The world of powersports has its fair share of maintenance duties.
Learning how to change ATV tires can be a valuable skill granting you convenience and even saving you money.
I’ll cut right to the chase and I’ll be as descriptive as possible (pictures included).
Tools and Materials Needed
- Jack or ATV lift
- Tire irons or tire bead breakers
- New ATV tires
- Valve stem tool
How to Change ATV Tires – Step by Step Guide
Prepare Your Workspace:
Make sure you’re working on a solid, level surface.
Clean any debris from the area. I recommend having good lighting so you can see what you’re doing.
Gather Necessary Tools:
You’ll need tire irons or spoons, a tire bead breaker (or a suitable alternative), a jack, valve core tool, soapy water in a spray bottle, and an air compressor or pump.
Always remember to wear safety gloves and eye protection.
ATV tires can be heavy, and you’ll be working with tools, so it’s better to be safe!
Lift the ATV:
Using the jack, safely lift your ATV, ensuring it’s stable.
Always lift from the frame and never from the body.
Remove the Valve Core:
This will let out any remaining air in the ATV tire.
Use the valve core tool to unscrew and remove the valve core from the tire valve.
Break the Bead:
The tire bead is where the tire meets the rim.
Using your bead breaker, push down on the ATV tire to separate it from the rim.
If you don’t have a bead breaker, you can use the tire irons or spoons, but be very careful to not damage the rim.
The soapy water can assist in this process by lubricating the area.
Remove the Tire:
Insert your tire irons or spoons between the tire and rim, and carefully pry the tire over the rim.
Work your way around the tire, using the tools to pry and push until the tire comes free from the rim.
Install the New Tire:
Before you start, I advise spraying the new tire’s bead with soapy water; this makes it easier to slide over the rim.
Before you begin mounting ATV tires. Mount the ATV tires over the rim and use your tire irons or spoons to push one side of the tire onto the rim.
Then, do the same for the other side.
Inflate the New ATV Tire:
Place the valve core back into the tire valve using the valve core tool.
Then, using the air compressor or pump, inflate the tire to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. As you inflate, you should hear two pops.
These are the sounds of the tire bead seating against the rim. If the bead doesn’t seat, deflate, apply more soapy water, and try again.
Reattach the Wheel:
Lower the ATV off the jack, ensuring everything’s tight and in place.
Check Everything Over:
Once the tire’s on, give it a good look-over.
Ensure it’s seated correctly and there are no visible issues.
Signs Your ATV Tires Need Changing
Worn Out Tread
From what I’ve observed, tires that have little to no tread can drastically reduce your ATV’s grip.
I think treads are the real MVPs for traction.
When they’re basically non-existent, it screams REPLACEMENT TIME!
Cracks, punctures, or those nasty bulges? Yikes! For me, seeing any of these is a RED FLAG.
You don’t want your ride compromised.
Age of the Tire
They might look okay, but tires have a sneaky way of aging.
If they’re clocking in at 5 years or older, I recommend a thorough look-over.
Aged rubber? Not your friend.
Consistent Pressure Loss
Refilling your tire again? And again?
It’s like that tire is literally gasping for air.
I advise checking for slow punctures or sneaky damages causing this annoying air loss.
If you feel your ride’s off, with slips or reduced grip, I’d bet it’s the tires crying out.
They’re basically saying, “CHANGE ME!”
Tires wearing out like a bad pair of shoes?
You know, one side more than the other?
This isn’t as fashionable as I initially imagined for ATVs. Time for a SWITCH.
If your tires have been sunbathing a tad too much or faced some fairly extreme conditions, they might just harden up.
I think hard rubber on wet terrains is a RECIPE FOR DISASTER!
Visible Cord or Steel
Seeing what’s beneath, like cord or steel mesh?
That’s a MASSIVE red flag. It’s basically the tire’s way of saying, “I’m done!”
Some genius ATV tires come with their own wear indicators.
Trust me, if these indicators shout, listen up! It’s the tire’s own way of saying it’s TIRED!
Tips For ATV Tire Maintenance
Regularly Check Air Pressure: Always ensure your ATV tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Over or under-inflation can affect your ATV’s handling, fuel efficiency, and the tires’ lifespan. Use a good quality tire pressure gauge for accuracy.
