When changing tires there are many mandatory tasks that a certified tire technician or an automotive mechanic must do throughout the process. For instance, clearing the rim of any corrosion or rust so that the tire bead can adhere properly, properly prepping the new tire for installation with bead sealer, and in the case of this topic, replacing the valve stem properly. This post will cover the process of valve stem replacement from the point of view of a professional tire technician. We will not cover the entire tire replacement process but if you are interested in reading about the whole process of Professionally Replacing a Tire Using a Tire Machine, we have written that article separately and you can find it here.
Moving on, this article will be set up in a step by step process that will include pictures of the most important steps of changing a valve stem properly. Just so it is clear, the individuals in the pictures provided are certified tire technicians and professional mechanics, we have thousands of hours of combined professional automotive experience between us. I myself, the writer of this article, am both a professional mechanic and tire technician and the founder of Mechanic Approved. I hope this post serves as a good refresher on changing a valve stem for professionals across the globe and new dubbed automotive enthusiasts. Thank you for choosing us and without further a due, let’s begin!
How To Change a Valve Stem in 10 Steps!
- How To Change a Valve Stem in 10 Steps!
- Step 1: Verify The Valve Stem Needs to be Replaced
- Step 2: Deflate The Tire
- Step 3: Breaking The Tire Beads From The Rim
- Step 4: Removing The Tire From The Rim
- Step 5: Removing A Tire Valve Stem
- Step 6: Prepping The Valve Stem Hole
- Step 7: Installing A New Valve Stem
- Step 8: Installing The Tire
- Step 9: Inflating the Tire
- Step 10: Verify The New Valve Stem Is Holding Air
Step 1: Verify The Valve Stem Needs to be Replaced
The first step is relatively straight forward, simply check the old valve stem on the tire assembly to make sure it’s not letting any air out of the tire. You can check this visually by using some soapy water to soak the area around the old valve stem. If you see bubbles emerging from or around the old stem, you then know it needs to be replaced!
In this particular instance, we had a customer arrive with complaints of air pressure loss but could not determine the cause. The first thing I did was add soapy water to the valve stem after removing the tire from the vehicle and BOOM, we have found the culprit. When you live in the northeastern part of the United States as we do, it is very common for salt to build up between the valve stem and rim as well as between the bead of the tire and the rim. Needless to say, that is why my first action was to check the valve stem. This is something to keep in mind if you are located in this region or any others that face winter-related issues.
Step 2: Deflate The Tire
(The image above shows the removal of the valve core using a valve core removal tool to allow the tire to fully deflate.)
This next step is also pretty straight forward, deflate the tire. There are two different way to deflate a tire, for this example we use the most common method of removing the valve core from the valve stem using a valve core remover. The second method we use if the valve core is seized inside of the valve stem. If that is the case, you just manually depress the valve core with your finger or screwdriver for example until all of the air is released from the tire.
Step 3: Breaking The Tire Beads From The Rim
(The image above shows the correct position of the valve stem to begin breaking the outer bead of the tire.)
This step will be one of the longest of all of the steps provided but we will do our best to break up the instructions clearly so that you can follow along correctly. To remove the tire from the wheel we will be using one of the most common tools found in any mechanic garage, a Tire Machine. If you do not have a tire machine and are interested in purchasing one for your shop please visit our “11 Best Tire Machines & Wheel Balancers” article where we review the best one on the market today.
Using the bead breaking arm of your tire machine you will place the shovel of the arm at the 3 o’clock location in reference to the valve stem which will be in the 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock position. This is to protect the possible valve stem sensor within the tire, that is why the position of the tire during the process is key. For this particular tire, we know it does not have an internal tire pressure monitoring system (most new Honda’s do not) but it is always good to practice valve stem positioning during the unseating of the tire beads.
(The image above shows the complete unseating of the outer bead of the tire from the rim.)
Once you have fully broken the outer bead of the tire from the rim it is time to flip the tire around and begin breaking the inner bead of the tire. Again it is very important that you take great care in protecting the internal air pressure sensor. When breaking the inner bead of the tire you will mimic the same valve stem placement as breaking the outer bead (valve stem at the 12 o’clock position and/or 6 o’clock position) until the inner bead of the tire is free from the rim entirely.
(The image above shows the complete unseating of the inner bead of the tire.)
Step 4: Removing The Tire From The Rim
Next, we will need to remove the tire from the rim to access the inside of the tire assembly to replace the valve stem. We will start the process by moving the tire to the top of our tire machine and clamping it into place making sure that the valve stem is again in the 12 o’clock position.
(The image above shows the correct valve stem positioning before the lowering of the mounting arm and after you have clamped the wheel assembly into place.)
Next, using the corresponding pedal on your machine, lower the dismounting arm on your machine and lock it into place. Using a tire iron you will insert the tire iron behind the lip of the dismounting arm and into the space between the rim and the outer bead of the tire.
You will then pry the outer tire bead over the lip of the dismounting arm and using the correct pedal on your machine, rotate the tire assembly a full 360° until the outer bead of the tire is free from the rim.
(The image above shows the outer bead of the tire being pried over the lip of the mounting arm of the machine using the tire iron.)
(The image above shows a completely unmounted outer bead along with the correct positioning of the valve stem to begin dismounting the inner bead.)
Moving on, the next step is to dismount the inner bead of the tire from the tire assembly. Since the wheel has spun a complete 360° in the last step that means that the valve stem is back in the 12 o’clock position. If that is not the case please make sure to adjust your machine so that the valve stem is back in the 12 o’clock position.
