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What to Ask before Choosing a Tire Machine for Your Shop

Tire changer

Tire changers are an essential piece of equipment for any mechanic shop. They make the tire-changing process significantly faster than just a jack and lug wrench. Because of this efficiency, every mechanic should have one in their shop.

Tire-changing machines come in various styles, dimensions, and costs and the seemingly endless options often make choosing a suitable tire machine challenging.

If you’re opening a new shop and feeling overwhelmed about the equipment necessary to get started, it’s understandable. Hopefully, this guide will help when you’re ready to purchase a new tire machine, so you know what questions to ask and what to consider.

Does the Tire Changer Fit With the Needs of My Garage?

You must consider your shop’s needs before purchasing a new tire changer. For example, not all mechanic shops work on the same types of vehicles; some may need heavy-duty tire changers, while others may need a motorcycle or swing arm tire changer. High-performance tires will require another type of tire machine. The main types of tire machines are listed below, each with the type of shop they are most suited for.

Swing Arm Tire Changers

Swing arm tire changers are referred to as “semi-automatic” and are typically the most affordable tire changers you will find. The arm will need to be physically tightened in place and made to properly fit the size of the wheel you will be changing. However, heavy use can cause operator fatigue because the head assembly needs to be manually moved every time. A swing arm tire changer is a good choice if you don’t have a high-traffic shop.

Tilt-back Tire Changers

Tilt-back tire changers have many advantages over swing-arm tire changers. In a high-volume garage, the tilt-back feature reduces operator fatigue because the head assembly automatically moves (with the mechanic using a pedal) when the wheel assembly is ready to be removed from the turntable. This process is much easier and requires less work than swing-arm tire changes. This type of tire changer is perfect for high-traffic shops and garages.

Touchless/Leverless Tire Changers

A touchless or leverless tire changer is necessary for shops that work on high-performance, low-profile, or run-flat tires. The potential for wheel damage is higher with these types of specialty tires, but the leverless tire changers minimize the risk of damage with a pedal-operated lift and a center post clamp. So if your shop or garage works on any vehicles with specialty tires, this tire changer is for you.

Motorcycle Tire Changers

A motorcycle tire changer is designed for smaller-sized motorcycle wheels. However, they can usually work on ATVs, off-road, and other smaller tires as well. So, consider a motorcycle tire changer if your shop works on smaller vehicles like ATVs and motorcycles.

Heavy Duty Tire Changers

You will need a heavy-duty tire changer if your garage services semi-trucks, buses, or skidders. Remember, though, that it is a much larger piece of equipment because it needs to remove large-diameter tires. So you’ll need to consider the space necessary to house this type of tire changer.

Will it Make Changing a Tire More Efficient?

A tire changer in your shop will make the tire-changing process easier and more efficient. For example, if you have a vehicle with low-profile tires in your shop, you’ll need two technicians on the job every time. The proper equipment (in this case, a leverless tire changer) allows one tech to replace the tires easily, freeing up the second tech to do other jobs.

Tire changers allow mechanics to spend less time doing some of the repetitive tasks of tire changing and give them more time to be productive on more critical issues.

In short, a tire changer can save your shop time and money while increasing efficiency and productivity.

What Features are Included?


Even the best equipment needs repair work every once in a while. But is it covered under warranty when your tire changer requires a repair? How long is the warranty? What will it cover? If the manufacturer isn’t upfront about it and the details aren’t readily available, it might be a good time to look at other manufacturers.

Customer Service

It’s important to know that if you have questions about the tire changer, you can easily reach someone in customer service. Often you may only need information on potential tire changer repair parts, but having an expert to speak to is critical.

Most of the best tire changers also have a solid warranty and good customer service, but double-checking before purchasing is a good idea.

How Much is This Going to Cost?

Knowing the cost of a new tire changer is essential, no doubt. But you also need to consider the hidden costs of inefficient tire changing and low production. Then, when you realize how much money you could save with a more efficient machine, you can determine if the investment is worthwhile.

While it’s imperative to consider your budget when choosing what tire changer to purchase, it’s also essential to get one that meets your needs. For example, getting a lower-cost tire changer might be tempting because it fits your budget, but are you sure it will fit your shop’s needs?

At SVI International, we are the lift industry’s leading parts supplier, known for our high-quality, American-made products. With over 40,000 products, we serve as a one-stop shop for equipment parts, lifting equipment, RELS brake lathes, and much more.

Every mechanic needs an automotive repair parts partner, whether you’re a quick lube shop, brake shop, or muffler repair center. So let SVI be your partner!

Auto shop owners across the country trust us – and we would love to talk to you about how we can help meet your auto shop equipment needs. To get in touch with a team member, call (800) 321-8173 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to speaking with you!

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