One of the many tasks a mechanic can encounter on a weekly basis is installing a set of tires for a customer. Whether it’s a brand new set of tires replacing the old or a seasonal change the process remains the same.
Now, this post to going to approach the process from the standpoint that the reader already has a tire installation machine ready and working. This process will go in-depth on how to properly install tires as a professional so it will be handy for any mechanic that needs a refresher as well as help any new car enthusiasts who have recently purchased a tire installation machine for themselves. We will also touch on how to use a tire machine throughout this article as well.
Before we go any further I should probably mention that I myself am a professional mechanic with over 10 years of experience in the automotive industry, and quite frankly I have lost count of how many tires I have installed over the years but if I were to guess it would probably number into the thousands. I am also the owner and founder of Mechanic Approved as well as the person in the pictures that instruct the process of breaking down an old tire and installing the new one.
Additionally, if you are someone who has not yet purchased a tire machine of your own feel free to check out our reviews for the 11 Best Tire Machines & Wheel Balancers in 2021 to help you choose the best tire machine for you and your garage!
Now that we have gotten the formalities and introduction out of the way let’s get started on how to put a tire on a rim!
11 Steps To Properly Install A Tire Using A Tire Machine
Step 1: Ready Your Work Area
It is very important for any mechanic to have a clean shop or garage as well as work station so you do not have to worry about losing nuts and bolts that may hit the floor. This holds true for installing tires because throughout the process you will be handling some very small objects that you will need to find in the event they are dropped such as valve cores and valve stem caps.
Step 2: Deflate The Old Tire
Now that you have the tire assembly (the old tire mounted to the wheel or rim) removed from the vehicle we can begin preparing the tire assembly for tire removal. You want to start by removing the valve stem cap and placing it somewhere safe that will make it easy to retrieve in the last stage of the process.
Next, you will need to remove the valve core from the valve stem so that the tire can deflate fully. Fully deflating a tire can be achieved in two different manners, removing the valve stem core using a valve core removal tool, or by simply depressing the valve core physically using your finger, pen, or screwdriver for example. As long as the tire is completely void of air pressure at the end of this step then you are good to move onto the next step.
(The image above shows a removed valve core and allowing the tire to deflate.)
Step 3: Remove Wheel Weights
This step I usually do rather quickly while you are waiting for the tire to deflate. Simply use a plastic scraper for “sticky weights”, and a hammer on wheel weight remover for the hammer on weights that might be on the rim. Just like all the steps in this process, it is very important that you take care in removing these wheel weights, you do not want to accidentally damage a rim by scratching it, etc.
Step 3: Unseating The Outer Bead Of The Tire
There are two steps during this instructional that I am going to stress how important it is to follow the instruction given and this is one of them! This is because if you do not follow these particular steps you may wound up in a heap of trouble in the form of damages to the internal tire sensor as well as damage to the rim itself.
That being said, begin by aligning the valve stem at the 12 o’clock position or the 6 o’clock position whichever you prefer. I usually opt for the 12 o’clock position but like I said this is a personal preference, although whichever you choose I recommend sticking to one and making it a habit. We want to align the valve stem at the 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock positions because the hydraulic arm with the bead breaking shovel attached to it will contact the tire at the 3 o’clock position.
This will make sure that the internal valve sensor is away from the hydraulic crushing pressure applied to the tire so you do not accidentally crush the sensor as well. Additionally, it may also help to place the shovel of the hydraulic arm right where the rim meets the rubber of the tire before activating the hydraulic arm, this is what I do anyway.
Now, using the correct pedal/button of your machine begin and successfully break the bead at the 3 o’clock position. Sometimes (if you are lucky) after breaking the outer bead at the 3 o’clock position, the entire outer bead may unseat altogether, if this happens simply proceed to the next step.
If it does not however simply rotate the tire 180° so that the shovel of the hydraulic arm is now at the 9 o’clock position of the tire and continue to break the outer bead until the whole bead is unseated on the outside of the rim. Again, being careful that the valve stem is always in the 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock position.
(The image above shows a fully unseated outer bead.)
Step 4: Unseating The Inner Bead Of The Tire
As stated before there are 2 steps in this process that you must pay and be very careful and this is the other stuff besides step 3. Although you are unseating the inner bead the risk of damaging the valve sensor is still the same when using the bead breaking hydraulic arm/ shovel. This means you must mirror Step 3 when unseating the inner bead, meaning you must have the valve stem at the 12 o’clock or the 6 o’clock position when using the be breaking hydraulic arm.