Using a tire iron, insert the tire iron behind the lip of the dismounting arm on your machine and into the space between the rim and the inner bead of the tire. You will then lift the tire and pry the inner bead of the tire over the lip of the dismounting arm.
(The image above shows the insertion of the tire iron into the inner bead of the tire with the valve stem in the 12 o’clock position.)
(The image above shows the inner bead being pried over the lip of the mounting arm.)
With the correct pedal on your machine, rotate the wheel assembly a full 360° or until the tire is completely free from the rim. Retract the dismounting arm of the tire machine and remove the tire a set it aside.
Step 5: Removing A Tire Valve Stem
At this point, most of the hard work is behind us! You have successfully removed a tire from the rim to expose the internal valve stem completely. We can now begin the valve stem replacement process.
For this step, you will need a Valve Stem Puller and a Rubber Mallet or some other soft object that will not scratch or damage the rim during the removal of the valve stem. Screw the valve stem puller onto the threads of the old valve stem the whole way and using a rubber mallet in this case, place the rubber mallet between the rim and the valve stem puller to create leverage to pull the old valve stem out of the rim.
(The image above shows the valve stem puller completely threaded onto the old valve stem.)
(The image above shows the removal of the old valve stem using a valve stem puller and a rubber mallet.)
In this case, the neck of the valve stem had snapped leaving the base of the old valve stem in place in the rim. This is very common for old valve stems as they become brittle from weather exposure. No matter, can you simply use a screwdriver or your valve core remover to push the base of the old valve stem out of the rim.
As you can see, the old valve stem was quite worn from the elements as well as salt and corrosive build-up between it and the rim which then allows for air to escape. It was definitely time for a new valve stem!
Step 6: Prepping The Valve Stem Hole
Cleaning the salt and the corrosion build-up inside the valve stem hole is very simple. Here we are using a brass bore cleaner, the same ones that are used to clean firearms believe it or not. I have found that they are great for cleaning out the valve stem hole without damaging the rim or scratching the paint on the rim. Once all the corrosion is removed from the valve stem hole you are cleared to move onto the next step.
Step 7: Installing A New Valve Stem
You are now ready to install the brand new valve stem! Begin by applying bead sealer to the new valve stem. This will aid in allowing the new valve stem to easily slip into place and also ensure that the new stem is sealed properly once the bead sealer dries.
From the inside of the rim push the new valve stem up towards the outside of the rim and using a valve stem puller, thread the valve stem puller onto the threads of the new valve stem.
Using both hands pull upward on the new valve stem until you feel it slip into place leaving no gap between the base of the valve stem and the inside of the rim of the tire.
Step 8: Installing The Tire
Now that the new valve stem has been installed we can now reinstall the tire back on the rim. First, begin by making sure the rim is clean of any corrosion and the inner and outer bead of the tire are clean. Apply bead sealer to the inner and outer bead of the tire, lay the tire onto the rim, and using the corresponding pedal on your machine, lower the mounting arm back into place. Make sure that during the mounting process of the inner and outer bead of the tire you make sure that the valve stem is ALWAYS in the 5 o’clock position. This is again to protect the possible existing tire pressure sensor.
(The image above shows the application of bead sealer to both the inner and outer beads of the tire.)
Next, wedge the tire against the rim and the mounting arm of your machine, and using the corresponding pedal, rotate the rim 360°. After a full rotation, the inner bead of the tire should now be mounted to the rim and the valve stem should be back in the 5 o’clock position.
(The image above shows the mounting of the inner bead of the tire along with the correct positioning of the valve stem.)
Moving on, you will apply direct pressure to the tire at the 5 o’clock position using your hand or an assisted mounting arm on your machine. Additionally, you will lift the outer tire bead over the lip of the mounting arm of your machine and then using the corresponding pedal on your machine, rotate the tire assembly until the tire is fully mounted on the rim. Retract the mounting arm of your machine and move onto the next step.
(The image above shows the mounting of the outer bead of the tire while applying pressure to the tire by hand at the valve stem.)
(The image above shows a fully mounted tire that is ready to be inflated.)
Step 9: Inflating the Tire
Almost done! The next step in the process is to fully inflate the tire to the proper vehicle specifications. To do this you may use whichever air pressure tool you have at your disposal, but in our case for this demonstration, we will be using our tire machine that has a built-in air pressure hose.
On a machine like this, you will have to swing the protective air pressure activation arm onto the center of the rim. Once this arm is in position you may hook up the air pressure hose to the newly installed valve stem and begin to add air to the tire.
Once the tire is about at the pressure that the vehicle specifies, you will then need to replace the valve stem core back to its original position. Do this by using the same valve core tool you used to remove it in Step 2 and replace it and thread the valve core snugging it into place.
Once the valve core has been installed replace the air hose and double-check the pressure of the tire to make sure it is up to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification. Unclamp the rim from your machine and move onto the last step.
(The image above shows the tire tech double-checking the air pressure of the tire after the installation of the valve core.)
Step 10: Verify The New Valve Stem Is Holding Air
Finally, we have reached the final step in the process! This step is simple as we are just checking our work. All you have to do is grab your soapy water mix that we used in Step 1 and coat the newly installed valve stem and check for bubbles. Here we see that there are no bubbles appearing around the new valve stem so we are done! Mission accomplished!
(No bubbles! All done! Great job!)
***Congratulations you have successfully installed a new valve stem!***
Thank you for reading here at Mechanic Approved! Please feel free to leave us a comment below on whether or not this article was useful for you, also let us know if you think we can improve this post in any way.
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.