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Complete Guide on Using a Tire Machine  

A tire machine is a must for any commercial garage or tire shop. The tire machine saves time, provides a safe way to change a tire, and ensures that tires are repaired and mounted properly.

A tire changer is used to complete the entire process of changing a tire. When you know how to use a tire machine, It helps in the dismounting, deflating, changing and mounting of the tire.

Different Types of Tire Changers

There are many different types of tire changers available. Until the 1990s, tire changers used a center post mounting system. The tire and wheel assembly were lifted onto a threaded center post.

Today, there are different approaches to tire changers. They typically use one of two different operating systems.

Hydraulically operated changers use hydraulic fluid and compressed air to press on the tire, releasing it from the wheel. Manually operated tires require a technician to press down on a lever and at times move it to break the bead.

Here’s a look at five common tire changers.

Swing Arm

In commercial tire shops, the swing arm tire changer is the most common. It comes with four adjustable jaws on a tabletop that give a wide range of clamping capability. Each of the jaws can be adjusted simultaneously for more precise clamping.

Jaw covers provide enough mounting torque to protect the wheels during the changing process. These changers are easy to use and affordable but do require unscrewing of the machine head to deal with different tire types.

Tilt Back

This style typically has an internal clamping capacity of 30 degrees and an external capacity of 28 degrees, making them easier to use on larger tires.

Leverless or Touchless

These are another common type used in tire shops. They are typically more expensive than swing arms and tilt backs but well worth it.

There’s very little training necessary and staff can get up to speed quickly. They are also very efficient at removing and mounting tires. For tire rotations or switching tires among wheels, there’s no bead damage, too.

One of the most popular features is the changer’s ability to handle heavy rims, lifting, and setting them down with ease. There’s no need for manual heavy lifting, a popular feature in busy shops.

Heavy Duty

For larger vehicles used in agriculture, construction and mining, this changer type is common. They can accommodate wheels up to 56 inches in diameter and tires up to 90.5 inches in diameter. Newer versions can handle tires up to 95 inches using hydraulic systems and a self-centering four-jaw chuck.


Specially made to handle motorcycle tires, this changer is simpler and can handle much smaller tires and wheels.

Before deciding to purchase a tire machine, it’s important to know about the different kinds of tire changes and how to use a tire machine.

Steps to Using a Tire Machine

a mechanic removing a tire from the warehouse wall

No matter what type of tire machine is being used, the basic steps for changing a tire are the same. Understanding the steps and instructions for your tire changer is critical to ensure the machine is used properly and safely.


Safety is the most important task when it comes to a tire changer. Learn about the machine itself, first, knowing about the various components and how they operate. For example, see what kind of foot pedals there are and how many.

Always use safety glasses when operating a tire changer. And avoid clothing that could get caught in the machine. Gloves may be helpful in operating some, but not all, changer types.

Other key safety considerations are to ensure that the tire is the right size and construction for the machine you’re using and do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended pressure level when inflating.

Deflating the Tire

Start by removing the valve stem cap and remove the valve core. Then deflate the tire completely. If the tire is just going to be patched and not balanced, mark locations on the valve stem and wheel weights. If another tire is going to be installed, be sure to remove wheel weights from the wheel before installing the new tire.

Place Rim on Tire Changer

You next need to place the wheel on the tire changer. Be sure the tire is facing in the right direction. You’ll next need to unseal the tire beads from the bead seats. A foot pedal is used with a bead breaker arm, which should only be in contact with the tire, not the rim. The wheel is then turned around to break the bead on the other side.

Clamp the Wheel

You’ll next want to clamp the wheel using either inside or outside clamps. Inside clamping uses the rim with jaws that expand outward and lock the wheel in place. Outside clamping is used to avoid damaging the rim and clamps the outside flange on the outside of the rim.

Remove Tire from Wheel

Once the wheel is clamped in, it’s time to take the tire off. You lower the duckhead onto the flange and ensure the bead breaker is well inserted. Then you begin to activate the turntable. The top bead will be pulled over the outside of the rim, followed by the bottom bead.

Inspect the Tire & Wheel

You’ll want to inspect the inside of the tire if not replacing it, looking for cuts, objects or loose cords. Also inspect the rim to see if there are any cracks, dents, sharp edges, or other damage.

Valve Stem Replacement

Remove the old valve stem with a puller or knife and install a new stem. Thread the new stem and lubricate it before ensuring it’s properly sealed.


Whether remounting the old tire or mounting a new one, make sure the right side is facing out. Add lots of tire lubricant to the circumference of both beads.

Twist the tire so the bottom bead is at an angle before activating the turntable. Do the same for the top bead.

Inflating a New Tire

Inflate the tire to the proper pressure using the manufacturer’s guidelines. Be sure to unclamp the wheel once the beads are sealed and before doing the inflating.

Replacement Parts for Tire Machines

With the amount of wear and tear on a tire machine, it’s inevitable that there will be a need to repair or replace worn-out parts. At SVI International, Inc., we’re the leader in equipment parts for garages and tire shops. Shop by make or model to find the parts you need and get them delivered fast.

We offer parts by all the leading manufacturers, including All Tool, AMMCO, FMC, Hofmann, Hunter, John Bean, Snap-On, and Tuxedo.

To learn more about our complete line of tire machine replacement parts, including plastic protection inserts and covers and cylinder seal kits, visit us today.

mechanic showing how to use a tire machine

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