Inspect Tires for Damage: Regularly look over your ATV tires for any signs of punctures, cracks, bulges, or other damages. Address any issues immediately to prevent further deterioration.
Rotate Tires: To ensure even wear, it’s a good idea to rotate your ATV tires periodically. This can extend their lifespan and ensure consistent performance.
Clean Your Tires: After each ride, especially in muddy or sandy terrains, clean your ATV tires with water. This prevents particles from settling in and causing wear or imbalances.
Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure: UV rays can cause the rubber in tires to degrade over time. When storing your ATV, try to keep it in a shaded area or use a protective cover.
Be Mindful of Load Capacity: Always adhere to your ATV’s recommended load capacity. Overloading can strain your ATV tires and lead to premature wear or even sudden failure.
Drive Responsibly: Avoid aggressive driving habits like sudden acceleration or hard braking. Such actions can cause excessive wear on your ATV tires.
Check Wheel Alignment: Misaligned wheels can cause uneven tire wear. If you notice your ATV pulling to one side or the other, it might be time for an alignment check.
Use Appropriate ATV Tires for Terrain: There are different types of ATV tires designed for various terrains, such as mud, sand, rocks, or trails. Using the right tire for the terrain can improve performance and reduce unnecessary wear.
Store Properly: If storing your ATV for an extended period, elevate it to take the weight off the tires or rotate the ATV tires periodically to prevent flat spots.
Check Tread Depth: Treads provide grip. As they wear down, traction diminishes. Ensure they’re always above the minimum recommended depth. If treads are low, it’s time for a replacement.
How do you remove stubborn ATV tires?
Use Penetrating Oil or Lubricant
For stubborn ATV tires, before attempting removal, spray a generous amount of penetrating oil or lubricant around the bead (where the tire meets the rim).
This helps in loosening any tough bonds, rust, or accumulated grime.
Allow it to sit for a while, preferably at least 15 minutes, to effectively penetrate.
Break the Bead with More Force
Stubborn ATV tires may not release their bead easily. You might have to employ more forceful methods:
- Car Jack Method: Use a piece of wood on the tire, position a car jack against the wood, and then jack up a vehicle. The vehicle’s weight pushes down on the tire, breaking the bead.
- Manual Method: Standing on the sidewall of the tire and applying body weight can sometimes help break the bead. You can also use tools like a large rubber mallet or even the back of an axe to apply more force.
Employ Tire Irons or Spoons with Extra Care
Given the tire’s resistance, you’ll have to be even more patient when using a tire iron or spoon.
Ensure you’re working methodically, and use additional lubricant or soapy water as needed to make the removal process smoother.
How do you break the bead on an ATV wheel?
Deflation is KEY
Kick things off by deflating the tire. Just pop off the valve stem cap, use a valve core removal tool, and let all the air whoosh out. It’s basically the easiest part!
Lay that ATV wheel down on a firm, level surface. Ensure the side you’re looking to work on is facing up. This gives you a fairly good angle to apply force.
Good Ol’ Manual Methods
There are a couple of ways you can go about this:
- Standing Technique: Just stand on the tire’s sidewall, right near the rim, and use what Mother Nature gave you – body weight! Move around and apply pressure in different spots until you see some action.
- Tool Time: Grab a hammer, a big pry bar, or even a rubber mallet. Gently yet firmly, push down near the rim. But hey, be cautious – the last thing you want is to damage your rim or tire.
The Car Jack Trick
Now, this is a trick I advise when things get tough.
Place a robust, wide plank on the tire, get your car jack in position against it, and slowly jack up a vehicle or some heavy object.
the weight bears down, the bead should basically give way. MAGIC!
Commercial Bead Breaker – Your Best Friend
If you’re into tools, consider getting a bead breaker.
I recommend this especially if you’re dealing with ATV tires often. Follow the manufacturer’s guide, and you’re golden!
Lubricate with Some Penetrating Oil
Sometimes, those beads are just too stubborn.
I think a little spray of penetrating oil or a soapy water mix might do the trick. It eases the bead away from the rim, making your life a lot easier.
Flip and Repeat
Once one side is done, don’t forget to work on the other side if needed.
Turn the tire over and basically do the same thing.
For me, ensuring that your ATV stays in tip-top shape starts at the ATV tires. From the safety basics to the nitty-gritty of removing tubeless tires, every little detail matters.
If things get confusing, I always advise seeking out professional help.