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How to Change a Tire on an ATV

How to Change a Tire on an ATV

As a proud all-terrain vehicle owner, you probably put a lot of care into your ride. When you notice the tires need to be changed, either because of old tread or a damaged tire due to a blowout, you want to take care of it promptly and do so in the right manner. Let's take a closer look at how to change a tire on an ATV to ensure the right outcome for your ride.

Signs of Trouble

Many people are confused about when is the right time to change an ATV tire. There are a few instances where it is pretty much required.

  • Blowout. If you are out riding and experience a blowout, that is an obvious sign you need to replace it with a new tire. While a simple tear or hole can be temporarily patched up with a patch kit, it will still need to be replaced much like a full-blown blowout.
  • Tread Wear. Tires use tread to get traction on the ground which is crucial for any set of wheels but especially for an ATV which travels over harder to grab ground. If an ATV tire is unable to grab the ground, you lose control and maneuverability which may lead to accidents. The general rule is that if the tread is worn down to 1/4 an inch, it is time for a new tire.
  • Upgrading/Changing Type. Since an all-terrain vehicle is one of the most versatile on the market, it is capable of riding over a range of terrains without worry. As such a versatile machine, there are specialty tires available to make the ride even more tailored to the terrain. For example, if you are looking to do sand dune riding, there are specialty tires available for this particular terrain. You may also want to change tires just because you want to upgrade to something else over the factory-issued tires.

Getting Started

The first couple of steps in how to change a tire on an ATV are relatively simple. For starters, you need to assemble the tools needed for the job, choose your replacement tire according to the specs of the ride, and remove the old tire. Removing the old tire from the ATV is usually pretty straightforward, especially if you have ever changed a car tire at some point. The main difference is that you will need to remove the hub wheel and tire together rather than simply removing the tire like on a car. You will most likely need to jack up the ATV to get the tire off, remove the lug nuts, and pull the rim and tire off in one piece. You should always check the owner's manual for the best way to perform these steps. Following the individualized steps for your model as based on the owner's manual, the next step after getting the tire off is breaking the bead.

Breaking the Bead

This is the part that confuses a lot of people on how to change a tire on an ATV. What is the bead and how do you break it? The bead retainer is a small bump on the inside of the rim which sits near the lip and spans the entire circumference of the rim. The bead of the tire, usually on each edge of the tire, is an area containing a strong steel cable going all the way around the tire to create the reinforced loop. Basically, this bead system keeps the tire on the rim tighter given all the shocks and impacts an ATV tire withstands. While this is great for your tire and ATV, it is not so great for you when trying to remove the old tire and place a new one on your ride.

So how do you break the bead? There are a few ways to do it. There are some ATV owners using crowbars or a two by four and leverage to pry it apart, but this is not advisable if you value your ride. You can damage your tire, rim, and even hurt yourself. The good news is that there are tools you can purchase to take care of breaking of the bead such as bead busters or portable tire changers. Once you break the bead, the tire should come off with just a little pull on your end using a flat tire iron to wedge between the rim and the rubber.

Mounting New Tire

Once you break the bead and remove the tire from the rim, how to change a tire on an ATV is pretty simple. You first must make sure the rim is clean and in good order free from any rust. If there are signs of rust, you may need to replace the rim to ensure it properly supports the tire. You should also clean the lip of the rim to make sure nothing gets in the way when resealing the bead. This can be done with warm soapy water and wet towel. You will next apply lubricant to the rim and slide the new tire over the rim, taking care to line up the bead retainers. The lube will help you place the tire where it needs to be on the rim with less push back. Once you have the tire on the rim, you can start to inflate it which will help you in further setting the tire on the bead. Once the tire is properly inflated and beaded properly on both sides, you are ready to reinstall the tire back on your ATV.