This is again to protect the valve stem from being crushed when the bead is, and also protects you from having to pay an unnecessary additional cost of damages.
Since step 4 is a mirrored process to step 3 except with the inner bead please reference step 3 for the process of breaking the inner bead.
(The image above shows a fully unseated inner bead.)
Step 5: Clamping The Wheel Assembly
This step is relatively simple. After you have successfully unseated the inner and the outer bead of the tire, place the wheel and tire assembly on top of the clamping mechanism of your machine and use the appropriate lever or pedal to then clamp the wheel into place.
I will add, however, that it is very important to know whether or not the wheel assembly must be clamped from the inside of the rim or the outside. To keep it simple for beginners, if it is a steel rim, you may clamp from the inside and continue to step 6. If it is an aluminum rim you will most likely want to clamp from the outside of the rim to protect it from gouges from the clamp feet. Outside clamping should be done with appropriate protective plastic clamp protectors that usually come with the purchase of all tire machines.
Step 6: Dismounting The Outer Bead Of The Tire
Similar to the breaking of the inner in the outer beads you will adopt a similar process to step 3 and 4, in that you will begin by rotating the tire and wheel assembly so that the valve stem is in the 12 o’clock position to start mounting the outer bead. Once the valve stem is in the 12 o’clock position you may lower the tire and mounting arm, adjust it to the rim and lock it into place.
Using a tire iron you will then place the tire iron behind the and mounting arm lip and into the outer bead of the tire. Using the tire iron as a pry bar you will pry the tire’s outer bead over the lip of the and mounting arm.
(The image above shows the correct positioning of the rim for the un-mounting of the outer bead as well as the insertion of a tire iron behind the lip of the mounting arm and into the outer bead of the tire.)
(The image above shows the outer bead pried over the lip of the mounting arm.)
Next using the correct pedal on your machine, rotate the tire and wheel assembly exactly 360° so that the valve stem is back at the 12 o’clock position when the rotation stops. If done correctly the outer bead of the tire will be unmounted from the rim of the tire.
Notice: On vehicles between the years 2005 and 2010 that are Ford or Ford sister companies, they may have band sensors which means that the sensor will be mounted opposite of the valve stem. You will be able to see the metal band after unseating the outer bead, just peek inside to be sure. If so then move through the steps normally until you reach Step 9 and skip to the “Notice” section at the end.
Step 7: Dismounting The Inner Bead Of The Tire
Unseating the inner bead of the tire is a bit trickier than the outer bead. This process may require a bit of “wrestling” with the tire and your machine especially if you are working on a low profile tire, run-flat tire, or a thick ply tire.
Using your tire iron with one hand, push the tire iron behind the lip of the mounting arm of your machine and in between the rim and the bead of the inner bead. Now, using your other hand lift the tire upward while using the tire iron as a pry bar to then pry the inner bead over the lip of the mounting arm.
(The image above shows the inserting of the tire iron behind the lip of the mounting arm into the inner bead.)
(The image above shows the inner bead pried over the lip of the mounting arm using a tire iron.)
Using the correct pedal of your machine rotate the wheel until the entire tire is off of the rim. Retract the mounting arm remove and dispose of the old tire. Congratulations, you have succeeded in unmounting a tire from a rim!
Step 8: Prepare New Tire and Rim For Mounting
Preparation of the new tire for mounting is simple. First, remove any manufacturer’s stickers or shipping stickers from the new tire. Once the new tire is free of stickers you may apply the bead sealer to the inner and outer bead of the new tire. The new tire is now prepped for mounting.
Next, you want to clean off any existing residue or corrosion build-up that may have been left behind on the rim. This can be done with an angle grinder with a wire wheel attached or with a handheld wire brush and some elbow grease! Either way, make sure the inner and outer bead lips of the rim are clean and ready for the new tire.
Step 9: Mounting The Inner Bead Of The Tire
You will begin step 9 by rotating the rim so that the valve stem is in the 4 or 5 o’clock position. Place the tire on top of the rim and using the correct pedal of your machine, lower the mounting arm into place. During the mounting process, it is very important to adjust the machine so that the valve stem is always at the 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock. This is to protect the valve stem sensor from damage while the tire is being mounted.
Once the mounting arm is mounted over the tire, wedge the tire against the rim and the arm of the machine, and using the appropriate pedal of your machine, begin to rotate the tire 360° until the inner bead of the tire is fully mounted onto the rim.
