards and separate it from the rim.
- When you break the tire bead between the tire and the rim, it will likely make a popping sound and you should see it separating from the rubber.
- Back up until the point where you can move the wheel. Change the spot and work your way around the tire until you’ve fully separated it from the rim.
With a Tool
You can use a pry bar, tire levers or a crowbar to break the tire bead, but it’s not easy and might take some time.
- Start with the tire facing up. Apply some dish soap to break the dirt and debris at the rim.
- Insert the pry bar or crowbar right under the lip of the tire, between the rim and the rubber. This might take some time and strength, and it may be easier if you use two tools at once.
- Push the lever handle down to separate the rim. If the bead is really stuck, you might need more of your lower body strength, pushing it down with your feet.
- If it makes a pop, you’ve broken the bead, and you can move on to another spot. Go around the wheel until you’ve freed the whole tire.
Tip: The longer the handle of your tool, the better you’ll be able to leverage it off the tire. This is why a crowbar is often better than a tire lever for breaking the bead.
Cutting the Tire
You can also cut the tire, but it will require some heavy tools. Car tires are so thick, especially at the tread, that a plain old knife doesn’t always cut it.
If you have some power tools and saws, it will make the cutting much easier. Another option you have is to use a big, very sharp knife and some muscle power.
With Your Car
This technique is a bit harder, but it helps you break the bead of a big tire that might otherwise be unmanageable. If you’re a good driver and can maneuver your car with precision, it will make the process easier. You can also use this technique with rim ATV that are notoriously tough to get out.
Still, you’ll need a bigger vehicle, such as an SUV or a pickup truck, to be on the safe side. It’s also best to have someone else helping you outside of the car to make sure you don’t drive over the bolts. Otherwise, you might get a puncture and need to change another tire!
- Lay the tire on the ground, hubcap side up.
- Slowly drive over the tire, making sure you don’t drive over the rim but only the rubber. The weight of your car should force the rubber down and separate it from the rim.
- If you’re driving above the tire correctly, the bead should pop off the rim thanks to the weight of the car. If it doesn’t, drive over it again. When it does, move the tire around to separate the other side if it’s still attached. You can also slide a pry bar or crowbar under the rim and free the other side.
- When the bead is broken on both sides, move on to the next step to free the tire from the rim completely.
Step 3: Pry the Tire Out
For this part, you’ll need some time and a lot of patience, a crowbar or some tire levers. A large flat head screwdriver will also do the trick, but the bigger the better, for your rims and your arms.
- Stick the crowbar or tire lever between the rim and the tire. It should be easy once you’ve broken the bead, but you can use a rag over the tool to protect the rims.
- Pry the tire from the rim using your tools as a lever, easing the rubber over the rim. The first part will be the hardest, but when you do get some of the tire over the rim it will gradually get easier.
- When you’ve freed one side of the tire, the bottom of the tire will still be attached to the top of the rim. You’ll need to repeat the crowbar work on this side to separate the rim completely.
Step 4: Mount a New Tire
If you want to put on a new tire, you’ll have to follow the same process in reverse. Use the crowbar or the pry bar to ease it in, taking your time. The tire should settle nicely at the right spot, and inflating it will stick it to the rim.
You might easily end up scratching your rims with the tools as you get the tire in, so it’s best to take it easy and not rush it too much. You can also use a rag to protect the rims, and apply soap to lubricate the rim and ease the tire in. When you finish, use the valve core removal tool to put the core back in.
Step 5: Fill It Up
It’s time to fill up your new tire, so push the compressor tube against the valve stem until you hear the air going in. The tire will get settled on the right spot of the rim on its own. This will probably make a loud pop. Don’t worry, it’s normal, but make sure you get your fingers out of the way!
After inflating the tire, check the pressure with a gauge. If it’s correct, close the cap on the valve. If you’ve gone overboard, press on the valve stem to let out a bit of air.
How Much Does It Cost To Remove Tire From Rim?
Removing the tire from the rim in a shop shouldn’t typically cost more than $5–10 per tire. If you have a special type of rim that requires extra attention, it might cost you more.
Mounting new tires will be a bit more expensive. If you remove a tire and have a new one mounted in the same place, you can probably get it done as a package, at a lower price.
How Do You Take a Tire Cover off a Rim?
There are two ways to take the tire cover, or hubcap, off a rim. Depending on your tire cover, you may need a crowbar or a large flat head screwdriver, and a piece of cloth or a rag.
With a Tool
If your tire cover is tight, you’ll need to use a tool such as a crowbar or a large flat head screwdriver to remove it. Use the rag to cover the tool, so you don’t scratch your hubcap, slide it under the metal and slowly pry it open.
Don’t use too much force in one spot, or you might damage the hubcap. They’re usually not as tough as the rim, so it’s better to go around the tool slowly and ease it one spot at a time.
If you want to do it by hand, you can simply put a couple of fingers through the holes in the hubcap and gently pull from it. Try to pick two spots at the opposite sides of the tire cover to not exert too much force and damage it. If it doesn’t come off, move on to another place until you find one that’s slightly loose.
Learning how to remove tires from rims takes a bit of time and effort, but you can absolutely do it at home. You won’t have to use specialized tools except for a valve core removal tool and other tools that will give you some leverage.
You can use a crowbar, a jack or even your car to break the bead—or cut through it if you have some power tools at hand. What you’ll need for removing a tire is a bit of patience, and soap or other lubricants to make the job easier.