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How to Get ATV Tires off the Rim: Bead Breaking


If you own an ATV, at some point you’ll inevitably have to change a tire or two on your ride. Changing an ATV tire can be a simple do-it-yourself job, and you don’t even need to break the bank to buy expensive tools and equipment to accomplish the task safely and efficiently. First, you have to break the bead on the ATV tire—the hardest part of the job. Here’s how to break the bead to change your ATV tire.

Breaking ATV tire bead with Black Widow Tire Bead Breaker
Breaking the bead with the Black Widow Tire Bead Breaker

What is “the bead,” and why is breaking it so difficult?

The term “bead” refers to the edge of a tire that sits on the wheel of vehicles, bicycles, ATVs and more. These tires are made with a small groove or slot where the tire bead rests. When tires are properly inflated, the bead stays in the groove due to the air pressure within each tire. In short, the bead exists to firmly adhere the tire to the outer edge of the wheel.

In the case of ATVs and other offroad vehicles, tires run at much lower-than-normal tire pressure, which means there’s less force pushing the tire outwards to keep it beaded. ATV tires need to do a better job at keeping the tire beaded, otherwise you run the risk of getting a flat tire every time you go out for a ride. That’s why offroad tires are extra-heavy duty, featuring a bigger bead retainer bump compared to normal tires. While this is ideal for keeping the tire seated while riding, it makes breaking the bead of an ATV tire much more challenging.

Man breaking ATV tire bead with tire bead breaker
Putting the Black Widow Tire Bead Breaker to work in the shop

How to break a bead of an ATV tire

There are several different methods for breaking the bead of an ATV tire, but there’s one process that stands above the others in terms of both safety and efficiency. You don’t even need a tire-mounting machine to do the job—all it takes is a valve stem tool; a spray bottle of soap and water and a bead breaker tool, like the Black Widow Tire Bead Breaker. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by laying the tire on a solid surface. Empty the tire by using your valve stem tool. While you can use other methods to deflate the tire, like pushing the pin in, you’ll save time and effort using a valve stem tool, deflating the tire in a matter of seconds.
  2. Prepare a soap and water mixture in a spray bottle, or use a lubricant paste, and spray the beads like you would a bicycle tire.
  3. Now it’s time to use your bead breaker tool—we recommend the Tire Bead Breaker from Black Widow Pro because it features an adjustable pivot angle that makes it easy to use. Place the wheel on a tire block and adjust as necessary to align the edge of the rim with the pressure plate.
  4. Once you’ve aligned the wheel on the tire block, pull down on the handle of your bead breaker tool, applying more pressure until you hear a popping noise. At this point, the bead is broken, and you can remove the tire. You may need to spray other areas of the tire and repeat the process to get the tire to break from the bead, and you’ll need to repeat the steps described above for the other side of the tire.

Once you’ve broken the bead, it’s time to remove the tire with a couple of tire irons. Here’s how:

  1. Place one tire iron between the rim and the tire, then wedge the tire over the lip of the rim.
  2. Use the second tire iron in another position and repeat the first step, all while keeping the first tire iron in place. You’ll use the second tire iron to lift the tire over the lip.
  3. Holding the second tire iron in place, use the first one to wedge the whole tire over the edge of the rim. Complete these steps until the tire bead is off the rim on both sides of the tire.

Once you learn how to break the bead on an ATV tire, you can save time and money doing DIY tire changes. Not to mention, you can always count on the job being done right. With the right equipment, especially Black Widow's Tire Bead Breaker, you can accomplish this simple task safely and efficiently. Know of a better way to break the bead on your ATV tires? Let us know in the comments!

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