(The image above shows the correct positioning of the valve stem sensor to begin mounting the inner bead of the tire.)
(The image above shows the completely mounted inner bead of the tire onto the rim.)
Notice: If you are reading this your rim has a band sensor mounted within the tire. This will change the process slightly in that instead of the valve stem being at the 4 or 5 o’clock position during mounting, you will place the band sensor chip at the 4 or 5 o’clock position. The sensor on a band sensor mount will be located opposite the valve stem. Again you want to protect the sensor at all times during the mounting process so it is important to take these steps to ensure this.
Step 10: Mounting The Outer Bead Of The Tire
You are now ready to mount the outer bead of the tire. This means that you have successfully mounted the inner bead of the tire in step 9 and the tire and rim have done a complete 360° rotation placing the valve stem at the 4 or 5 o’clock position.
Depending on your machine this step may happen in a few different manners. My machine has an extra hydraulic arm with a roller to help depress the tire during the mounting of the outer bead to aid in any difficulty one might run into during this step. When you are mounting tires all day like me this extra arm comes in handy and saves your shoulders for the whole workweek. Do not fret though, I only use this arm on more difficult tires like run-flats and 10 ply tires usually and that is because I usually opt into depressing the tire by hand as it takes less time.
(The image above shows the correct positioning of the assisted hydraulic arm and roller to begin mounting the outer bead of the tire.)
In this step be sure to depress the tire by hand or with the extra hydraulic arm right where the valve stem is and lift the outer bead of the tire so that it is over the lip of the mounting arm attachment. Then using the appropriate pedal, rotate the tire assembly until the outer bead is fully mounted on the rim.
(Image above shows assisted the process of mounting the outer bead of the tire using an assisted hydraulic arm and roller combo.)
Congratulations! You have successfully mounted the new tire to the rim!
Step 11: Inflating New Tire
You have successfully mounted the new tire on the rim and are now ready to inflate the tire. Begin by removing the hydraulic mounting arm and possible assisting mounting arms, we are done with them at this point. Leaving the wheel assembly clamped you are now ready to lift and swing over the Air Control Arm.
This step is essential so that no injury takes place to you while inflating the tire. It is also important to note that due to regulations, the air pressure will not flow through the air hose unless the Air Control Arm is in place in the center of the rim. This is because of state and federal regulations aimed at keeping the operator safe during the tire inflation process.
Once the Air Control Arm is in place in the center of the rim you may now attach your air hose nozzle to the valve stem of the tire and begin to inflate the tire to the factory specifications of the vehicle. During the tire inflation process, it is very important that the operator not lean on the tire or over the tire, instead, stand back with your foot on the inflation peddle and let the tire inflate.
Notice: During the inflation of the tire it is imperative that you the operator make sure that both the inner and outer bead of the new tire seat fully onto the rim. This can be done by listening for two audible “POPS” where the beads slip into position on the rim, or by visually inspection after removing the tire from the machine after the inflation process.
Once both beads have fully seated onto the rim, you may remove the air hose and quickly reinstall the valve stem core. Double-check that the air pressure of the tire is correct as some pressure may have been lost during the installation of the valve stem core.
(The image above shows the installation of the valve core after fully inflating the tire so that both the inner and outer beads are seated.)
(The image above shows the checking of the tire pressure after installation of the valve core. This vehicle specifies 32 PSI, and she gets 32 PSI indeed!)
Then simply reinstall the valve stem cap and release the rim from the clamping arms.
***Congratulations you have now professionally installed a tire using the tire machine!***
I hope this page was useful for those learning how to install a tire on a rim by hand using a tire machine! From all of us here at Mechanic Approved, thank you for reading and please let us know in the comment below if this page was useful for you!
My name is Codi and I have been interested in automotive mechanics for as long as I can remember. Today I am a professional mechanic as well as a certified tire technician with over 10 years of combined professional experience.
I started this website because over the years I have noticed an increasing trend of false information among customers and automotive professionals alike. So I have gone to great lengths to provide the most factual information about tools, vehicles, companies, and other automotive products so that anyone can be provided with solid information on what they might be looking for.
I was born in South Florida and am currently located in Western Pennsylvania. I have seen how vehicles and tools respond to all types of weather conditions and scenarios over the years and I am happy to share every bit of automotive and mechanical knowledge I possess to help better inform the general public. Here at Mechanic Approved, our goal is to provide the best automotive mechanic information so that both customers and professionals can make better-informed purchases.